When I read books, manuscripts, queries, writing contest entries, client pages, etc. I look for something that for me is "unputdownable" content. That means the work is so compelling that I'm actually looking forward to completing it. I need to know what happens next, I care about the protagonist and am invested in what happens to her/him and would eagerly purchase the completed book or next in a series.
For me, recent examples of books I've read that have been "unputdownable" are:
The Forest of Hands and Teeth -- Carrie Ryan
White Cat -- Holly Black
Twilight -- Stephanie Meyer
The Prophecy of the Sisters - Michelle Zink
The Mortal Instruments Series -- Cassandra Clare
Graceling -- Kristin Cashmore
Evermore -- Alyson Noel
The Hunger Games -- Suzanne Collins
Wake -- Lisa McMann
Chasing Brooklyn - Lisa Schroeder
Percy Jackson and The Olympians - Rick Riordan
This is just a partial list. I imagine these are bestsellers for that reason and more.
Marketing plays a part yes, but the work must stand on its own and appeal to the reader on an emotional and intellectual level.
When my betas told me that they could not put PRAEFATIO down and responded with comments about how her relationship with Gavin was impacting them (not the main character), I knew I had something. When a key beta locked herself in her room and wouldn't come out until she finished reading the book--I figured I was on the right track. She came out to go to the bathroom, get Kleenex and barely ate the entire time.Then her mother requested to read the book. I obliged and her mother had a similar reaction and asked if she could let her bookclub read it. Mixed recation but a strong mixed reaction.
Think about what you are writing and try to create memorable characters, moments, scenes with every word.
You can do it.
That is my ultimate goal. I think when a book is like that it's something truly special. It is my ultimate goal to pen a story where the characters take a big leap into the readers' souls and become part of them, much like some of my favorite characters have done to me.
The small portion I've read from praefatio was more than just unputdownable--it's also rememorable because I still very cleary remember what happens in the first chapter. It makes me feel sad that it's not published allready so that I could finish reading the rest. However long the wait will be I'm sure it will be worth the wait when we all finally get to read it. ;)
Nicóle Olea said:That is my ultimate goal. I think when a book is like that it's something truly special. It is my ultimate goal to pen a story where the characters take a big leap into the readers' souls and become part of them, much like some of my favorite characters have done to me.