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There aren't that many steps.

Sell 10,000 books in 1 week. You can do this by spending a lot of money marketing and hope that it's actually effective. Or you can fork out the cash and buy those books yourself. Or pay your friends and family to do so.
 

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Buy a (winning) lottery ticket.  Use the proceeds to suck up to all the editors and staff at the New York Times (you know, pay for their kids college, pay off their mortgage, that sort of thing).

Or, write an extraordinary book with equal measures of elegant prose and seductive storytelling.

Your odds are probably about the same either way.

 

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Patty's #1 is basically it.

No one knows if any particular book is a guaranteed best seller. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either lying, or has some scheme to sell you.
 

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Patty Jansen said:
1. Sell a metric [crap]-tonne of books
2. Get refused by the NYT bestseller list because it's a curated list and if they don't like your book, they don't put it on there.
This.

Even if you go spend $10k on advertising to get the requisite 10-15k sales, the NYT often doesn't put an indie book on their list anyway. We don't tend to pay them for ads - large publishers do. :)
 

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1. Write a insanely commercial book.
2. Convince an agent to represent you based on that book.
3. Command a high six-figure advance from a big five publisher for that book so they'll be forced to put their sales and marketing team's best efforts behind that book to recoup their costs.
4. You should hit the NYT list 2-3 years from step 3's completion. (Note: Reaching step three might take many years.)
 

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There are any number of fully indie consistent NYT bestsellers. They write books lots of people really want to read. That is pretty much it.

Some people are better at explaining how they work than others, but in my experience, it is difficult to replicate success based on writing ability. Some people are just better than others at writing books lots of people want to read. Does not mean everybody should not strive to get better at doing their own thing.
 

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The list is heavily curated so there's no way to guarantee you'll hit. I was in a bundle that was curated off the list a few years back. We had 17k sales and placed higher on USA Today than many of the books on the NYT list.

It's a perfectly valid question. I'm not sure why people are being so short with you. People have posted threads about list runs before, but These things change from time to time. It's been awhile since I've seen anyone here make a run at a list.

I've been thinking about making a USA Today run on a sale book now that I'm taking some of my backlist wide. I do have the letters from the bundle, but I mostly want to see if I can do it. The letters don't do anything for your career, but it's perfectly valid to want them anyway. I'd love to make a NYT run if I ever put some frontlist wide. Part to see if I can. Part for the credibility it will give me with people who roll their eyes at indie authors. Part just because. There are only so many milestones in an author career. There's nothing wrong with wanting to hit one of the most famous ones.
 

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I've removed a post due to political content. Carry on. :)
 

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Crystal_ said:
I've been thinking about making a USA Today run on a sale book now that I'm taking some of my backlist wide. I do have the letters from the bundle, but I mostly want to see if I can do it. The letters don't do anything for your career, but it's perfectly valid to want them anyway.
Listing can make decent money, and then the next time you offer that book for sale you can say "USAT Bestseller," which I think helps you get accepted.
 

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David VanDyke said:
1) Become really really famous.

2) Get a decent ghostwriter and a million dollar book contract.
Ha, ha, ha! Why didn't I think of that! (OP, your question is serious, but the non-serious answers are fun.)
 

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Use CRISPR gene editing software and graft yourself onto Stephen King and hope his body doesn't reject you.
 

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C. Gockel said:
Ha, ha, ha! Why didn't I think of that! (OP, your question is serious, but the non-serious answers are fun.)
I disagree that the question is serious.

It may be sincere, but the question itself is farcical, rather like asking "How do I build a billion-dollar company?" The answers are either vague and obvious, like "Figure out what people want and sell it to them," or highly technical and debatable, i.e. impossible to answer definitely.

It's like the old saw, "There are three guaranteed ways to write a bestseller, but nobody knows what they are."

Or, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" (Practice, practice, practice).

The sincerest answer to the sincere question is, "If anyone knew that, they'd keep it secret and be doing it repeatedly...they wouldn't disclose it here."
 

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David VanDyke said:
I disagree that the question is serious.

It may be sincere, but the question itself is farcical, rather like asking "How do I build a billion-dollar company?" The answers are either vague and obvious, like "Figure out what people want and sell it to them," or highly technical and debatable, i.e. impossible to answer definitely.

It's like the old saw, "There are three guaranteed ways to write a bestseller, but nobody knows what they are."

Or, "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" (Practice, practice, practice).

The sincerest answer to the sincere question is, "If anyone knew that, they'd keep it secret and be doing it repeatedly...they wouldn't disclose it here."
Stephen King figured it out a few times, but I'm sure he's not human. Or he's plugged into the Mainframe. Either way, he's not telling.
 

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There's specific criteria for the NYT list. Yes, it's a bit much to ask for step by step guidance. But it's not as amorphous a goal as "reach Stephen King success."

The list uses a certain set of day as criteria. It requires a certain average amount of sales. I'm sure, someone enterprising could go over the last few months of lists to see which indies make it and what they have in common.

Granted, I don't have any of this information off hand, and I'm sure it's easy to Google, but those are perfectly fair questions.
 
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