How to write a best seller

  1. Give it a posh foreign-language title like Bel Canto

  2. Set it in an unnamed, vague, preferably South American country.
  3. Include plenty of cliches, such as Latin American revolutionaries and Japanese magnates.
  4. In fact, hang the entire bloody thing on opera, to suggest passion, culture and intelligence; this way you don’t have to actually portray or display any of these things in your story.
  5. Make a basic German error on page one in your smartypants Mozart quote that anyone who actually was fluent in the language would have caught.

I rarely put down a book. I always start every book I finish, and nearly always finish every book I start. But man, five strikes and you’re out. I couldn’t handle more than 10 pages of Bel Canto. Did any of you read it and like it?

7 responses to “How to write a best seller

  1. Well… actually I did (read it, and like it – sort of). Having lived in South America for a few years, I was curious about the political and social aspects. Admittedly, the plot collapsed towards the end, almost as if the author couldn’t decide how to bring it all to a close, so an editor slammed something together to meet the publisher’s deadline.

  2. I haven’t read it, but it was recommended to me by a friend I generally trust. Mostly, though, I just had to comment because I liked this quote: “I always start every book I finish ….” Naturally I misread that at first, assuming you meant you finish every book you start, but then you did say *that*. I wonder if this is a little-known fact about some sort of fish, too: They always start anything they finish. If so, what sort of fish might that be?

  3. books these days are mostly like TV, from what I can tell (and remember).

  4. At first I thought you were sharing the plot for your own bestseller, and I was like, “Dude! Somebody’s going to steal it! Shhh!” but then I know you wouldn’t make a basic error on page one. Still, you seem to be on the right track, here.

  5. hey!!!! hooray someone else hated bel canto and for exactly the same reasons!!! this is hilarious.

  6. Acutally, I liked the book! Rarely do I get through a book, or does one grab my attention. It was one of the few books I read this year that I really couldn’t put down. It comes highly recommended from me!

  7. i haven’t read it becoz it won an award. i’m waiting to see if it sells anyway.