Good question. I think its a combination of interesting characters and a good plot. But you can’t dismiss mystery and the almighty plot twist. And how about diversity? You need multi-facted characters that the reader can relate to on many different levels.
I don’t subscribe to the generic villain who twirls his mustache. No writer does. The so-called “villain” should be someone whose agenda is in conflict with the protagonist’s goals. Every decent writer knows that and so does the reader. It’s the only way to make a book believable. Talent helps, but it will only take the writer so far.
You also need good material and the right audience. And the great people who set aside their hard-earned money and valuable time to see what type of an imagination the writer has decided to share.
So yes. Authentic characters and a compelling storyline can propel a book from mid-list to bestseller. But you really want to know what makes a book special?
That e-mail you get from your readers thanking you for giving them a memorable story.
T.A. UNER is the Author of various novels and short stories. Please be sure to follow him on LeopardKingSaga.com, where he blogs regularly about writing and self-improvement. You can also subscribe to his blog posts and have them delivered directly to your e-mail inbox. If you do this he will dance on his hands.