Wednesday, May 6, 2015

King of the Golden Hill: Part Two

Some Motley Observations.

Before going into more detail as to the nature of the books which made it to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List, I thought I'd toss out a few miscellaneous and, hopefully, interesting notes.

If You Want Your Novel to Succeed Include the Word "Gone" in the Title.

On April 16, 2006, Jonathan Kellerman's novel Gone reached the top of the New York Times Bestseller List for Adult Fiction. 

On May 24, 2009, Charlaine Harris scored the same feat for Dead and Gone.

Two weeks later, Lee Child had the number one novel with Gone Tomorrow.

Gone by Mo Hayder won the 2012 Edgar Award for Best Mystery Novel.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn began a multi-week reign at the number one position on the NYT list on December 30, 2012 and returning to the number one spot in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Four separate years is a feat matched only by The Da Vinci Code.

Gone by James Patterson became the number one bestseller on October 20, 2013.

James Patterson Has Page Count Envy. 

James Patterson is a machine for writing bestsellers. I don't fault him for that: he knows how to give people what they want. However, I am annoyed by the way he writes short novels which are printed out to appear to be long books. From 2005 to 2008 he had these six entries which stayed at least four weeks in the number one position on the bestsellers list*.

Year, Title, Page count, Word count
2005 Honeymoon, 393 pages, 65572 words
2005 4th of July, 392 pages, 68000 words
2005 Lifeguard, 394 pages, 71634 words
2005-06 Mary, Mary, 392 pages, 72436 words
2006 Judge and Jury, 421 pages, 74288 words
2008 Double Cross, 2008, 389 pages, 70753 words

*He had 16 total number one books during this period.

These average out to be 397 pages and 70447 words, or 177.4 words per page. 

In contrast, the seven other novels which stayed for four weeks on the number one list during this period averaged 292.2 words per page. All of the equivalent entries on the lists from 1960 through 2009 averaged 346.7 words per page - although many of these entries are skewed at the other end. Those novels with 800 plus pages tried to limit their page count with an average of 405.3 words per page. 

This phenomenon is not limited to Patterson, but out of the 197 books included in my analyses he has 7 out of the top 9 positions for fewest words per page.

James Patterson versus John Grisham versus Dan Brown.

From the year 2000 to 2015, James Patterson's novels totaled 93 weeks as the number one bestseller on the NYT Adult Fiction list. Dan Brown's novels have stayed 76 weeks on top while, since 2000, Grisham's works have spent 62 weeks in first place.

Patterson performed his feat of domination with a remarkable 49 novels which averaged 1.9 weeks in the number one position. Only one of his novels stayed in the number one position for five weeks. Grisham had 16 novels on top with five of his novels staying for  five or more weeks. Brown had just three bestsellers, each on top for at least seven weeks led by The Da Vinci Code which totaled 59 weeks.

Continued with It's Crowded Getting to the Top.

Nikola Tesla, Arthur Conan Doyle and Dr. Henry H. Holmes are all characters in my thriller, A Predator's Game.
A Predator's Game is available in soft-cover and ebook editions through Amazon and other online retailers.

A Predator's Game, now available, Rook's Page Publishing.


Back page blurb.

Manhattan, 1896.

When the author Arthur Conan Doyle meets Nikola Tesla he finds a tall, thin genius with a photographic memory and a keen eye, and recognizes in the eccentric inventor the embodiment of his creation, Sherlock. Together, they team up to take on an "evil Holmes." Multi-murderer Dr. Henry H. Holmes has escaped execution and is unleashing a reign of terror upon the metropolis. Set in the late nineteenth century in a world of modern marvels, danger and invention, Conan Doyle and Tesla engage the madman in a deadly game of wits.

Martin Hill Ortiz, also writing under the name, Martin Hill, is the author of A Predatory Mind. Its sequel, set in 1890s Manhattan and titled A Predator's Game,  features Nikola Tesla as detective.



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