Blog The Writing Process How to Write A Bestseller: Advice From An Award Winning Author

How to Write A Bestseller: Advice From An Award Winning Author

how to write a bestseller

We love learning about the writing process here at ProWritingAid. Every author approaches the task slightly differently: and not all authors are born equal. Many writers have wondered just what it is that makes bestselling, award-winning authors so, well, bestselling and award-winning.

With that in mind, it's always exciting when we get a glimpse into the minds of the authors we love to read.

Maggie O'Farrell won the Women's Prize for Fiction for her book, Hamnet this week. If you've not read it, the novel follows Shakespeare's son Hamnet as he struggles to survive in plague-ridden 16th century England. We won't look too closely at the parallels with our own times.

That premise doesn't exactly scream overnight success. But what it does do is show the power of a story told well by a passionate author.

O'Farrell's husband William Sutcliffe (also an author) offered up the blueprint to her success in a series of tweets that we just had to share with you. Whether you're considering if you should take the leap and write for yourself rather than for the market, or wondering how many re-drafts makes a bestseller, there's something here for you.

On to that blueprint.

It's also important to be surrounded by people who want you to succeed - Maggie O'Farrell's editor and agent were those people, but having your partner, family and friends cheering you on can be a big help when you're not sure you're going to make it.

Knowing and doing are very different things. It's safe to say that writing a novel is a marathon run backwards with a blindfold on rather than a walk in the park for any writer. But these tweets show that writing something readers the world over will love is a whole body effort.

There's lots to take away from this. Even if you only adopt some of these tips, they'll make a big difference to the way you write. Cutting out time spent on social media and repurposing it towards writing or family time can help you find pockets of time to write your novel that you never knew you had. Taking time to read like a writer, analyzing what makes a story work can help you get out of a writing rut.

What's your writing process? Will you make any changes now you've seen how an award-winner writes? Let us know in the comments.

Are you prepared to write your novel? Download this free book now:

The Novel-Writing Training Plan

The Novel-Writing Training Plan

So you are ready to write your novel. Excellent. But are you prepared? The last thing you want when you sit down to write your first draft is to lose momentum.

This guide helps you work out your narrative arc, plan out your key plot points, flesh out your characters, and begin to build your world.

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Libby Bushill

Libby Bushill

ProWritingAid's Lifecycle Marketer

About Libby

Libby is ProWritingAid’s Lifecycle Marketer. When she’s not dreaming up our writing tips newsletters, she loves yoga, spending time outdoors, and trying new recipes.

Writing Experience

You’ll find Libby’s work on all things writing and grammar across the internet on writing blogs.


After studying English Literature at University, she is living her dream working with words every day.

Published Works

Libby co-edited of The University of Reading’s A Room of Our Own project.

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