How To Write A Bestselling YA Novel in 10 Easy Steps

Everyone wants to be a NYT bestselling author. If they say they don’t they’re either lying or still in college. And let’s be honest, there’s a method to making this happen. Now, before I start laying out the formula for you, remember that these apply only to YA novels. Trying to apply them to other genres could result in catastrophic failure. I’m talking JK Rowling writing in a name other than JK Rowling levels of failure here. So buckle up and take notes.

1) Remember that teenagers are basically idiots, and therefore are incapable of processing subtly. You have to explain EVERYTHING in painstaking detail. But they are also easily bored, so you need to do it in 60K words or less.

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2) There absolutely must be at least one love triangle, one quirky best friend, and one diverse character. If the BFF is black, gay, AND quirky, that’s really all you need.

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3) There should be a huge and easily solved plot hole that no one talks about.

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4)The more awkward, socially inexperienced, or introverted your female MC is, the better. Nobody likes a ballsy gal. But then, in the last two chapters, it’s best to change her personality completely.

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5) The guys in the love triangle should both have sad back stories, strong jaws, and a tendency to lean against stuff in sexy, sexy ways. They must also cry single, perfect, manly tears in just the right moments.

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6) Never let the plot detract from possible make out moments. Even a house full of severed body parts can be sexy if you try hard enough.

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7) Your male MC should have a painful backstory that makes it impossible for him to love/trust/treat people with decency. If you can give him some kind of handicap, even better. But nothing that makes him less sexy. Bonus points if you can also give him an artistic outlet for his pain that he keeps secret from everyone, except the female MC.

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8) Begin with a prologue full of stuff no one cares about. Begin EVERY CHAPTER with a prologue. Flashbacks are also super great. Super great.

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9) Every character should, at some point, describe themselves while staring into a mirror. The more metaphors you can use in these scenes, the better. Promise.

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10) There is no such thing as too much drama, too much angst, or too much repetition.

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So, that’s the secret. Now, we don’t want EVERYONE doing it, so let’s just keep this between you and me, ok?



How To Write A Bestselling YA Novel in 10 Easy Steps — 4 Comments

  1. I admit, I had to run mentally run my own novel in progress through this list.

    The painstaking detail entry has me torn. Too much detail and you have a boring book. Not enough and you have an incomprehensible one! Ah, writer’s problems…

    And love triangles need to go away. Even though I keep buying books about them.

  2. I’m sorry, but is this some kind of joke? Because these are the complete opposite of what current publishers/readers are looking for. Just saying

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