WRITE ABOUT WORK, NOT SEX. The subjects of the bestsellers are, as measured by the algorithm, not what one might expect. Richardson gives some statistics: “In a sample of 5000 novels 0.001 per cent of the material was about sex; 0.003 per cent was drugs, 0.001 per cent rock ’n’ roll.” Richardson concludes: “Sex doesn’t sell after all, and takes up twice as much space in non-bestsellers as it does in bestsellers.”

Stephen King is quoted as recommending that a writer blend in ‘personal knowledge of life, friends, relationships, sex and work. Especially work. People love to read about work.’

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