Which topics sell books?

So far in my plan for NaNoWriMo 2016, I have a long, long list of possible titles. Now I need to start thinking about topic, character and plot before I can pick one that fits with my novel.

“The Bestseller Code” reveals that the top topic featured in bestsellers is “human closeness.” Human relationships are crucial to making fiction work. This should come as no surprise. We read fiction to escape, to wonder what would happen if… and what keeps us reading is often how human relationships evolve – from the will they/won’t they of a romance to the relationship between the predator and the prey in a psychological thriller.

But this doesn’t help much in defining what my book will be about. Human relationships come in so many shapes and guises. All this tells me is that including in my novel, there must be interesting and evolving relationships between people. But I don’t know if this will take the form of a romantic relationship, a friendship, a family relationship…or anything!

It might be useful at this point to look at other topics that The Bestseller Code lists as particularly successful and pick second and third topics from these.

Here’s the list:

“marriage, death, taxes, modern technologies, funerals, guns, doctors, work, schools, presidents, newspapers, kids, mums, the media.”

I’m going to pick a couple of topics here, to group with my theme of “human closeness.” They say write what you know, so I’m going to go with “mums” as my second topic.

For my third topic I need something that will create conflict and drive the story forward. I’m going to choose technology.

So broadly a new technology will threaten a mother. Throughout the book, “human closeness” will be woven in. This will be in the form of friendships between mums, and also a romantic relationship for the mother, most likely with her husband, but that’s still tbc. Both these relationships will have a pulse – and will have highs and lows throughout the novel.