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What Makes a Book Popular?

Sometimes I read a really popular book and find myself absolutely disappointed by it, which always leads me to wonder how the book became popular in the first place.  Then, I have a tendency to research the book on Goodreads.  If the book has a pretty good rating, I think perhaps it is a good book, but not my taste.  If it has a low score, I wonder how on earth it got popular in the first place.

Now, I know a good or bad score on Goodreads doesn’t say everything about a book.  I’ve read many books that have blown me away that didn’t have the best scores, but I feel this website at least gives me an idea of how the general public views different novels.  With that said, what do you think makes a poorly written book popular?

When I read a book that is just painful to read, like choking down an overly cooked steak, I feel fairly certain it isn’t just my perspective that makes the book bad.  The problem is that I don’t know enough about the publishing process to know what happens along the way that could give one book perhaps an unfair advantage over another book, which could lead to it being more successful.  I have heard about authors paying people for positive reviews, which probably results for a small amount of these strangely successful books.  But what else does?

Some writers are probably published through bigger publishing houses that are able to advertise more and that have better connections.  But is that really the main reason for some authors, perhaps unjustified, success?  And do these lack of connections explain why some absolutely amazing authors have not found success?

I don’t really know the answer to these questions, but I clearly have my theories.  What do you think?

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