If you read the June 20, 2011 issue of Publisher's Weekly, you'd have seen that the #1 hardcover nonfiction bestseller is a book titled Go the F**k to Sleep. Why is that?
Well, there are a lot of things that create a bestselling book. The author's connections and media presence (this is called "platform"), the book's content, key opportunities for exposure and sometimes dumb luck.
Another thing that makes a book a bestseller is that it "resonates" with people. This is probably a key factor in Go the F**k to Sleep's success. The book is about what some parents refer to as "the witching hour." That time of night when you are exhausted and so are your kids. But, instead of calmly ending the evening on a peaceful note, chaos ensues. Night after night. Until, at some point, your kids grow up...or at least grow mature enough to enjoy a peaceful end to the day.
Time magazine's review of Go the F**k to Sleep reported that the "deliciously vulgar treatment of the dreaded bedtime hour went viral".
What I think is important about the success of this book is not the content, but the fact that it has touched on a topic that really resonates with people. Books that do this--regardless of whether they are a memoir, self-help guide, or any other genre--have the potential to break out and become a bestseller.