Making No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list is considered by many to be the most distinguished achievement for an author.
Brandon Mull, author of the popular Fablehaven series, made the coveted list in March with his newest book, “Beyonders: A World Without Heroes,” the first in a three-part fiction series.
Mull is one of 11 LDS authors who have achieved the Times’ No. 1 spot, according to the Deseret News website. Eight BYU alumni are on the honored list, including Stephenie Meyer and Mitt Romney, as confirmed by the BYU alumni office.
Mull said he always had a secret goal of becoming a novelist. While a student at BYU, he ran the sketch comedy group Divine Comedy. The experience, combined with his degree in public relations and his minor in English, helped him write the stories he says he has locked up all of his life.
“It was great practice for generating content for an audience,” Mull said.
Mull speaks of his journey as a writer with enthusiasm as he always hoped he would become a bestselling author.
“I never knew I would have this success,” Mull said. “I hoped it would happen. I thought it could happen. I never let my dream die and never quit writing novels on the side.”
The road to achieving No. 1 was paved by the fans of the Fabelhaven series. The series has been on the Times bestselling list, but never achieved number one. “Fablehaven” has sold more than 2 million copies in the United States and is published in many languages.
Ultimately writing stories the readers enjoy is where Mull finds the greatest satisfaction. He believes making the list is validation he is achieving his primary goal of connecting with his readers.
“I have always thought people would like my stories,” Mull said. “It’s great to have the confirmation the stories are connecting with readers.”
While there are many components in achieving No. 1, in the end authors understand it is the skill of a great writer reaching their audience that counts.
Timothy Ferris, NYT No. 1 bestselling author of “Four Hour Work Week,” posted a question on his website, fourhourworkweek.com, asking readers if achieving the No. 1 spot is all luck.
“Is it all luck? I don’t think so,” Ferris said. “Luck and timing play a sometimes big part … but product is ultimately king.”
Mull said his journey becoming a top bestselling author helped him grow as a writer. He believes “Beyonders” is the crown of his work thus far.
“Beyonders is the best work I have done,” Mull said. “It’s an epic, ambitious story with a lot going on.”
Mull’s fantasy-adventure stories have found a home among the middle-grade reading category. This genre has become popular among adults who are looking for great tales void of the sexual content, which becomes more common in young adult and adult fiction. Mull believes his reading audience has grown exponentially as he is more able to bridge this gap.
“I can write a big complicated adventure that a lot of adults would like,” Mull said. “I try to write a story to my 36-year-old self, but is still accessible to kids and also my inner 10 year old.”
Mull relishes the satisfaction of reaching the NYT No. 1 spot. He expresses the peace of mind he believes most writers would feel by such an achievement.
“It’s a huge relief and job security, ” Mull said. “It’s huge security as an author.”
Mull hopes his second book in the Beyonders series will follow suit as No. 1. The book is titled “Seeds of Rebellion” and will be released March 2.