You may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned my children’s books much recently. This is a cunning ploy to distract you from the fact that I am not writing them at the moment.
I seem to have fallen into a mysterious trap; ‘Thou shalt not write any more picture books until you have heard back from all the agents you sent your last manuscript to.’ (Four agents…three rejections…one more to go.)
Do not ask me why I think this. (It’s nuts.) But I do.
Why waiting to hear back from one last agent should stop me from starting my next book or going back and improving a previous one, I’m not sure.
Maybe it’s a convenient excuse to put off that moment of sitting down in front of a blank page and coming up with the goods?
Whatever, I feel bad about it. So what better time to cheer myself up (beat myself up) by checking out the bestselling fiction authors of all time…
Did you know that only The Bible outsells Shakespeare? He tops the charts with an estimated 4 billion copies sold. Four billion!!
Here are the rest (with nationalities included so I can feel all smug about the number of British authors in this list):
- William Shakespeare (British), maximum estimated number of copies sold – 4 billion+ (Plays and Poetry)
- Agatha Christie (British) – 4 billion (Whodunits)
- Barbara Cartland (British) – 1 billion (Romance)
- Danielle Steel (American) – 800 million (Romance)
- Harold Robbins (American) – 750 million (Adventure)
- Georges Simenon (Belgian) – 700 million (Detective)
- Sidney Sheldon (American) – 600 million (Suspense)
- Enid Blyton (British) – 600 million (Children’s)
- Dr Seuss (American) – 500 million (Children’s)
- Gilbert Patten (American) – 500 million (Adolescent adventures)
- J. K. Rowling (British) – 450 million (Harry Potter)
- Leo Tolstoy (Russian) – 413 million (Anna Karenina, War and Peace, philosophy)
- Jackie Collins (British) – 400 million (Romance)
- Horatio Alger, Jnr. (American) – 400 million (Dime novels)
- R. L. Stine (American) – 400 million (Goosebumps series, Fear Street series, Horror, Comedy)
- Corin Tellado (Spanish) – 400 million (Romance)
- Dean Koontz (American) – 400 million (Horror, Thriller, Science Fiction)
- Alexander Pushkin (Russian) – 357 million (Plays, Poetry, Prose, Eugene Onegin)
- Stephen King (American) – 350 million (Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy)
- Louis L’Amour (American) – 330 million (Western)
Other famous writers who appear lower down in the list include John Grisham, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Jeffrey Archer – with 250 million sales each.
C. S. Lewis – 200 million
Beatrix Potter – 150 million
Catherine Cookson – 120 million
And bringing up the rear; Roald Dahl, Roger Hargreaves (Mr Men), Lewis Carroll, and Ian Fleming (James Bond) with a mere 100 million estimated sales each.
Pah! They should have pulled their finger out!