Uplifting thoughts…


Uplifting Writers of books write for a range of reasons. It might be a lifelong ambition to write a particular book with no particular ambition for it as a career. Perhaps the motive is to share personal experiences or beliefs with others or to enhance their image so that they will advance in a career other than writing.It may be simply to have the satisfaction of a career in writing, but many will have the desire to succeed at it, earn from it. Surely most of us harbour a dream that we will create a best-seller, that is snapped up by Hollywood to be the latest block-buster movie…The wonderful stories of extremely successful authors are like a siren call. Here are some recent and high-profile success stories:
HarryPotterJKR J K Rowling’s series of seven Harry Potter books have sold over 450 million copies (and growing) making this the best-selling book series in history. These then inspired a series of films which became the highest-grossing film series in history. Total sales for the overall franchise have been estimated at $24 trillion and this has propelled her to become the twelfth richest woman in the UK.
Da Vinci Dan Brown’s four books featuring Robert Langdon have sold over 200 million copies. The first, The Da Vinci Code, was responsible for 80 million of these copies. Two have inspired films that have grossed sales of over $1.2 trillion.
TwilightSaga Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga of vampires and romance has four books that have sold over 120 million copies. By the end of 2013 the books, films and merchandising had recorded sales of well over $5.7 trillion.
FiftyShades E L James’s Fifty Shades of Grey started out as fan fiction based on the Twilight series and became the fastest selling paperback of all time – selling 70m copies in eight months. The erotic trilogy has sold well over 100 million copies. Time magazine in 2012 lauded her as one of the World’s 100 Most Influential People, Forbes suggest that she earned $95m in 2013.
HungerGames Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy promoted her to become the best-selling Kindle author of all time. Amazon reported that of the top 20 highlighted passages in Kindle eBooks, Collins had written seventeen of them! The three books have sold over 50 million copies and the four movies have sales of over $1.4 trillion. (source: for book/movie sales: StatisticBrain.com)
GrishamBooks To restore some balance to the gender of the authors, honourable mentions include – John Grisham’s twenty-two legal thrillers estimated at many more than 100 million unit sales; Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series of sixteen books that have sold over 60m copies; Stieg Larsson’s Millennium trilogy with some 73m copies, albeit sold posthumously.
IanFleming But there are also writers that have amassed many millions in unit sales across long careers: J K Rowling’s relatively short career has seen her surpass, in terms of unit sales, consistently top-selling and august compatriots like Lewis Carroll, Ian Fleming, C S Lewis, Alistair MacLean, Beatrix Potter, J R R Tolkein
AgathaChristie But she has yet to overhaul the massive unit sales amassed by Agatha Christie (with 85 books), Barbara Cartland (producing 723 books) and Enid Blyton (some 800 books); not for a moment to overlook William Shakespeare (whoever he was!) whose sales are estimated between two to four billion copies.
JamesPattersonBooks On the all-time best-selling lists you will find other consistent performers with such diverse talents: Danielle Steel, Harold Robbins, Georges Simenon, Leo Tolstoy, Jackie Collins, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, James Patterson, Jeffrey Archer, Zane Grey – all of whom are estimated to have sold approaching or more than 250 million copies.

Somewhat selectively I have listed thirty authors above and if we take the low estimates of their unit sales we can see that they are responsible for 9.8 billion book unit sales.

This is comfortably more than one book for every person in the world. If we are a tad selective in our thinking then it is the equivalent of seven books per Anglo-centric person (that is based on the 1.35 bn English-speaking people in Europe, North America and Oceania).

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