The write stuff

By admin
02 March 2011

1 AGATHA CHRISTIE (1890-1976) - image above

Books sold: 2 billion

Genre: Crime

Notable works: Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile

Author of 85 books, Christie played a pivotal role in the development of the crime novel. Her work has been translated into 56 languages. Only the Bible has sold more copies than her books.

2 BARBARA CARTLAND (1901-2000)

Books sold: 1 billion

Genre: Romance

Notable works: The Sweetness of a Kiss, The Wicked Marquis

The queen of romance is esti­mated to have produced 723  titles since 1923. In 1983 alone she wrote 23 novels, which earned her a place in Guinness World Records for the most books written in a single year.


Books sold: 800 million

Genre: Romance

Notable works: The Guardian Angel, Love without Equal

Her books have been mocked for being predictable and formulaic. But each of her 70-plus novels hit bestseller lists and 22 have been adapted for TV. She has married five times and her life has often been packed with more drama than her fiction.

4 HAROLD ROBBINS (1916-1997)

Books sold: 750 million

Genre: Adventure

Notable works: Never Love a Stranger, The Carpetbaggers

Sex sells – Robbins proved it with his page-turners about the superwealthy and their hijinks. He shot  to fame after Elvis Presley starred in the film adaptation of his novel A Stone for Danny Fisher.

5 GEORGES SIMENON (1903-1989)

Books sold: 700 million

Genre: Detective/mystery

Notable works: Maigret in New York, The Yellow Dog

The Belgian author wrote more than 200 pulp novels that have been translated into 50 languages. He wrote 60 to 80 pages a day and is best known for his stories featuring the eccentric detective Maigret.

6 ENID BLYTON (1897-1968)

Books sold: 600 million

Genre: Children

Notable works: Famous Five, Secret Seven, Noddy

Translated into 90 languages, her books are still hugely popular with kids across the globe even though they’ve been criticised for her childish prose and limited vocabulary. She wrote more than 800 books during her 40-year career.

7 THEODOR SEUSS GEISEL  (Dr Seuss) - 1904-1991

Books sold: 500 million

Genre: Children

Notable works: The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The US writer’s eccentric cartoon characters and use of humorous rhyme has introduced millions of kids to the joys of reading. He set out to produce books using a list of only 250 important words he felt kids should learn.

8 GILBERT PATTEN (1866-1945)

Books sold: 490 million

Genre: Adventure

Notable works: The Diamond Sport, Violet Vane

The American wrote more than 200 novels. Although he wrote Westerns and adventure tales he’s best known for his Frank Merriwell series which focuses on a sporty student who solves crime mysteries in his spare time.

9 LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910)

Books sold: 413 million

Genre: Drama

Notable works: War and Peace, Anna Karenina

Considered one of the greatest novelists of all time, the Russian author has been credited with influencing Gandhi and Martin Luther King. He started writing his epic War and Peace in 1862 and completed it in 1869.

10 JK ROWLING (1965- )

Books sold: 400 million

Genre: Children’s fantasy

Notable works: Harry Potter series

Having sold the film rights of her Potter series, JK Rowling is laughing all the way to the bank. Forbes estimates her net worth at $1 billion. Her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was rejected 12 times before finding a publisher.


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