The Best Selling Authors of All-Time: From Novels to Non-Fiction and Everything in Between

You’ve probably heard about the best-selling books of all time, but did you know that there are dozens upon dozens of categories within that single category? It’s true! From non-fiction to children’s books, from picture books to self-help manuals, from YA novels to romance novels — there are literally hundreds of best-selling book lists that you can choose from in order to identify your own best-selling book.

Dan Brown

Brown is a household name, especially among thriller fans. The Da Vinci Code may be his most famous work, but Brown has many other bestsellers under his belt. Other hits include Angels & Demons, Deception Point, Digital Fortress, Inferno and The Lost Symbol. His novels have sold over 200 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 50 languages. To date, Brown has sold more than 170 million books worldwide.

J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series of novels have sold over 450 million copies around the world. Published from 1997 – to 2007, these books defined a generation and continue to enthrall new readers today. The author has become one of the wealthiest women in Britain and she is listed as an individual billionaire. Her net worth was estimated at $1 billion USD at just 36 years old. She uses some of her wealth for philanthropic causes but remains low-key about her efforts. Readers were shocked that her novel The Casual Vacancy received mixed reviews when it was published in 2012 but it continues to sell well with over 2 million copies sold worldwide.

Also Read: Books That Became Popular Again Due To TV Adaptations

James Patterson

James Brendan Patterson (born March 22, 1947) is an American author. He has written more than 130 books since 1976, and at least 110 of those have appeared on The New York Times bestsellers list. As of 2015, he was still #7 on The New York Times’ list of bestselling authors. In 2016 he was #11 on Forbes’s list of highest paid authors with $95 million earned between June 2014 – June 2015.

Dr. Seuss

While many people might attribute Dr. Seuss’ children’s books as his greatest achievements, there was a time when he worked as an editorial cartoonist at PM Magazine from 1941 to 1943. During World War II, he published several political cartoons lampooning Hitler and Mussolini, which were later collected into a collection called Dr. Seuss Goes to War. A talented writer, Dr. Seuss also wrote for adult magazines such as Judge Magazine and Vanity Fair (just look up some of his old cartoons).

Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist – 1988 (35 million copies sold) Haruki Murakami: The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – 1994 (10 million copies sold) Ken Follett: Pillars of The Earth – 1989 (10 million copies sold) Khaled Hosseini: A Thousand Splendid Suns – 2007 (7.5 million copies sold) John Grisham: The Firm – 1991 (7.5 million copies sold) Dan Brown: The Da Vinci Code – 2003 (30 million copies sold).

Best Selling Authors

E.L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey (2011) – 100 million copies sold worldwide by 2013. The book tells a story about how Anastasia Steele, a 21-year-old college graduate from Washington, meets Christian Grey, a successful entrepreneur, who’s into BDSM. It is believed that James was inspired to write Fifty Shades after she developed an interest in bondage after her husband had affairs with others. In 2009 she started writing it on her lonesome as Twilight fan fiction centered around Edward Cullen and Bella Swan before sending it off to publishers.

John Grisham

Grisham’s best-selling novel The Firm was made into a Hollywood blockbuster starring Tom Cruise. Grisham’s other books have sold over 250 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 38 languages. The Brethren, A Time To Kill, The Pelican Brief, The Client, Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, Ford County and Calico Joe are among his most famous works.

Stephen King

The best-selling books are probably Carrie by Stephen King, which has sold over 29 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1974, and It, with more than 15 million copies sold since 1986. In fact, Stephen King is one of a handful of authors that make up what is often referred to as the horror triumvirate along with Dean Koontz and James Herbert. Sales of King’s work have been nothing short of phenomenal. It has been estimated that he has sold 350 million books (that’s more than one for every person on earth). He was recently dethroned from his own top spot by Harry Potter author JK Rowling who managed 450 million sales.

Nora Roberts

The bestselling author has written more than 200 novels, including dozens that have hit #1 on USA Today’s bestsellers list. She started her career by writing short contemporary romance novels under a pen name, which was a wildly successful career move; she sold millions of books through such works as Irish Thoroughbred and Northern Lights. Like Nora Roberts, she’s gone on to publish much longer historical romances about women in Ireland, Montana, New York City and beyond. Her 1994 novel Blue Smoke is generally considered her most influential work; it introduced one of her longest-lasting protagonists, Dr. MacGregor Maddox. Since then she’s published 18 standalones as Nora Roberts with additional series including In Death and The Bride Quartet.

Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games trilogy has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. I’m not sure if that makes Suzanne Collins an authority on survival skills or sales tactics, but it does make her rich! If you want to learn from one of today’s bestsellers, you may want to check out her latest, The Underland Chronicles. In total, she has written 9 novels! If you’re interested in writing a successful book, you might try some of these strategies… like making your main character girl because there are more girls reading now than ever before.

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