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Authors who sell hundreds of millions of books

Bondi Beach

This is a fun read from The Washington Post this morning. Among other notes:

"How do you get to be a blockbuster author? Typing is not enough, though some of these novels certainly read that way. The writing quality and storytelling vary tremendously, but there are some similarities among hit writers."

Interesting comments on how much book touring even the top guys and gals continue to do. Also:

"Most of all, though, the top sellers deliver a terrific story. In their novels, especially thrillers and science fiction, plot is paramount. The heroes tend to be relatable — shy, clumsy, anxious, myopic, in recovery, short-tempered, middle-class, broke — but their stories are fantastic, over-the-top, a wild ride and a welcome escape from a reader's quotidian life. In romance, the love is for the ages, destined, the opposite of casual. The story does not bog down with the challenge of dirty dishes or tax audits."

And there's more.

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graybyrd

Yeh, well I vividly remember all them dreams (nightmares?) where I flapped my arms wildly to fly away from the monsters coming at me ... except somebody had the same dream years ago and wrote it down... and Superman was born, and it sold millions & millions of copies.

So, yeh... so instead of taking a .45 to the office, one withdraws into a pulp novel. Send the brain into lockup rather than the whole body.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

That probably explains why my books continue to struggle so much, I often bring real-world concerns into my stories, along with the 'over-the-top' premises. There isn't much dish washing or paying the bills, though. However, the biggest catch is, whatever the story, the answers are always solved by defeating a single, easily identifiable bad-guy. In reality, the forces which oppress us are ever present, and there's never a single person we can appeal to for mercy. If one force doesn't crush us underfoot, there are a thousand more willing to step up to the job.

Edit: That's also why I so often go with my disquieting endings. In the end, the protagonist willingly sacrifices themselves for the good of everyone else. In reality, sacrificing oneself rarely ever (in the real world, not on the battlefield) saves anyone else.

red61544

The best way to sell lots of books is to be a professor at a large university. Teach an introductory class with 300-400 students in each section and make a text that you have written to be the main text for the class! I hated that when I was in college - inevitably, the profs who did it were as unintelligible as the text they had written. But it sells a lot of books!

Crumbly Writer

@red61544

I hated that when I was in college - inevitably, the profs who did it were as unintelligible as the text they had written. But it sells a lot of books!

They did that when I was in college too, but I wouldn't purchase (or even read most of them, other than the science and math texts) and would instead listen to the discussion rather than taking notes (never paying attention to what was said).

In almost every instance, I could pick up the gist of the discussion, make a few 'insightful' comments, and the professor would be so impressed I was paying attention, he'd end up spending the entire course teaching directly to me.

I dual-majored in Philosophy, where you're 'required' to read around 10 to 20 books a week. Believe me, I save a lot of time and cash with my approach, and my professors adored me for it (though I never confessed why I was the only one paying attention in class).

I've always found, taking notes seriously impacts your ability to comprehend the lessons. And since the lectures usually coincide with visuals (blackboard drawings), recording the sessions rarely paid off either.

Bondi Beach

@red61544

The only instructor I had who assigned his own book was well aware of the presumed conflict of interest and told us he donated his earnings to the library. I believed him. He was definitely a gentleman of the old school. His books were also, at the time (and may still be), the standard texts in the field.

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Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Bondi Beach

The only instructor I had who assigned his own book was well aware of the presumed conflict of interest and told us he donated his earnings to the library. I believed him. He was definitely a gentleman of the old school. His books were also, at the time (and may still be), the standard texts in the field.

That makes sense, since 1) it's fair and 2) he makes his profit on all the other colleges and university students, it's fair to not take it from his own students. However, not everyone is that principled. Say, for example, if someone's only customers are his own students!

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

Say, for example, if someone's only customers are his own students!


That is just plain stealing regardless of how its labeled.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

That is just plain stealing regardless of how its labeled.

That's my feeling too, but all too often, people look to pass their lack of academic success onto other, hoping to make themselves look bigger.

Replies:   docholladay
docholladay

@Crumbly Writer

That's my feeling too, but all too often, people look to pass their lack of academic success onto other, hoping to make themselves look bigger.


Worst part is he is stealing their education. I remember all those times I had to answer a kid's question, the process was rough: 1st Learn the child's level of understanding (not the child's age). 2nd break down the answer to their level of understanding. 3rd give that answer. Funny part is when ever I had to do that procedure I also learned something new about the subject matter regardless of what the question was about. So in someways the child also taught me a lesson at the same time.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Worst part is he is stealing their education.

In truth, though, most schools provide access to the books via the library, or at worst, you photocopy your 'pals' reading material every week, rather than purchasing the book for several hundred.

Despite people acting like assholes, most Universities/colleges are well-aware than a large majority of their students are on financial aid and are struggling (other than Trump University), and provide alternatives (or at least they did back in my days).

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