Friday, 25 May 2012

Millionaire's Club

Evidently those in the know about book publishing are aware of something called the Millionaire’s Club. To join, a book has to sell more than one million copies. Joanne Harris’s novel Chocolat, which came out in 1999 has now officially passed the magic mark. Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper (2003) is there, too. Their books are among the 68 titles that have found their way into the Club since records began in 1998. Other British female novelists to top the one million mark are J K Rowling (Harry Potter), Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones) and Kate Mosse (Labyrinth).
Durham Cathedral
118,000 books were published in 2011. Of those, 21,000 were adult fiction, so maybe my idea that publishers aren't publishing much in these days of recesssion is quite wrong! Only nine authors have sold more than one million copies of more than one book: Rowling (eight titles), Dan Brown (five), Stephenie Meyer (four), Stieg Larsson and Philip Pullman (both three), Julia Donaldson, Khaled Hosseini and Fielding (both two). Interestingly all of these authors have had film adaptations made of their books.

It is difficult to predict what will become a bestseller. Most people like a mystery and suspense turns the pages. If a book makes readers want to know "why", most people will enjoy reading it. The Millionaire’s Club authors are commercially successful, and therefore not “literary”, but they’re good writers, producing unique, imaginative works that appeals to readers.
Carl Wilkinson’s article has lots more detail and I’m sure he’s right when he claims the median annual income of a writer in Britain today is just £4,000. Most authors have other jobs so they can continue to eat, or are lucky enough to have a husband/wife who can support them while they write. Check out the entire piece: here before you decide that writing is a good way to earn money.

1 comment:

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Very interesting, Jen. I'm sure film versions of books adds to their readership!