You want to write that one great book, don’t you? Well, how’s that going for you?
Are you pounding it out each day? Perhaps you have been for years. After all, you need to be going over every single sentence, making it perfect, right?
What has that gotten you? Chances are, nothing. I mean, you’re reading this site. If you had been successful already you’d probably be reading the big-name author sites, you know, the ones with all the answers?
Well, you won’t find that rubbish here. Instead we’ll focus on these authors that wrote at least 100 shitty books. Can you learn something from them? I don’t know, I can’t read your mind.
Louis L’Amour – 101 Books
I thought so, so why not give Louis L’Amour a call? Well, he died in 1988 at the age of 80, so that’s probably not an option.
But what a body of work, eh?
But wait a minute! Not a single one of those books has won a major award! And, come in a little closer here so I can whisper…many high-brow critics consider his work poor. Yeah!
Learn from this man, and do not repeat his mistakes.
James Patterson – 98 Books
For 2014, James Patterson plans to release 14 novels. That’s more than one a month, regardless of holidays or sports or what other authors think about him.
By far the author I hear the most crap about is Patterson. Successful and mid-list authors hate his guts, although I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because he works with co-authors. Maybe because he’s sold more than 300 million books since his first novel, The Thomas Berryman Number, first appeared in 1976.
The book was lauded by critics and won the Edgar Award for Best Fiction Novel by an American Author. The book also sold abysmally.
See, critics I think are poor, stingy, or just don’t give a damn. In other words, they rarely buy books (first of all, many get copies for free), at least not in any numbers that are going to move the scales.
Patterson knew this. He wanted to be read, not admired. So he set a new course, writing what readers wanted. Critics and other authors typically hated him for it, but he was laughing all the way to the bank.
I like Patterson because he’s got both the 1 good book and the 100 shitty books. This is what you want, to play both sides.
Danielle Steel – 120 Books
According to Wikipedia (I only use the best for research!), Steele is the top bestselling author alive and the fourth best of all time. What does it take to reach those lofty heights? About 800 million sales and counting.
Steel juggles multiple projects, typically five at once, and puts out several books a year to keep her legion of fans happy. Her formula? Pretty simple and typically following the same plot lines: rich people in trouble.
And don’t think she’s writing real fast, either. According to a 2004 interview, Steel takes 2.5 years to finish each book, but since she’s got those multiple projects so she can churn them out. Additionally, when she was just starting out she wrote at night when her kids were asleep, and logged just four hours of shuteye herself during that time.
All of that success didn’t come without a cost, however. Steel has been married five times and divorced five times and also lost a son to a heroin overdose. But she’s got fame, fortune and glory, right?
Dean Koontz – 91 Books
Koontz put his first book out in 1968, Star Quest, and it didn’t really make a splash. First, it was just 127 pages and bundled together with another story by another author. The complete package went for $0.60 – not exactly bill-paying money, huh?
Things didn’t go much better from there. He wrote all kinds of books and under all kinds of names, mainly to avoid getting into the “negative crossover” trap where fans won’t pick up your other books because it’s not their genre.
For 10 years he struggled in that regard, until his book Whispers came out in 1980. He’d had success with two other volumes, each selling about a million copies in the late-70s, but they’d been under those pesky pen names, so they don’t count, right? But by 1980 he was getting the attention he wanted.
And guess what? All those old books that’d gone nowhere for 10 years suddenly started to sell. Many of them Koontz pulled back and put under his own name, although many have yet to be republished.
Obviously you’re not going to get anywhere as a writer if you’re not crazy and willing to do the same thing over and over while expecting different results. Just ask Dean Koontz.
Horatio Alger – 135 Books
Horatio Alger, Jr. was born in 1832 and died in 1899, but during that time he managed to put out countless small works, many of which are still read today. And nearly all of them followed the same formula of a young boy in poverty who works hard and makes good.
What’s more, Alger worked with at least sixty different publishers over the years. Perhaps that’ll give you the courage you need to finally get out from under their heel.
Now, are all of these authors putting out shitty books? I don’t think so, but you’ll often hear them labeled as such by people. Typically it’s people that don’t like the author or their success. Many times its people that have never even read the books.
I don’t know if these books are shitty or not because I haven’t read any of them. Nope, not a single one. But the next time you hear others brow-beating them, perhaps you’ll think back to this article and ask yourself the question: “What’ll it be – 1 or 100?
If you’d like to see a complete list of best selling fiction authors, check out the article on Wikipedia.