And, the Winner Is…

 

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I usually choose the subject for my blogs based on what I am most interested in at the moment or what I want to learn.

Today, I asked myself “Who is the best-selling fiction author of all time?” Here’s what I found out:

Topping the list with 4 billion books sold is Agatha Christe.

Behind her, is Wm. Shakespeare, who sold 2 billion books.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you that Danielle Steele, Sidney Sheldon, JK Rowling, and Dr. Seuss are also in the top ten.

Stephen King has sold 300 million books, Louis L’Amour sold 230 million, and James Patterson sold 150 million.

John Grisham has sold 100 million and is in the top 30, along with Nora Roberts, who sold more than 200 million and CS Lewis, with 100 million in total sales.

(Note: These are original sales. The resale market does not report number of sales for specific authors).

Most of the top sellers are in the Suspense/Detective/Thriller, or Romance categories. 

Most famous authors have written more than 40 books and are American or British.

The person who has written the most fiction books? Spanish writer Corin Tellado is credited with writing over 4,000 Romance novels!!!

Fascinating…daunting…inspiring.

 

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What Makes a Book Worth Reading???

 

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I love to read.

I read a lot of books.

I post a lot of reviews.

When deciding what I liked about a book, I don’t look at things like writing style, typographical errors, or if certain elements showed up at exactly the right number of pages into the book. I’m not reading to be critical of someone else’s work.

I have my reader’s hat on and I am reading for enjoyment or for information. If what I am reading delivers, I am a happy camper.

So, in the case of reading fiction, what is it that makes a book enjoyable for the masses?

Here are a few observations. (Please feel free to write in and add any to the list that I may have forgotten).

I like a book when

  1. I have empathy for the main character, especially if they are the “under-dog” or are hurt or in a difficult situation which they are trying to change.
  2. I value one of the traits he/she has—love, courage, loyalty, etc.
  3. There’s not too much backstory.
  4. There is a nice balance of suspense and humor.
  5. If, by their actions and emotions, the characters seem “real.”
  6. There is enough description so that I can visualize the setting and the characters.
  7. The story doesn’t drag on and on way past when I feel it should have ended.
  8. There is a sentence or two at the end of each scene/chapter that makes me want to read “just one more”—and, often, late into the night. (I just have to find out…)
  9. The story isn’t totally predictable. If it twists and turns, making it a challenge for me to figure it out too readily.
  10. The hero succeeds/“wins.” That doesn’t mean that it must end the way I predicted. In fact, not at all. But, if the hero learns something or is in a better position at the end of the book than when the story began, I am satisfied.

 

I”ve Gained Weight on a Steady Diet of Writing

I have come to the conclusion that writing and dieting definitely do not mix.  If you have been writing for any length of time, you may have found this to also be true in your own life. If you have an answer for this problem, please let me know—seriously.

First of all, I find that when I am heavy into writing—especially when writing something that is very exciting—I find it difficult to get adequate sleep. I’ve tried 1) staying up late so that I am very, very tired when I lay down  2) stopping writing at least an hour before I go to bed so that I don’t have my story on my mind.

Both of those help…sometimes.

I also find that I wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about my characters, and cannot get back to sleep. I give it a half hour. If I don’t fall asleep, I just go ahead and get up. What’s the use in tossing and turning for the rest of the night?

What does sleep have to do with weight control? The latest research says that getting a good night’s rest helps with weight loss. The reverse is also true. Not enough sleep results in weight gain.

Secondly, writing—again, this is especially true of writing something exciting—causes me to snack. The faster I type, the faster I shovel it in. The more suspenseful the writing, the more I am likely to go for something small and easy to pop into my mouth. My favorites are popcorn and nuts.

Finally, writing is a sedentary activity. We writers need to get up and move around every hour or so to clear our brains, stretch our muscles, and burn a few calories (especially if we have a snacking problem to counteract).

I belong to an exercise group which meets, daily. I feel successful if I get myself there twice a week. Because it meets at the beginning of the day, I often find myself skipping it and going directly to my writing, thinking that it is wasting precious time, when I know, in fact, that it is good for both my body and brain.

I guess I will never write a cookbook. I can just imagine what might happen to my weight if I focused on yummy recipes all day long!

Brenda