21 Most Prolific Writers in Literary History
How prolific can a writer be? How many books do you think you will finally publish? I have been doing a bit of armchair research on the internet and came up with some rather startling figures about how much a person can write over his or her lifetime. Here are the writers who apparently had done nothing else, but written all their lives, and written well. Read on for the complete list…
1. Corin Tellado (1927-2009) 4000+ books*
Spanish writer María del Socorro Tellado López, known as Corin Tellado, was a prolific writer of romantic novels. She published more than 4,000 novels and sold more than 400 million books. Her first novel was Atrevida apuesta (1946) and her most popular novel was Luna oculta (1991).
2. Edward Stratemeyer (1862-1930) 1300+ books
American founder of the publishing syndicate that puts out the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series and other popular books for young readers. Using many pen names, he wrote more than 400 novels himself and outlined hundreds more for staff writers.
3. Ryoki Inoue (1946-) 1086 books
A thoracic surgeon by profession, Brazilian writer of pulp fiction in Portuguese on topics such as western, politics and romance.
4. Kathleen Lindsay (1903-1973) 904 books *
English romance author, who wrote 904 books under eleven pseudonyms including Mary Faulkner, often using names of both sexes. Her novels include There Is No Yesterday, Wind of Desire, and Harvest of Deceit.
5. Lauran Bosworth Paine (1916-) 850+ books
American paperback novelist, Paine has written mostly westerns, such as The Man from Wells Fargo (1961), and some mysteries and romances, using 70 different pseudonyms.
6. Enid Mary Blyton (1897-1968) 800+ books *
English children’s writer, her best-known series are Noddy, Famous Five, and Secret Seven. Her work involves children’s adventure stories, and fantasy, sometimes involving magic. Her work has been translated into nearly 90 languages.
7. Barbara Cartland (1901-2000) 723 books *
British writer of historical fiction, who also uses the name Barbara McCorquodale. She also wrote health and cookery books, as well as stage plays and recorded an album of love songs.
8. John Creasey (1908-1973) 600+ books *
He wrote using 28 different pseudonyms. His Inspector West and Gideon series are the most popular, but he also wrote Westerns under the names of Tex Riley, William K. Reilly and Ken Ranger, and romantic novels under the name of Margaret Cooke.
9. Jozef Ignacy Kraszewski (1812-1887) 600+ books
Polish writer of novels, plays, poetry, essays, biographies, history, memoirs, and political sketches.
10. Prentiss Ingraham (1843-1904) 600+ books
American dime novelist, and a Colonel in the Confederate Army, he is best known for his Buffalo Bill series.
11. Georges Joseph Christian Simenon (1903-1989) 570 books*
A prolific Belgian author who published nearly 200 novels under his own name and over 300 other books under 17 pseudonyms and numerous short works, Simenon is best known for the creation of the fictional detective Inspector Maigret.
12. Jalaluddin Al-Suyuti (1445-1505) 561 books
Egyptian writer, religious scholar, juristic expert and teacher whose works deal with a wide variety of subjects in Islamic theology.
13. Ursula Bloom (1892-1984) 520+ books
English romance novelist, her books include Doctor on Call and The Flying Nurse. A popular novelist, she also wrote over twenty radio plays and non-fiction titles.
14. Howard Roger Garis (1873-1962) 500+ books
American children’s writer, best known for a series of books, that featured the character of Uncle Wiggily Longears, an engaging elderly rabbit.
15. Jirō Akagawa (1948-) 480 books*
Japanese novelist, known for his humorous mysteries. He has written more than 480 novels in the course of his thirty year career, over 300 million individual published volumes.
16. Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) 468+ books
American author and Professor of Biochemistry at Boston University, he was best known for his works of science fiction and popular science books.
17. R L Stine (1943-) 430+ books*
American writer, who is the author of hundreds of horror fiction novels horror fiction novels, including the books in the Goosebumps, Rotten School, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and Fear Street series.
18. Kyotaro Nishimura (1930-) 400+ books*
Japanese mystery writer best known for his Train Series mysteries.
19. Arthur William Groom (1898-1964) 400+ books
British writer of children’s books and adult fiction and nonfiction under many different pseudonyms. A specialist in westerns, he ‘novelized’ real people as well as created fictional heroes like Hopalong Cassidy.
20. Ned Buntline (1823-1886) 400+ books
A pseudonym of Edward Zane Carroll Judson, best known for his dime novels, he gave William F. Cody the nickname Buffalo Bill and wrote the first stories about him.
21. Evelyn Everett Green (1856-1932) 350+ books
British author of both adult and children books, she wrote about 350 books, more than 200 under her own name, and others using the pen-names H. F. E., Cecil Adair, E. Ward or Evelyn Dare.
All writers with an * also makes the all-time bestselling list. The Wikipedia lists William Shakespeare as the writer with most sales at 4 billion copies for his completed works with Agatha Christie close behind with similar estimated sales for her 85 books. Romance does well, as does children’s fiction, followed by crime and horror fiction and fantasy. Interestingly, Enid Blyton has sold more books than J K Rowling. Dan Brown has sold close to 120 million copies from his 5 books and Stephenie Meyer has done pretty well with sales close to 100 million for her Twilight series.
Ah well, back to writing!