List of prolific writers

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Some writers have had prolific careers with hundreds of their works being published. While some best-selling authors have written a small number of books that have sold millions of copies, others have had lengthy careers and maintained a high level of output year after year. Dame Agatha Christie, the most-published novelist in history, is estimated to have sold 4 billion books, having written 69 novels and 19 plays.[1] Her works were published between 1920 and 1976, equating to around three publications every two years. Dame Barbara Cartland has also sold millions of copies of her books but wrote many more than Christie. She spent 80 years as a novelist with 722 books published, averaging one book released every 40 days of her career.[2] While Cartland wrote a significant number of full-length novels, other authors have been published many more times but have specialised in short stories. Spanish author Corín Tellado wrote over 4,000 novellas, selling 400 million copies of her books.[3]

Not all authors work alone. Groups of writers, sometimes led by one central figure, have published under shared pseudonyms. The Stratemeyer Syndicate, started by Edward Stratemeyer in 1905, created numerous book series including 190 volumes of The Hardy Boys and 175 volumes of Nancy Drew. More than 1,300 books were published by the group, and although Edward L. Stratemeyer wrote several hundred, he also employed ghostwriters to keep up with the demand. These writers were given storylines and strict guidelines to follow to ensure a level of consistency within each series. Amongst the writing team was Howard R. Garis, who contributed several hundred books to the collection, one of the most active authors. Sales were estimated at over two hundred million copies before the syndicate was sold to Simon & Schuster in 1984.[4]

Most authors carefully craft their work, writing and rewriting several times before publication. Some authors simply use pen and paper, while others such as Isaac Asimov spent hours at a stretch working at a typewriter.[5] Philip M. Parker, by one measure the world's most prolific author, has an entirely different approach. Parker has over 200,000 titles listed on Amazon.com, having developed an algorithm to gather publicly available data and compile it into book form.[6][7] The computer-generated nature of the books is not detailed on the sales page and the books are printed only when ordered.[6][8]

Prolific writers[edit]

Name Language Birth Death First publication Last publication Published works Notes
Corín Tellado Spanish 25 April 1927 11 April 2009 1946 2006 4000+[3] She wrote over 5000 novellas and magazine's short stories. She was listed in the 1994 Guinness World Records as having sold the most books written in Spanish, and earlier in 1962 UNESCO declared her the most read Spanish writer after Miguel de Cervantes.
Rolf Kalmuczak German 17 April 1938 10 March 2007 2900+[9] More than 100 pseudonyms[10]
Lope de Vega Spanish 25 November 1562 27 August 1635 2200~[11] Playwright
L. Ron Hubbard English 13 March 1911 24 January 1986 1934 1987 1,084 Science fiction, adventure, westerns, mystery, religion.
Ishtiaq Ahmed Urdu 1944 17 November 2015 1972 Continuous 800+ Spy Thriller Crime Series
Edwy S. Brooks English 11 November 1889 2 December 1965 1907 1966 800+[12] Brooks published his first short story, in July 1907, when he was seventeen.
Enid Blyton English 11 August 1897 28 November 1968 1922 1968 762 Children's literature, adventure,mystery,fantasy.
Barbara Cartland
(bibliography)
English 9 July 1901 21 May 2000 1923 722[2] Holds the Guinness World Record for the most novels (23) written in a single year
István Nemere
Hungarian 8 November 1944 Living 1974 701
Jallaludin Suyuti Arabic 1445 1505 700 Islamic Ideological Books, Fiqh, Sufism and Tafseer Works including a six volume Tafseer and a three volume tafseer
S Rob English 22 February 1975 2013 350+ He has written over 350 books almost all on the occult.
Andrew Murray English 9 May 1828 18 January 1917 1907 1966 240[13] Mostly Christian devotional books.
Muhammad Muhiyyudin Ibn ul Arabi Arabic 26 July 1165 8 November 1240 240 Mystical Islamic Books e.g. A 7 volume Futuhat e Makkiya
Abu Hamid Al Ghazali Arabic 1058 1111 200 Fiqh, Sufism and Tafseer
Isaac Asimov
(bibliography)
English 2 January 1920a 6 April 1992 506[14] Published in 9 of the 10 Dewey Decimal System categories[15]
Jacob M. Appel
English 21 February 1973 Living 1998 200+ Has also received 21,000 rejection letters.[16]
Meish Goldish English Unknown Living 1989? 300+ Mostly books for schoolchildren
Kyokutei Bakin Japanese 4 July 1767 1 December 1848 470[17]
Ursula Bloom English 1892 1984 1922 500+[18]
John Creasey English 17 September 1908 9 June 1973 600+[19] More than 10 pseudonyms
Terrance Dicks English 10 May 1935 Living 1974 223 Mainly children's books. Includes 75+ based on the television series Doctor Who, for which he was a former script editor.
Darya Dontsova Russian 7 June 1952 Living 140+[20] A bestselling Russian author of detective novels and kitchen books.
Alexandre Dumas French 24 July 1802 5 December 1870 277[2]
Howard R. Garis
English 25 April 1873 6 November 1962 500+[7] Member of the Stratemeyer Syndicate
Charles Garvice
English 24 August 1850 1 March 1920 150+[21]
Charles Hamilton
(bibliography)
English 8 August 1876 24 December 1961 1894 1961 1,200 Estimated to have written 100,000,000 words using around 20 pseudonyms, primarily for boys' weekly magazines, including public-school stories[22]
Prentiss Ingraham English 28 December 1843 16 August 1904 1,000[23] Wrote around 600 novels and 400 novelettes
Nicolae Iorga Romanian etc. 17 January 1871 27 November 1940 1886~ 1940 1,359[24] Another count has "1300 volumes and 25000 articles"[25]
Józef Ignacy Kraszewski Polish 28 February 1812 1887 350+ 200+ novels and 150 novellas, short stories, and art reviews
Kathleen Lindsay English 1903 1973 900+[7] 11 pseudonyms[7]
Paul Little English 1915 1987 700+[26] Many pseudonyms
L. T. Meade English 1854 1914 300+
Jacob Neusner
(bibliography)
English 28 July 1932 8 October 2016 1962 950+
Lauran Paine English 25 February 1916 1 December 2001 900+[27]
Nora Roberts English 10 October 1950 Living 1981 (Active) 200+[28] Romance novels, published under at least four different names
Mihail Sadoveanu Romanian 5 November 1880 19 October 1961 1904 1952 120[29] The count covers novels and short story collections
Mohammad Shirazi Arabic and Persian 1928 2001 1953~ 2001 1,061[30] He made contributions in various fields ranging from jurisprudence and theology to politics, economics, law, sociology and human rights.
Georges Simenon French 13 February 1903 4 September 1989 1921 500+[7]
R. L. Stine English 8 October 1943 Living Hundreds The best-selling children's author of all time as of 2004, Stine has written hundreds of children's books, including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series. At one time he produced one book a month for each of those series.[31]
Annie Shepherd Swan English 8 July 1859 17 June 1943 1878 1943 200+[32][33][34][35] Wrote novels, serials, short stories and other works of fiction
Surender Mohan Pathak Hindi 19 February 1940 Living 1959 250+[36] Wrote over 250 novellas in crime fiction in India. He is known as a Grand Master of Hindi crime fiction. He has been writing for almost 50 years; his first short story was published in 1959 at the age of 19.
Ryoki Inoue Portuguese 22 July 1946 Living 1986 1000+ Brazilian surgeon turned pulp novel author, acknowledged by Guinness as world's most prolific writer.[37] Wrote almost a thousand novels in 6 years, under his own name or 39 pseudonyms.[38]
Dr. Krishna N. Sharma English and Hindi 24 December 1984 Living 2005 (Active) 132 as of 2017[39][40][41] He writes books on health, medical, music and literature.
Chico Xavier Portuguese 2 April 1910 30 June 2002 1932 450+ Brazilian spiritist medium whose works are attributed to be psycographies written by spirits.
Manuel Jacinto Coelho Portuguese 30 December 1903 13 January 1991 1935 1991 1,000 Brazilian leader of a religion called Cultura Racional ("Rational Culture"). For 56 years, he wrote a one-thousand-volume encyclopedia called Universo em Desencanto ("Disenchanting Universe"), which covers a very wide range of subjects.
Juan Lozano Rico Spanish 1943 1983 800+ He wrote over 800 novellas mainly under the pseudonym of Carlos de Santander.
François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire) French 21 November 1694 30 May 1778 1718 1778 2000+ Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets.
Notes
  • Authors with more than 100 books are considered for inclusion.

^a Asimov celebrated his birthday on 2 January but his true date of birth is unclear.

Other notable writers[edit]

  • Ni Kuang has written over 300 Chinese-language wuxia and science fiction novels, and more than 400 film scripts.
  • Zhang Henshui published more than 100 novels in his 50 years of fiction writing.
  • Ned Buntline[citation needed]
  • Evelyn Everett-Green wrote about 350 books: more than 200 of them under her own name, and others using the pen-names.
  • Sophocles – wrote 123 plays of which only 7 survive today[2]
  • Leibniz about 15,000 letters to more than 1000 recipients plus more than 40,000 other items
  • Bertrand Russell over 30,000 letters, thousands of articles published in nearly 100 books
  • Robert Boyle no complete count, but an incomplete subset filled a huge 14 volume hardback bound compilation set in 2000
  • Elizabeth Linington at 80 books under 4 names, also considered a prolific writer
  • H.P. Lovecraft over 100,000 letters, some of them up to 70 pages in length.
  • Vladímir Watzke was the most prolific writer in the Czech language with 82 published books (almost all fiction), and numerous unpublished manuscripts that were denied publication by the Communist government after World War II. He was reputed to have been able to complete writing a full novel (mostly in the science fiction and fantasy genres), in a single evening, and was widely popular in the 1930s and 1940s.[citation needed]
  • Stephen King has written 93 novels in his lifetime.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fleming, Michael. Agatha Christie gets a clue for filmmakers. Variety. 14 February 2000. Accessed 23 September 2011.
  2. ^ a b c d Womack, Philip. Being a prolific author isn't a bad thing. The Telegraph. 25 October 2010. Accessed 22 September 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Corín Tellado: Spanish romantic writer". The Sunday Times. 18 April 2009. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 20 January 2017. (subscription required)
  4. ^ Woodmansee, Martha. Osteen, Mark. The new economic criticism: studies at the intersection of literature and economics. Routledge. 1999. p. 11.
  5. ^ Nichols, Lewis. Isaac Asimov: Man of 7,560,000 Words. The New York Times. 3 August 1969. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  6. ^ a b Cohen, Noam. He Wrote 200,000 Books (but Computers Did Some of the Work). The New York Times. 14 April 2008. Accessed 22 September 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d e Rosen, Judith. David Slavitt Joins the 100 Club at 76. 29 August 2011. Accessed 23 September 2011.
  8. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muneer_Ahmed_Badini http://www.thenews.com.pk/print.asp?id=72382 http://www.geo.tv/3-23-2009/38013.htm
  9. ^ Obituary by Kalmuczak's German publisher: "Wir trauern um Rolf Kalmuczak" (in German). Random House / cbj. 13 March 2007. Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Rolf Kalmuczak". German National Library catalogue (in German). Retrieved 27 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Warner, Charles Dudley (2008). A Library of the World's Best Literature – Ancient and Modern, Volume XXXVIII: Vazoff-Wesley. Cosimo, Inc. 
  12. ^ Caldicott, Mark (1995). "Edwy Searles Brooks - Biographical Outline". Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. 
  13. ^ Ross, Thomas D. (2014), "Andrew Murray, Keswick / Higher Life Leader: a Biographical Sketch", The Doctrine of Sanctification: An Exegetical Examination, with Application, in Historic Baptist Perspective, to which is Appended a Historical, Exegetical, and Elenctic Evaluation of Influential Errors, Particularly the Keswick Theology, Great Plains Baptist Divinity School 
  14. ^ Seiler, Edward. "A List of Isaac Asimov's Books". Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  15. ^ Seiler, Edward (11 July 2014). "Frequently Asked Questions about Isaac Asimov: Did you know that Asimov is the only author to have published books in all ten categories of the Dewey Decimal System?". Retrieved 9 July 2017. 
  16. ^ Schultze, Emily (19 December 2013), "Sitting on Nails and Staring at the Wall: An Interview with Jacob M. Appel", Fiction Writers Review 
  17. ^ "Kyokutei Bakin, 1767 to 1848: Japan's first professional writer". National Diet Library. 2003. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  18. ^ "Ursula Bloom, 1892-1984". Literary Heritage - West Midlands. Shropshire Council. 5 October 2009. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "John Creasey". Owantonna Media. Retrieved 22 September 2011. 
  20. ^ Official bibliography (in Russian)
  21. ^ Matter, Laura Sewell (Fall 2007). "Pursuing The Great Bad Novelist". Georgia Review. 
  22. ^ Lofts, W.O.; Adley, D.J. (1970). The Men behind Boys' Fiction. London: Howard Baker. p. 170. 
  23. ^ Hill, Charlie. "Colonel Prentiss Ingraham". Mississippi Writers and Musicians. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  24. ^ Iova, Victor. N. Iorga: Istoria lui Mihai Viteazul (I): "Tabel cronologic". Bucharest: Editura Minerva. 1979 (pg. xxxiv).
  25. ^ Veiga, Francisco. Istoria Gărzii de Fier, 1919–1941: Mistica ultranaţionalismului. Bucharest: Humanitas. 1993 (pg. 69).
  26. ^ Heise, Kenan (23 June 1987). "Paul Little, 72, Author of More Than 700 Novels". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 28 April 2012. 
  27. ^ Varner, Paul (2010). Historical Dictionary of Westerns in Literature. Scarecrow Press. 
  28. ^ Clark, Blanche (30 November 2010), "The $60 million woman", Herald Sun, retrieved 6 December 2010 
  29. ^ "Books: Rural Life in Ruritania". Time. 22 June 1962. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  30. ^ Full List of Mohammad Shirazi's books.
  31. ^ "R. L. Stine". Ohio Reading Road Trip. Greater Dayton Public Television. 2004. Retrieved 25 September 2011. 
  32. ^ Aitken, William Russell. Scottish Literature in English and Scots: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale Research, 1982. (pg. 170) ISBN 0-8103-1249-2
  33. ^ Sutherland, John. The Stanford Companion to Victorian Fiction. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 1990. ISBN 0-8047-1842-3 (pg. 200–201)
  34. ^ Varty, Anne, ed. Eve's Century: A Sourcebook of Writings on Women and Journalism, 1895–1918. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. (pg. 254) ISBN 0-415-19544-6
  35. ^ Anderson, Carol and Aileen Christianson. Scottish Women's Fiction, 1920s to 1960s: Journeys Into Being. East Linton, Scotland: Tuckwell Press, 2000. (pg. 165) ISBN 1-86232-082-9
  36. ^ Kaul, Vivek (22 May 2010). "Bollywood's functioning is authoritarian: Surendra Mohan Pathak". Daily News and Analysis (DNA). Mumbai. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  37. ^ Bahé, Vanessa (14 November 2011). "Erro pode ter dado recorde a escritor Ryoki, que lança livro em Olinda: Médico brasileiro conta que correu para não perder prazo de contratos. Atualmente, ele contabiliza 1.104 livros publicados" [Error may have given record the writer Ryoki, who launches a book in Olinda: Brazilian doctor tells that he ran not to lose contract deadline. He currently counts 1,104 published books.]. G1 (in Portuguese). Globo Comunicação e Participações S.A. 
  38. ^ "Perfil" [Profile]. Ryoki Inoue (in Portuguese). 2013. 
  39. ^ "Dr. Krishna N. Sharma". Amazon. Amazon.com, Inc. 
  40. ^ "Books". http://DrKrishna.co.in. Retrieved 9 July 2017. 
  41. ^ "Victoria University Dean of Health Sciences releases his 125th book". Xpress Times Uganda. Retrieved 2017-05-14.