List of prolific writers

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

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 400+ Mostly occultism, magick rituals books. Thought by experts to be the author of more occult books than anyone in history.
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]
Wolfgang Hohlbein German 15 August 1953 Living 1982 (Active) 220+[28] Fantasy novels
Nora Roberts English 10 October 1950 Living 1981 (Active) 200+[29] Romance novels, published under at least four different names
Mihail Sadoveanu Romanian 5 November 1880 19 October 1961 1904 1952 120[30] The count covers novels and short story collections
Mohammad Shirazi Arabic and Persian 1928 2001 1953~ 2001 1,061[31] 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 1992 330+ [32] The best-selling children's author of all time as of 2004, Stine estimates that he has over 330 children's books[32], including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series. At one time he produced one book a month for each of those series.[33] Stine has also written many books under the pseudonyms Jovial Bob Stine[34] and Eric Affabee.[35]
Annie Shepherd Swan English 8 July 1859 17 June 1943 1878 1943 200+[36][37][38][39] Wrote novels, serials, short stories and other works of fiction
Surender Mohan Pathak Hindi 19 February 1940 Living 1959 250+[40] 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.[41] Wrote almost a thousand novels in 6 years, under his own name or 39 pseudonyms.[42]
Dr. Krishna N. Sharma English and Hindi 24 December 1984 Living 2005 (Active) 132 as of 2017[43][44][45] He writes books on health, medical, music and literature.
Chico Xavier Portuguese 2 April 1910 30 June 2002 1932 500+ Brazilian spiritist medium whose works are attributed to be psycographies written by spirits. He wrote over 500 books in many different areas of knowledge.
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 [es] Spanish 1933 1952 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.

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