Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

I know you’ve gone far with writing that mystery novel. Don’t quite your day job just yet though ’cause it’s hard out there for a starving novelist.  On an average, authors in the UK earn about 6000 dollars annually. Yup! But then there are always exceptions to the norm of writing in the midst of poverty. It’s the millionaire’s club of novel authors. Just to give you an idea: The mommy porn, Fifty Shades of Grey , written by E. L. James has sold over ten million copies since it was first published in its present form in 2011. I’m stunned. The numbers do not even sound right. 10 million copies in less than two years? Anyway, here are the names of other high-earners.

A Million Sold (68 in all)

Joanne Harris’s Chocolat (1999)

Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper (2003)

John Boyne’sThe Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006).

J K Rowling (Harry Potter),

Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones)

Kate Mosse (Labyrinth)

The Inner Circle

These lucky authors have published over a million for more than one book.

Rowling (eight books have topped a million sales), Dan Brown (five), Stephenie Meyer (four), Stieg Larsson and Philip Pullman (both three), Julia Donaldson, Khaled Hosseini and Fielding (both two)… Continue Reading 

Penniless Hype

Most of these novels are pop-fiction, with E. L. James’s Fifty Shades trilogy taking the cake both for copies sold and for being the pop of all pop. Most of the authors featured in certificate exams, college classrooms, and academic journals don’t appear here. Then again, they probably don’t care much for money and are anti-fandom. For them, it’s all about connecting with the spirit of the letter, upholding the eternal truth of literature, giving voice to the voiceless, exposing the wounds in the depths of human history, etc etc. Phew! Simply reeling that off was a tad exhausting. I guess it’s safe to say their millions are of a less tangible nature, more spiritual if I may.


Feature Image via

Tags: , , , ,

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


Photos | Pages & Palette Hosts Reading of Frankie Edozien’s Lives of Great Men in Abuja

Lives of Great Men - Frankie Edozien at Pages & Palette -- photo by Victor Adewale (9)

Last December, Abuja bookstore Pages & Palette hosted a reading of Chike Frankie Edozien’s memoir Lives of Great Men. Published […]

Mauritanian Blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir Has Now Been in Jail for 5 Years

mohamed mkhaitir

In December 2013, Mauritanian blogger Mohamed Mkhaïtir wrote a blogpost criticizing his country’s government for using religion to discriminate against minorities. […]

Read Chapter One of Chigozie Obioma’s An Orchestra of Minorities

an orchestra of minorities - graph

Chigozie Obioma’s second novel An Orchestra of Minorities was published this January. As part of The Summer Library’s “selected extracts from […]

Laila Lalami’s Fourth Novel, The Other Americans, Is a Family Saga, a Murder Mystery, and a Love Story

laila lalami - alchetron - graph

Laila Lalami’s new novel is forthcoming on 26 March 2019 from Pantheon, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The 320-page […]

Thursday’s Children: 11 Contributors to Forthcoming Anthology Discuss Experimentation and the Nature of Creative Nonfiction

thursday's children - graph

Thursday’s Children is a forthcoming anthology of personal essays. Co-edited by Adams Adeosun and Bello Damilare, it comes with an […]

Clickbait | Saddiq Dzukogi | Poetry

image by Esther Vargas from flickr

Inspired by the Western media coverage of the Dusit Hotel terror attack in Nairobi.   At the Dusit restaurant in […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.