Saturday 22 December 2018

A sense of scale!

I was looking at the figures on the sales figures list for bestselling SFF authors over on the Wertzone, and decided to make an infographic scaled by Agatha Christie's sales figures for her detective fiction.
It takes the six bestselling SFF authors of all time to match Christie's record, and it should be noted that this really includes a huge chunk of real world horror/thriller writing from Messrs King, Koontz, and Crichton. George RR Martin sits in 10th place on that list with less than half of Crichton's sales.

So, despite the exciting surge in mainstream acceptance of SFF seen in the last decade or two, fantasy, particularly of the sword swinging variety, is still a small fish in the book ocean!


  1. In their defense. You're comparing them to Agatha motherfucking Christie.

    Nobody could hope to beat that beast of a woman.

  2. I really like data and all those authors mentioned.

    It just shows how big the market really is for authors.

    Just to be clear, those are unit sales, correct and not dollars?

  3. Hi Mark,

    Just finished Wheel of Osheim on a flight home from visiting family. It was a joy to listen to the conclusion of Snorri's tale of his trek through Hel to finally find his family; Jalan was listening while walking through one tube in the darkness, a creation of science beyond his understanding, slipping in and out of time. Meanwhile, I listened while hurtling through the dark in an airborne metal tube, entering Oregon airspace, at 8:45 PM Pacific Standard Time, but still existing on Pennsylvania time, 11:45 PM Eastern Standard Time, also in a creation of science beyond my understanding.

    I've rarely had such a synchronistic "Neverending Story" experience. The whole series was a gratifying read and walked a great line between world-building, character development, and character "regression" (Jalan will always be Jalan ... but which Jalan will that be!?). Thank you for such a great journey!

    My one regret: that Jalan's journey through Hel, return to Vermillion through the desert, defense of Vermillion as its unwilling marshal, and reunion with Snorri was not its own book (and that their reunion with Kara and Hennen, journey to the wheel, and encounters with their various nemeses were not a separate, fourth book). There was so much depth there and character growth for Jalan in his new role that I wanted to savor it, to see what became of him over a season of responsibility instead of a few short weeks. Then, too, the journey to Osheim had been built up for so long, and the conflict with the Prince of the Unborn, Edris Dean, and his sister such major events, that it felt rushed to push them all together. I know you have contractual obligations and needed to keep things to a trilogy, but I'm hoping that now that you've been so successful, the publisher will let you draw things out a little more (like some other popular fantasy authors we all know and love).

    Your ideas about magic and faith, as well as your heroes and villains, have sparked tons of ideas in my writing and my regular RPG games. Your characters are a pleasure to read, and their voices are snappy, dark, humorous, engaging, thoughtful ... such good stuff.

    Again, thanks. I can't wait to read all the rest! (apologies for the post here on your Agatha Christie comparison -- wasn't sure how best to reach out).