How to Sell 100 Million Books

I think it is so fascinating that there are over eighty authors that have sold 100 million books or more. I believe most of these authors had (and still have) ten fingers, ten toes, a couple hands, and a brain. They also had the imaginative gift to entertain others. 

Does this sound like you? If so, then maybe someday you can join the 100 Million Club. Here is the good news. There’s not some secret formula these authors uncovered. I’ll tell you what all of them had in common. 

First, let’s look at the most popular genres that sold 100 million or more: 

  1. Romance
  2. Thriller
  3. Crime Thriller
  4. Literature
  5. Children’s
  6. Mystery
  7. Fantasy
  8. Adventure
  9. Historic (Thriller)
  10. Horror
  11. Historic
  12. Western
  13. Suspense
  14. Vampires (Yes, vampires have their own genre now.)
  15. Medical (Thriller)
  16. Poetry (William Shakespeare, four billion books sold.)
  17. Tween
  18. Comedy 

Is your genre listed above? Well then, let’s see how to get you on this elite list. 

100 Million Authors have been humbled. 

Not one of the great authors in history has yet to experience a perfect life. In fact, most had gone through extreme humbling moments. I suppose the best thing to remember is when life is treating you unfair and you feel like your big break is not going to happen, welcome to the club. Every author who sold 100 million books had their doubts and their problems. 

100 Million Authors have certain type’s of characters and stories. 

Authors who create over the top, less realistic characters, and mix that perfectly with real life stories, sell hundreds of millions of books. Let’s take the ever popular vampire. That character is over the top unrealistic. (For most people.) However, place that vampire in a small town with real teen situations, and you have a hit. Another example is a school for wizards. The characters are unrealistic, but the emotions of those teens are relatable. Danielle Steel was aware that people are not all rich and famous, making her characters unrealistic. Nevertheless, the crisis and relationship drama that Steel’s characters went through, are very real to us all. 

100 Million Authors are slow and methodical. (Not by choice.) 

I know, you want to sell 50,000 books a month starting in the New Year. Obviously, that will not happen. Every 100 Million Author had to trudge through a long grueling time of perfecting their storytelling and mechanics. Their big break did not come quickly. 

Each day, the author had to look in the mirror and decide if they should keep writing. And even when that first break came, it took many years of working hard, writing books, and marketing themselves to others before joining the 100 Million Club. These authors were forced by humbling moments to keep fighting. Every one of them was criticized at some point. Looking back, they wondered how the heck they lasted so long.

 100 Million Authors learn from others before them. 

What’s one of the first questions any popular author is asked? “What books do you read?” You cannot write a great book, unless you have read a great book. Pick up a re-released copy of The Catcher and the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Honestly, it’s hard to tell what is so terrific about that book. In fact, I can’t even tell you what it’s about in so many words. But there is something about the story that intrigues me. If you can figure that out, then you are on your way to the 100 Million Club. If you can figure out why Stephenie Meyer’s books have earned her $50 million a year, then you can succeed in doing the same. You have to keep reading and be able to dissect a novel. Get through the layers, past the story and characters, and find that gift. 

100 Million Authors have a fan following. 

Speaking of Stephenie Meyer, I read a sample chapter a long time ago that she posted on the Internet. She was asking people what they thought of her new book. It was written in the first person, which I’m not a big fan of, but to this day, I remember the characters, setting of the story, and the emotions I felt when reading it. Now, I feel honored to have read a sample of Twilight. Stephenie was asking the opinion of others on her work. She was finding out what readers were looking for. That is the key to building a fan base. 

Give the readers what they want. Sometimes, this may take you away from writing what you feel. If that bothers you, then write with this formula: “One for them, one for you.” Write a book that is totally for the mass-audience. Something with mass-market appeal. With your next book, write one that is totally and truly just for you. Anything that feeds that passion, even if it does not relate to the average reader. Just keep in mind, if you want to sell your books to hundreds of millions of people, hundreds of millions of people must be interested in your books. 

100 Million Authors can rarely do anything else. 

It is a curse and a blessing. Authors just starting out do not make money. At least, not enough money to pay the bills. Competition is fierce, but if you want to sell 100 million books, then you must improve and surpass others with your gift. These authors are obsessed with reading and writing. And nowadays, authors are marketing much more than ten, twenty years ago. Furthermore, authors today are studying the publishing industry more than ever. 

100 Million Authors are published. 

You can certainly make a living off your own e-book sales, giving all the above efforts. Nevertheless, if you truly want to go down in history as one of the greats, you will need some outside help. Most 100 Million Authors had an agent, publicist, marketing agency working for them, publishing lawyer, and a publisher that could reach millions of people.  You would not be able to do it on your own. 

The four keys to success as an author are reading, writing, marketing, and publishing. All 100 Million Authors figured out the best ways to do those things. If you can read, write, market yourself, and publish, then you have the same chance as other historic authors for greatness. 

You have to know what success looks like…and how to achieve it. 

Ron Knight  




Ron Knight

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  1. It’s got to be said, because I was very disturbed when i read this article. I first heard in an article from Stephen King that Stephanie Meyer is the WORST writer he has ever read. You know, one of those writers who gets lucky with an idea but has the actual writing ability of an average high school student. She simply hit on the paranormal romance fad and ran with it, but when it comes to actual good writing… ugggg. And sometimes I think its writers like her, who had no actual writing talent but get popular because of a silly idea, ruin it for everyone else.