Which Authors Sold Millions?

Literary Agents and publishers claim they can tell if a book has potential with just a glance. “Either you got it or you don’t,” is a common phrase. Let’s do a little experiment. I am going to mix up authors that have sold millions of books, with authors that are still looking to break through. Can you tell the difference? 

Get a scratch piece of paper and number it from 1-20. Put a checkmark by the author that you think has sold millions. At the end of this blog, I will give you the answers. 

Author One:

Not much had changed since the fire. Long before she set foot inside, she could smell the residual stench of those who hadn’t made it out in time. After spending nearly six years at Taunton Lunatic Asylum, it had become the only place Avery Norton truly felt at home, despite the fact that it had been no less than a prison to her. She knew each tile and brick and barred window, and they knew her just as intimately.

Author Two:

The Explorer complained as it climbed a long twisting hill, revealing pumpkin patches and apple orchards and unexpected colors brought on by early frosts that had yet to reach the city. The leaves were changing here, a swirling mix of maturing oranges, reds, and browns. Paint by number. PICK YUR OWN-3 MILES AHEAD. The Orchard House was just around the next bend. Her body stiffened once again, telling Larson that she recognized it, too.

Author Three:

She feels Benton’s eyes on her. She makes notes on a legal pad and checks other notes she’s already made. She checks preliminary lab reports even though she knows exactly what they say.

Author Four:

She would never be free of him; they had created three lives together. She would not trade those amazing beings for anything. Not even to retrieve the eight years she had almost lost herself to his abuse and manipulations. Almost. It was done so subtly she didn’t even see it happening. Like the frog boiling in a pot of water. The temperature rose so slowly that she was dying before she even knew she was wet. She had followed the pattern cut for her by society and ended up wearing a life ill-fitted for her soul. 

Author Five:

We knelt there beside him forever as we waited for him to take that last gasp.  He held on as a siren sounded outside.  Within seconds, the paramedics were tending to him.  As soon as they could, they loaded him onto a bed and moved him toward the rig.  Out front, several patrol cars had converged, and Captain Dale was there, too.  He watched silently as the gurney carrying Detective Mark Gonzales passed him.
I got into the back of the rig with the gurney.  As the ambulance sped away, I could see the light in Gonzo’s eyes start to fade. 

Author Six: 

The entire church seemed to sink beneath her feet as her eyes met the lifeless form on the floor. No stream of liquid flowed from the body. No signs of violence tattooed the flesh. There was only the fearful geometry of the commander’s head…torqued backward, twisted 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Vittoria fought the images of her own father’s mangled body. 

Author Seven:  

People, Win knew, made snap judgments based on appearances. No great insight there. And yes, there were the obvious prejudices against African-Americans or Jews or what-have-you. But Win was more concerned with the more garden-variety prejudices. If, for example, you see an overweight woman eating a doughnut, you are repulsed. You make snap judgments-she is undisciplined, lazy, sloppy, probably stupid, definitely lacking in self-esteem. 

Author Eight: 

Joseph spun his head around but did not see anyone. He fell to his knees and dug his fingers into the hard ground. The screams, groans, and cries, reverberated through the yard. Shouts of injustice came from the home. He continued to dig. Blood leaked from the cuts on his fingers. 

Author Nine: 

I gave her a good look. She didn’t look like any dope to me. She looked like she might have a pretty damn good idea what a bastard she was the mother of. But you can’t always tell-with somebody’s mother, I mean. Mothers are all slightly insane. The thing is, though, I liked old Morrow’s mother. She was all right. 

Author Ten: 

The others hurried down the ladder. As they waited, they held their breaths, hoping she would not betray them. Anxiously, they hovered by the closed door. It was quiet, with the exception of the sounds of cows and birds outside. Then the dog started barking, and the men heard footsteps and voices approaching. Their first thought was that the soldiers had found them. 

Author Eleven: 

“Fine, suit yourself.  I’m sure it’s no coincidence that we’re here at the same time.  Our mothers probably made sure of that, didn’t they?  I’ll try not to bother you.”  She turned on her stomach and pointed her head in the opposite direction so she wouldn’t have to look at the fine example of a man Bryce Delaney had become.  Her heart had done a familiar flip-flop at hearing him say her name and that really made her mad.  That was the problem with Bryce. He made Cait feel things she had no business feeling. 

Author Twelve: 

Gabriel Reese had a reputation as a wonk more than a bulldog, but also for the kind of covert power he wielded here. He and President Vance went back years. More than a few pundits had labeled him the de facto vice president of the administration. What that meant to me was Reese had either initiated this meeting on his own or at the president’s request. I didn’t think I liked either possibility. 

Author Thirteen: 

I said nothing. The strangeness of what had happened before he arrived was passing. What replaced it was his incredible personal magnetism. I have never in my life felt so much raw force. There was nothing supernatural about it, either, and rawis exactly the right word. I might have run. Under other circumstances, I’m sure I would have. It certainly wasn’t bravery that kept me where I was; my legs still felt rubbery, and I was afraid I might fall down. 

Author Fourteen:

Better looking than before he died. He stalked toward me, then past me and straight to the fridge. Confused I turned on the couch, kneeling and held onto the back of it watching in utter confusion. He pulled open the door, dropped to his knees and pulled open the vegetable crisper. The saliva that pooled on the bottom shelf was disgusting and I was very thankful that I had enough Clorox bleach to kill the bacteria in an ER under my kitchen sink. I bit my lip, eyes still bugging out of my head and watched as my boyfriend began to murder all of my vegetables.

My boyfriend appears to be a vegetarian zombie.

Author Fifteen:

Sara now knew in her heart that her marriage to Brad was not working out, but a faithless husband is far easier to say goodbye to than three little boys. She loved Jess and Michael and Phillip so much that she wondered if she could bear to give them up.  “I knew that Brad would never let me have the boys,” she would recall wistfully. And she had to remember the vicious struggle that went on between Cheryl and Brad over their three sons.

Author Sixteen:

“Travis, what would you say if we kick up the heat of this little game and enter into a bit of wager sexy friend? A highly wicked one of course.” Veronica tossed her long locks and gave him that look merely to tempt. Tease.

 “A wager?” He rubbed his forehead, squinted and finally turned his saucer-sized eyes directly on her. The look he gave her was blatantly cautious. Anxious.

Author Seventeen:

Scott turned to leave, by William grabbed his arm and whipped him around. Ordinarily the druggist wouldn’t have stood a chance against Scott’s athleticism. Scott could have broken him over his knee like a brittle stick. But he was so surprised by William’s aggressive and sudden move, he didn’t resist.

Author Eighteen:

My name is Iain Daniel Bryce, that’s pronounced  <Ī-yăn>, and I am a pirate but not in every sense of the word. I’ve done my share of swashbuckling and do indeed steal, and I won’t deny that I’ve occasionally pillaged, sometimes burned, from time to time wantonly destroyed many a thing in my day and, yeah, I’ve killed, but only when I was forced to, and truly took no pleasure in doing so. One thing I will adamantly deny, and dare anyone to say otherwise, is I’ve never, nor do I allow my men to rape! I’ll admit I am guilty of being a menace to society and imagine someday I will have to pay for the crimes I have committed, but not today! 

Author Nineteen: 

She wandered a few feet farther to glance to the right, into a formal parlor. Photographs lined the creamy white mantel, and from the style of dress worn in them, she judged them to be a gallery of Pella’s dead. Parents, siblings, the pretty and forever young face of his wife. 

Author Twenty: 

Glancing around as if looking for his lost car, Backus saw that the agent on the bench did not have a visual angle on the rear lot. No one was watching him here. He casually moved to a position directly below the balcony of room 22. He tried to listen for any verbal morsel that would spill through the open slider. He heard Rachel’s voice but could not make out the words until he very clearly heard her say, “Must feel naked.” 

All finished? In my next blog, I am going to have a Part II with more authors. Some are just starting out and some have been selling millions of books. Can you tell the difference? As for right now, go below to check your answers. If you have time, please post your answers in the comment section for others to read. 

Ron Knight 


Marketing: www.brand1111.com









Answer Key:

Author One: Rabbits in the Garden, by Jessica McHugh  http://www.JessicaMcHughBooks.com

Author Two: Cut and Run, by Ridley Pearson http://www.ridleypearson.com/

Author Three: Book of the Dead, by Patricia Cornwell http://www.patriciacornwell.com/

Author Four: Bits of Your & Pieces of Me, by Kimberly Kinrade http://KimberlyKinrade.com

Author Five: TESTAROSSA, by Julie Dolcemaschio www.testarossabook.com

Author Six: Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown  http://www.danbrown.com/

Author Seven: Promise Me, by Harlan Coben http://www.harlancoben.com/

Author Eight: 2-10, by Ron Knight www.authorronknight.com

Author Nine: the Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._D._Salinger

Author Ten: Broken Birds, by Jeannette Katzir www.brokenbirds.com

Author Eleven: A Slower Lower Love, by Lila Munro  www.lilamunro.weebly.com

Author Twelve: I, Alex Cross, by James Patterson http://www.jamespatterson.com/

Author Thirteen: Bag of Bones, by Stephen King http://www.stephenking.com/index.html

Author Fourteen: Vegetarian Zombie, by Heather Wampler 

Author Fifteen: Dead by Sunset, by Ann Rule http://www.annrules.com/

Author Sixteen: Wicked Wager Among Friends – Tales From Lucifer’s Lair, by Cassandre Dayne  http://www.cassandredayne.com

Author Seventeen: Chill Factor, by Sandra Brown http://www.sandrabrown.net/

Author Eighteen: The BrimTier Chronicles, Part 1, Life of a BrimTier Pirate, by Lisa J. Comstock www.brimtierchronicles.webs.com

Author Nineteen: Creation in Death, by J.D. Robb http://www.noraroberts.com/

Author Twenty: The Narrows, by Michael Connelly http://www.michaelconnelly.com/

Ron Knight

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  1. I got the following correct:

    #2, #6, #7, #9, #19 I thought #4, #8, and #14 were also in amongst the pros.

  2. I chose only three out of all of them : 3;12 and 18. I got two right 😀

  3. LOL. I haven’t even heard of most of those best sellers, though I’ve heard of some of the authors. I’m more of a non-fiction person.

  4. 11 for 20. . .not bad.

  5. I got 4 right. I also though 10, 14 and 18 were pros. 14 Really made me laugh though.

    Will you be posting more of the non published authors works? I really enjoyed some of them.

  6. I got 4 right. I also though 10, 14 and 18 were pros. 14 Really made me laugh though.

    Will you be posting more of the non published authors works? I really enjoyed some of them.

  7. A fun exercise, Ron. I only got 7 right. I recognized the Myron Bolitar novel – “Win” is a dead giveaway! 🙂

    I look forward to the next batch.


  8. I chose: A1,A2,A4,A6,A8,A11,A12,A18,A19,A20.

  9. 3 out of 20 here and really surprised at the outcome. Great blog and fun too, thanks!