I've been looking at the number one New York Times bestselling novels for the last century.
I started downloading the gutenberg texts of the early century. Then tiring of that I limited it to the number one novels of the year for the 1920s. Finally, I limited my search to the immediately recognizable last thirty years. And at that stage of my search I made an interesting discovery:
If you were to read five authors only, you would have most of the bestselling New York times novelists of the past thirty years. They are the twenty percent of twenty percent of twenty percent of the elite. The 20-80 rule - the rule that 80 percent of the rewards goes to 20 percent of the competitors - applies three time over to these authors.
So these five are part of the 20% elite of writers who earn an income from their work.
And these five are part of the 4% super elite who earn a decent residual income from their work.
On top of that these five men and women are among the handful of writers in the 1% master elite of the field. Their names are household brands which have the power to earn just by their association with a project.
1. Stephen King.
2. John Grisham.
3. Danielle Steele.
4. Tom Clancy.
5. Michael Crichton.
It is helpful in understanding why these writers are so pre-eminent by distinguishing between storytelling and writing, and between selling and writing. Because there writers are storytellers and bestsellers first and foremost, the next entry will address these distinctions. I have found these issues are almost never explored by writers in public for some reason.