A Book I Read and a Challenge
I get some wonderful recommendations from readers of this blog about books I might be interested in. And the readers are often right. Thanks, folks!!
One such recommendation was for a book titled Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era. Author is Brian Ritt. The book has only been out a few years and it had passed me by. So when it was recommended, I got it at once. I love history of writers.
So a discussion on it below and some interesting things about how this kind of thing works for me sort of like what many of you say this blog does for you.
Errands, more errands, and then add in more errands. Then walked with two other professional writers, then back to WMG to work in the store.
Two other professional writers stopped by and we talked for a time, then around seven Billy, WMG’s Director of Sales stopped in and we talked for a time about the stores and some things we are planning for the summer.
Home by eight to cook dinner, then took a long nap, not getting to my e-mail until almost eleven p.m.
Watched some television at midnight, then got to my writing around 1 a.m.
I did a 1,100 session by 1:45 a.m.
Took a short break, did 1,200 words by 3 a.m.
A short break, did 1,000 words by just before 4 a.m.
So 3,300 words tonight and the novel is running right along. No clue how I am going to solve any of what I am writing, but the characters are in deep trouble just 4,000 words into the book. (grin)
Something Completely Different
The Not Only Human bundle I was in for a short week has now been converted into a massive boxed-set collection of novels and is for sale on all the normal spots.
12 novels. Twelve professional writers. Over one million words. One price. $9.99.
Can’t beat that. And this will only be available for a few weeks or so. Limited time.
Here are some normal links but you can find it most places or will be able to shortly.
July Workshop Schedule
All July workshops have room. All are limited to five writers max. But at the moment there are very few in any of the workshops. No surprise in this time of great forgetting. This way every year.
All details at www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com
Class #2 July 5th How to Write Thrillers
Class #3 July 5th Adding Suspense to Your Writing
Class #4 July 5th Plotting With Depth
Class #5 July 5th Character Development
Class #6 July 6th Depth in Writing
Class #7 July 6th Advanced Character and Dialog
Class #8 July 6th Cliffhangers
Class #9 July 6th Pacing Your Novel
Class #10 July 6th Teams in Fiction
Classic Workshops and Lectures are also available at any time.
Topic of the Night: A Book I Read
As I said above, I read a book about writers called Paperback Confidential: Crime Writers of the Paperback Era.
Now this book did about one page of basic details about the author, talked about the crime series, gave some recommended readings, and also said that if you liked the author’s work, you might like so-and-so’s work. Most of entries took two pages total.
I learned numbers of things, but the most startling was how many books writers I had thought were very prolific had actually written. Now granted, in many cases, the author of this book didn’t have a number for every writer listed.
Also, there were a lot of information about author pen names. Some of the authors mentioned had a half dozen or more pen names. (I am well past a dozen myself.)
And in a number of authors, it was clear there were a lot of series and books not even mentioned. That’s fine, it wasn’t in the format of the book to have that.
One writer (Real name Robert Leslie Bellem) caught my attention, however. He had written about 8 novels, a bunch of scripts for Hollywood, and over 3,000 short stories.
Now, I am one of the most prolific writers working at the moment. Not the most prolific, but one of the most. That 3,000 number sort of interested me as a wild goal. (grin)
Another thing that sort of surprised me was that writers I thought would have written far more than I have written actually didn’t. Many, many, many prolific writer’s careers tended, for one reason or another, often Hollywood, to top out from 70 to 120 novels.
Not all, but a large, large number of them. That sort of interested me as well since I am around 150 novels written and published now. And as of last count about six years ago now, I had 17 million copies of my books in print. Got a hunch now that number is way, way higher. Too lazy to try to count it, though.
So I went to the internet to find out which writers were considered the most prolific. And found a bunch of really interesting stuff.
If you go to an article listing the seventeen most prolific writers in history, you get some fun stuff.
Corin Tellado is, without a doubt, the most prolific and will hold that title for some time at over 4,000 books, all short novella length. A stunning number.
(There is some guy using a computer to find bits of things like stock reports and such from the public domain and slap them together for Amazon, but not a one has hit paper and he never writes them, just a computer program puts them together. So he flat is not worth talking about.)
Down 6th of the list is Barbara Cartland with 723 books.
Way down at #15 on the list was Issac Asimov who had 468 or 503, depending who is counting.
Now what I find interesting is how authors and people watching counted these books.
It seems that almost anything the author edited counted.
Any collection counted.
Novels, both short and long, counted. And for a writer by the name of Prentis Ingraham listed at #8 wrote over 600 dime novels back about 150 years ago. Dime novels tended to be about 100 pages long, in other words, about 10,000 to 15,000 words.
So it seemed that if it hit print in stand-alone form, it was counted no matter length. Very interesting.
Asimov, in his total of books, counted science books he co-edited with Techno Books Martin H. Greenberg, and others. Plus anthologies where he only did an introduction. Asimov actually had very few novels. Just a lot of books.
So my research has been very interesting.
In some lists out there, they count writers like Bradbury even though he did very few novels, but published about 600 short stories in his career.
The Guinness Book of World Records has L. Ron Hubbard holding the title with 1,084 different books. Of course, he never wrote that many, but Galaxy Press, his estate manager and publisher has continued to combine his work and put out new books. The value of a great estate for copyright. (I personally have done introductions for a couple of those repackaging books.)
Then, of course, there are the years of soft-core erotica books written by a ton of major writers under pen names. Robert Silverberg and Lawrence Block to name just two major writers who wrote a ton of those books in the 1960s. Great stuff to research if you have time. Harlan Ellison first and then Algis Budrys were the editors of some of the major houses doing that work at that time. There is some data finally starting to come out about those books and who wrote them. And Lawrence Block is actually reissuing some of them under his own name with the pen name included. Nifty.
I find it interesting that very few people ever mention names like Robert Sheckley in the lists, who did maybe a thousand short stories and who knows how many books along his long career. He was very, very disorganized and so far has had an awful estate that has let his name and work vanish it seems.
Did you know Agatha Christie only wrote 83 books in her time.
Earl Stanley Gardner wrote only 82 Perry Mason novels and another 29 novels under the A.A. Fair pen name, but he also wrote upwards of 400 short stories along the way.
My Point to All This?
Damned if I know.
I just an thinking about resetting some goals here as I head toward the end of the third year of my own magazine. So over time I think I will count up my books, all of them that hit paper in one way or another.
When a friend asked me if I should count the stories that only hit electronic, I said that if I did that, I would have to try to count all 1002 of these blogs, plus all the years and years of blogs I did before I started this streak.
Nope, not counting that.
If the book hit paper with my name or one of my pen names on the cover, I’ll count it. If I edited it, I’ll now count it as well.
So, using that rule, how many books have I published? I honestly don’t have a clue yet. As soon as I do I’ll report back.
But I think given time, I might be able to go by Hubbard. I will certainly get by Asimov if I live just a little longer and keep writing.
The 3,000 short stories, however that’s a horse of a different color of challenge.
The Writing of The Taft Ranch: A Thunder Mountain Novel
1,050 words. Total words so far
Day 2 3,300 words. Total words so far 4,350 words.
Totals For Year 3, Month 11, Day 16
Writing in Public blog streak Day 1,002
— Daily Fiction: 3,300 original words. Fiction month-to-date: 28,600 words
— Nonfiction: 00 new words. Nonfiction month-to-date total: 00 words
— Blog Posts: 1,400 new words. Blog month-to-date word count: 10,000 words
— E-mail: 11 e-mails. Approx. 800 original words. E-mails month-to date: 254 e-mails. Approx. 17,700 words
— Covers Designed and Finished: 0. Covers finished month-to-date: 2 Covers
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