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Infographic: When Did Famous Authors Publish Their Breakthrough Novels?

This is a fascinating infographic that was sent my way.

The graphic shows the age at which dozens of famous authors wrote their first book, their first breakthrough book, in which years of life they published other books, and when they died.

It gives you a good idea of how prolific some writers are—to a fault, in some cases, I would say.

You can view the full infographic at BlinkBox Books by clicking on the image below.


Explore the careers of some of the world’s most successful authors. Click image to open interactive version (via Blinkbox Books).

Some thoughts:

  • Look at Nora Roberts. How can anyone write that much and maintain quality? She must use a ghostwriter, right? She’s written 218 books in a little over 30 years.
  • Then you see someone like Jane Austen or F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wrote so little because they died way too young. James Joyce only published 5 books, 3 of which came posthumously.
  • Also of note, the graphic shows C.S. Lewis not writing his breakthrough book (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) until he was 53. That’s one of the latest breakthroughs on the list.
  • What about William Golding (The Lord of the Flies) or Douglas Adams (Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) coming out of the gates swinging? They wrote a breakthrough novel on their first attempt.

What else stands out to you? Again, you can see the whole infographic at Blinkbox Books.

 

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22 Comments Post a comment
  1. This is so cool! Also really encouraging for those of us who are aspiring authors – so many great writers didn’t get their breakthroughs until later in life.

    Liked by 1 person

    January 21, 2015
  2. I’ve heard Nora Roberts doesn’t use a ghostwriter, but that was my initial reaction to seeing her published book count too! Does the woman ever sleep?!

    Liked by 1 person

    January 21, 2015
  3. Brandon #

    It’s weirdly reassuring to see so many authors entering the scene in their mid-30s.

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  4. This makes me happy – it gives me hope that I could still one day (if I ever started writing) write a break through novel 😀

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  5. Reblogged this on billieireland and commented:
    This is a great infographic for those who want to read all the way through their favorite authors’ work. I think I may use this!

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  6. Fascinating!! Thank You, Robert. I will reblog .

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  7. It’s super encouraging that even the youngest break through included is still a year older than I am. Also encouraging to see how many people did not come out of the gates swinging. Geeze Louise, Rosamunde Pilcher wrote for almost 40 years before “breaking through.”

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  8. Vanessa Yvette #

    Reblogged this on Young at Heart Book Blog and commented:
    This is REALLY interesting! Find out when some of the greatest authors of all time published their most famous works!

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  9. The Joyce graphic omits ‘Dubliners’ which was first published in 1914 (when he was 33)

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  10. Laura #

    I’m always amazed by people like Alexander McCall Smith who can be successful at multiple careers. He has written so prolifically after retiring from law. These folks must be keen observers of the world and draw upon their memories when writing. Maybe they take notes along the way?

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  11. WOW – that is so fascinating! Thanks for sharing.

    Like

    January 21, 2015
  12. I thought it was so interesting seeing just how many of them came out with their breakthroughs in their 30s/40s/50s…There were only TWO who wrote their breakout novel in their twenties, which says a lot, I think. Because let’s be honest, most twenty-somethings (and I’m a twenty-something) can’t write like Kerouac. I think it speaks a lot to the maturity and patience that writing requires. I want to show this to all of my twenty-something writer friends.

    I also noticed that a lot of my favs on the list are on the less prolific side of the scale…don’t know why that is, but I love them all the same.

    Like

    January 22, 2015
    • Just looking at it again, I think it’s also interesting how many of the predecessors of the breakthroughs have now become classics…just look at Charles Dickens. I think I heard about Oliver Twist before the Christmas Carol but it didn’t make as big of a splash at the time.

      Like

      January 22, 2015
  13. That’s actually very encouraging. I am sure they wrote a whole lot before their breakthrough. I need to keep that in mind.

    Like

    January 22, 2015
  14. Reblogged this on bedsoc.

    Like

    January 23, 2015
  15. Reblogged this on A Paradise Of Expressions...

    Like

    January 24, 2015
  16. It is interesting that for some of the authors there is a lag between when they first published a book and when their breakthrough novel came out. It’s almost like they were so excited to get their first book published and it wasn’t an immediate success they were disappointed, but tried again — and won!

    Like

    January 26, 2015
  17. Thank you so much for such motivating and enlightening information! Definitely gives you hope 🙂

    Like

    January 30, 2015
  18. Reblogged this on Jane Eyre's Legacy and commented:
    These are some super cool facts that link to a chart that is pretty inspiring for aspiring authors!

    Like

    February 10, 2015

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