In this blog post, editor Cressida Downing explored authors' earnings and explained why you really shouldn't give up the day job. She also asked some interesting questions about the number of copies bestselling authors actually sell - and the answers may not be quite what you expect.

Have you guessed? If so, read on to find out how close you were. 


  1. 620,000 copies of Dan Brown
  2. a).  5,326 copies.  
  3. 1.2 million in total – equally split between paperback and e-books.
  4. 39,527 but only 2,245 in her native New Zealand. A country that likes books but lacks population.
  5. Nearly 26,000 copies.
  6. Morrissey sold about five times as many – 127,922 – but the critical reception was lukewarm.
  7. 67,467 copies – it won Waterstone’s Book of the Year.  It sold just over 2,000 copies on its debut.
  8. Just over 50,000 copies. Of the other books in the top ten for Children’s and YA fiction – David Walliams’ five titles sold a total of 62,556.  
  9. One. Isabel Greenberg did better with 1,497 – Rob Ryan sold 1,219.
  10. 4,545. THE DIVINE COMEDY is also available online as part of the Gutenburg Project – and, at the time of writing, had been downloaded over 12,000 times in the last thirty days.  For free. 

How did you do? Were the answers what you expected them to be?


To read the original blog post, please take a look here.