It might not always feel like it, but there is money in the thriller writing business….eventually. The TV channel Alibi has put together a list of the highest-earning crime and thriller writers, on both sides of the Atlantic. Ian Fleming is top of the British list, with earnings of a £100 million-plus, followed by Agatha Christie, and then by Jeffrey Archer (although I don’t think of him as a thriller writer).
Over in the US, it is headed by John Grisham on an extraordinary $600 million, followed by Dan Brown on $400 million – although I reckon if work it out per book, Brown has done better.
Are there any lessons in this for the rest of us writers? Two, I think. The first is that it takes a long time. All the writers on both lists have been writing for a long time – even Dan Brown published his first book in 1998 and it was a while before he had any success.
The second is that you have to write a lot. All the writers on the list are prolific, knocking out book after book. There are no one-hit wonders.
Anyway, I guess the moral is to keep plugging away. Riches await….although hopefully not after I’m dead.