There are are innumerable ways to judge an author’s success—the first way tends to be counting book sales. Instagram follows don’t measure the technical quality of writing, rather they measure less tangible, but still extremely important things: connection and community. These ten authors are the most successful (verified) YA authors of Instagram, and they’re successful because of you. Chances are, you’re better off because of them.
1. John Green (2.2 million)
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Everybody knows John Green, YouTube sensation and author of six bestsellers: Looking for Alaska; An Abundance of Katherines; Paper Towns; Will Grayson, Will Grayson; The Fault in Our Stars; and Turtles all the Way Down. His novels have spawned two film adaptations with serious all-star casts (box-office hit The Fault in Our Stars and the more recent Paper Towns). Also popular for his YouTube videos on the Vlogbrothers channel, Green frequently uses his status to raise money for charity and teach online history courses. Famously, critics believe Green has redefined YA literature, naming him one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. It’s no surprise that the so-called ‘Teen Whisperer‘ is the most popular YA author on Instagram.
2. Rick Riordan (543k)
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Most famous for his Percy Jackson series (starting with The Lightning Thief), Rick Riordan is the bestselling author of over twenty books. Riordan conceptualized the series as he told bedtime stories to his son, and it was his son who inspired its eponymous protagonist’s ADHD and Dyslexia—traits that help to make Percy Jackson a relatable character for readers with learning disabilities. The series currently has two film adaptations. Translations of his work exist in forty-two languages, and they’ve sold well over 30 million copies in the U.S. alone. His Trials of Apollo series (start with The Hidden Oracle) is still ongoing.
3. Cassandra Clare (491k)
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Cassandra Clare is the creator of the sprawling Shadowhunters universe where angelic warriors hunt demons to protect our world. On page, this entails a lot of leather-wearing misfits who uncover shocking secret after shocking secret as they do cool, edgy teenager things (like riding on the back of flying motorcycles or constantly making out). The universe contains three series: The Mortal Instruments (start with City of Bones); The Infernal Devices (start with Clockwork Angel), and The Dark Artifices (start with Lady Midnight). The universe will expand to include at least one other trilogy, and it already includes several spin-off novels featuring favorite characters. The Shadowhunters universe has been adapted multiple times, first as a film and second as wildly popular TV series. Perhaps most impressively, Clare has been a champion of LGBT+ representation in YA genre fiction, even in the genre’s earlier days. Since the universe’s creation in 2007, every single Shadowhunters book has featured queer protagonists across a wide spectrum of identities.
4. Hank Green (403k)
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Hank Green may be the only author on this list most famous for something besides his writing. In addition to his recent bestselling debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, Green has had a devoted Internet following since 2007 as one half of the Vlogbrothers, his shared YouTube channel with brother John Green. Hank and John are the co-founders of VidCon, the world’s largest conference for online videos. Hank has also acted as a contributing producer for a number of popular podcasts and web shows like Sexplanations and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.
5. Sarah J. Maas (300k)
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Author of the Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas experienced a career takeoff in 2008 when earlier drafts of the series became some of the most popular works on FictionPress.com. A Cinderella story with a dark twist, Maas’ series has been an international bestseller with publication in fifteen countries. Amazingly, these weren’t even the original drafts—Maas began writing the series’ first book, Throne of Glass, at the tender age of sixteen. Maas has also written a prequel series (start with The Assassin and the Pirate Lord) and the A Court of Thorn and Roses series (start with, you guessed it, A Court of Thorn and Roses). Her first adult fantasy series is forthcoming.
6. Jenny Han (225k)
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Earlier this summer, Netflix released the film adaptation of Jenny Han‘s novel To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before with a massively positive audience response, leading to a huge spike in Instagram follows. Its sequel, P.S. I Still Love You, won the Young Adult Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Han is also the author of a YA romance trilogy, starting with the novel The Summer I Turned Pretty. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, Han wrote her first book, middle school coming-of-age Shug, while she was still a college student.
7. James Dashner (211k)
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James Dashner is the hugely prolific author of nearly twenty novels, including the dystopian hit The Maze Runner, which earned a film adaptation. Dashner was dropped by Penguin Random House in 2018 following sexual harassment allegations.
8. Veronica Roth (206k)
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The definition of a prodigy and star, Veronica Roth sold film rights to her first novel, Divergent, months before the book saw print—and she sold the publishing rights before graduating college. Roth wrote the first draft of the novel during senior year winter break, and it sold well over a million copies within the next two years. Roth is also famous for her novels Insurgent and Allegiant, the second and third books of her dystopian series in which society operates with personality-based factions that define each person’s profession and goals. (And believe it or not, removing all kind and generous people from the government so that they can work on farms is not a great leadership strategy.)
9. Colleen Hoover (202k)
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Breakout romance novelist Colleen Hoover had no intentions of ever mainstream-publishing her first novel, Slammed. Astoundingly, it made the New York Times bestseller list as a self-published work. Hoover published Hopeless just a year later—and it became the first self-published novel to ever break #1 on the chart. A five-time winner of the Goodreads Choice Awards, Hoover has written eleven bestsellers in only seven years. While several of Hoover’s works have been published with Atria Books, Hoover has shattered the limits of what self-publishing can accomplish.
10. Rainbow Rowell (136k)
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Rainbow Rowell is the author of three wildly popular YA novels: Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Carry On. Famously, Fangirl began as a NaNoWriMo project—yes, that means the first draft was written in thirty days! Rowell famously faced controversy for the exploration of domestic violence in Eleanor & Park, with one Minnesota school district canceling her appearance and banning her book during Banned Books Week. Sounds like somebody missed the point! Despite this, the novel went on to earn a Michael L. Printz Award Honor, one of the highest recognitions in YA literature (other honored books include Angie Thomas‘ acclaimed The Hate U Give).
Featured Images Via Johngreenbooks.com and Worthpoint.com