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8 Authors Who Earned a Guinness World Record

While researching last week’s 14 Shocking Facts About Agatha Christie, I was shocked to learn that the esteemed writer once held a Guinness World Record.


When I think of Guinness World Records, my mind automatically goes to the bizarre titles such as the the world’s longest fingernails, the most hotdogs eaten at a county fair, and so on. Thinking of Christie fitting into one these categories was surprising, but it got me thinking of which other authors held Guinness World Records. I was not disappointed. Here are eight authors whose success helped them earn a Guinness World Record.


1. The world’s thickest book.


The Queen of Mystery, Agatha Christie, is certainly one of the most fascinating authors in history. On top of holding the record as the first British woman to surf while standing up, the prolific writer also holds the title for penning the world’s thickest book. In 2009 HarperCollins published a collection of Christie’s Miss Marple stories—comprised of twelve novels and twenty short stories.  The collection featured a staggering sixty-eight crimes committed, sixty-eight secrets, twenty-two false accusations, twenty-one romances, and 143 cups of tea consumed. One lifetime’s worth of entertainment added up to a whopping 4,032 pages, weighing more than fifteen pounds, and priced at $1,500 dollars. 


2. Oldest author to have first book published.


British author Bertha Wood managed to fulfill her dream of writing a book in the later half of her life. Published on her 100th birthday in 2005, Wood published her first book (a memoir of her life), Fresh Air and Fun: The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp. Wood’s impressive feat acts as inspiration for people who haven’t quite gotten around to fulfilling their dreams. As she proves, you have plenty of time.


3. Youngest published author.


American author Dorothy Straight became a published author at the ripe age of four. Let that sink in. While most four year olds were daydreaming, watching TV, or playing outside, Straight wrote How the World Began, which was published two years later by Pantheon Books. 


4. Most books published by one author.


If your first guess was Agatha Christie, Stephen King, or one of the other popular authors whose names are well-known around literary circles, you’d be wrong. American author and founder of the Church of Scientology, L. Ron Hubbard published 1,084 books between 1934 and 2006. In addition to writing books on scientology, Hubbard covered a range of genres including sci-fi, fantasy, travel, mystery, western, and romance.


5. Fastest selling book of fiction in 24 hours.


J. K. Rowling’s hugely popular Harry Potter series took the world by wand, forging one of the most fervent fandoms in history. The series became more popular as it went on, so perhaps it’s no surprise that the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, managed to become the fastest-selling fiction title when it sold 8.3 million copies in the first 24-hours of its release.


6. First billion-dollar author.


Considering the enormous popularity of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (and the preceding books in the Harry Potter series), it probably won’t come as a surprise to find out that J. K. Rowling earned this title. Rowling has reportedly earned over $1 billion dollars for her novels and related earnings.


7. Highest earning adult fiction author (current year).


Miraculously, E. L. James shielded herself from the innumerable criticisms leveled at the Fifty Shades books with her massive paycheck. Between June 2012 and June 2013, James earned $95 million, surpassing James Patterson who earned $91 million for his work during those twelve months. 


8. Largest book signing.


Indian author Vickrant Mahajan earned this record when, at a book signing for his book, Yes Thank You Universe, the author signed a record-breaking 6,904 books. Can you imagine how bad his hand must have cramped? Ouch.


Which award-winning title surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below!


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