Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: Stephen King

Bestsellers, Major Literacy Project, The World Hasn’t Completely Fallen Apart, and FREE BOOKS :-)

This is my first “Kitchen Sink” post of the New Year—I’ve secured my new apartment in my old city; I’m increasing my health tweaks; I’m a bit less “fractured”; and, I can “breathe” a bit better… 

Free Books

Image Courtesy of Judith P. Abrahamsen ~

First topic—Meet the Writers Who Still Sell Millions of Books. Actually, Hundreds of Millions.

Commented on are the authors Paulo Coelho, Stephen King, Dan Brown, John Grisham, Ken Follett, Nora Roberts, James Patterson, Stephenie Meyer, Nicholas Sparks, Danielle Steele, Debbie Macomber, R.L. Stine, J.K. Rowling, Dean Koontz, Jeffrey Archer, David Baldacci and Mary Higgins Clark.

One of the more interesting statements is:

“How do you get to be a blockbuster author? Typing is not enough, though some of these novels certainly read that way. The writing quality and storytelling vary tremendously, but there are some similarities among hit writers.

“Chiefly, they’re extraordinarily productive. They publish with Swiss-clock regularity…”

And, for the starving authors out there who still have dreams of being just like those mega-selling writers, I must point you toward what I consider the most import post on this blog—What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies?

Here’s an excerpt from that post:

“If failures becomes invisible, then naturally you will pay more attention to successes. Not only do you fail to recognize that what is missing might have held important information, you fail to recognize that there is missing information at all.

“You must remind yourself that when you start to pick apart winners and losers, successes and failures, the living and dead, that by paying attention to one side of that equation you are always neglecting the other.”

“Are you catching the drift yet?

“Perhaps, no matter what an author does (or, a publishing company), most books will still sell not so many copies?”

Again, if you’re trying to sell your soul to become a bestselling author, read the Facts in that post

Now, onto the Top Books That Made People Readers In 2016.

That article is about the Major Literacy Organization, WorldReader; and, it lists the best-loved books of folks who (before WorldReader got to them) had very few books, if any at all

Perusing these lists would be enlightening for any reader:


Top Books among parents and caregivers in India (Read to Kids Program)

Title Author Publisher Category
1 The Talkative Tortoise / बातूनी कछुआ Jeeva Raghunath Tulika Publishers Storybooks
2 नन्ही उँगलियाँ/Little Fingers शीला धीर/Sheila Dhir Tulika Publishers Storybooks
3 The Musical Donkey / सुरीला गधा Namrata Rai Tulika Publishers Storybooks
4 रंगबिरंग/Rang Birang Madhav Chavan Pratham Books Storybooks
5 सोना बड़ी सयानी/Sona badi Sayani Vinita Krishna Pratham Books Storybooks
6 Hawa ped / हवा-पेड़ ज्योत्सना िमलन/Jyotsna Imln Katha Children’s poetry
7 बूडाबिम/Boodabim (it’s a name) अलंकृता जैन/Alnkrita Jair Tulika Publishers Storybooks
8 भीमा गधा/Bhima’s Donkey Kiran Kasturia Pratham Books Storybooks
9 My Best Friend / मेरी सहेली Anupa Lal Pratham Books Storybooks
10 Red Umbrella / लाल छतरी Nandini Nayar Tulika Publishers Children’s poetry


Top books in school and library projects in sub-Saharan Africa

Title Author Publisher Category
1 Magozwe Lesley Koyi African Storybook Project Beginning readers
2 A Tiny Seed: The Story of Wangari Maathai Nicola Rijsdijk African Storybook Project Beginning readers
3 The Girl With the Magic Hands Nnedi Okorafor Worldreader Young Adult Fantasy
4 Ready? Set. Raymond! (Step into Reading) Vaunda Nelson Random House Children’s Books (Penguin Random House) Beginning readers
5 Disability is Not Inability Wairimu Mwangi The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation Beginning readers
6 Old Mother West Wind Thornton Burgess Public Domain Children’s classics
7 I Am An African Wayne Visser Self Published Poetry
8 Boastful Sui and Grandmother Goes to the Pictures Marg Reynolds Self Beginning readers
9 The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Public Domain Children’s classics
10 The Adventures of Robin Hood Howard Pyle Public Domain Classics


Top Books among teens and adults reading on the Worldreader app

Title Author Publisher Category
1 Broken Promises Ros Haden Cover2Cover YA romance
2 The Holy Bible: King James Version Various Public Domain religion
3 First Love: Thinking of Him A.V. Frost Beaten Track Publishing romance
4 Sugar Daddy Ros Haden Cover2Cover YA romance
5 There’s Something about Him Lauri Kubuitsile Worldreader romance
6 Forever My Love Heather Graham Open Road Integrated Media romance
7 The Girl with the Magic Hands Nnedi Okorafor Worldreader fantasy
8 A Quest for Heroes (Arabic) Morgan Rice Lukeman Literary fantasy
9 Damaged Souls Stine Arnulf Self published Romance/Fanfiction
10 Le Roman de la momie Théophile Gautier ILIVRI romance

So, if you’re still with me but having a rough time feeling positive about this new year, this article should help:

It may have seemed like the world fell apart in 2016. Steven Pinker is here to tell you it didn’t.

And, for the imperturbable, constant readers: Free Books in your Inbox…


If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com


Bestsellers of 1986

A book’s being a “bestseller” doesn’t automatically make it a “good” book… 


Image Courtesy of Judith P. Abrahamsen ~

Here’s a past post with a group of “all-time” bestseller lists.

Then, the past post that explores what a “bestseller” might actually be

And, I need to mention that the list of bestsellers from 30 years ago which I’ll share is made up of books that sold lots of copies in the USA.

I live in that country and know it’s had lots of influence on other countries; but…


Perhaps, even if you live in another country, it might be interesting (maybe only “defensively”) to know what “Americans” were reading in 1986 (courtesy of Aerogramme Writers’ Studio):

10. A Perfect Spy by John le Carré

9. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

8. Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour

7. I’ll Take Manhattan by Judith Krantz

6. Wanderlust by Danielle Steel

5. Hollywood Husbands by Jackie Collins

4. The Bourne Supremacy by Robert Ludlum

3. Whirlwind by James Clavell

2. Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy

1. IT by Stephen King

For the brief blurbs of these books, check out the article at Aerogramme Writers’ Studio

And, I can’t let this post end without quoting Ursula K. Le Guin about “bestsellers”:

“Best Seller lists have been around for quite a while. Best Seller lists are generated by obscure processes, which I consider (perhaps wrongly) to consist largely of smoke, mirrors, hokum, and the profit motive. How truly the lists of Best Sellers reflect popularity is questionable.”

~~~ From Up the Amazon with the BS Machine
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” ~ Stephen King

Have you seen the movie The Martian, starring Matt Damon? (In case you haven’t, there’s a trailer at the end of the post…)


Proposed Mars Habitats ~ Click for More Info…

The original story (by Andy Weir) was self-published on Amazon.

I wonder how many writers (and, film-makers) have created fiction about going to Mars?

And, according to Stephen King, there must be some truth inside those “lies”

What if the truth is in the process of happening?

Ever heard of MarsOne?

Here’s a bit of explanation from their site:

“Mars One is a not for profit foundation with the goal of establishing a permanent human settlement on Mars. To prepare for this settlement the first unmanned mission is scheduled to depart in 2020. Crews will depart for their one-way journey to Mars starting in 2026; subsequent crews will depart every 26 months after the initial crew has left for Mars. Mars One is a global initiative aiming to make this everyone’s mission to Mars, including yours. Join Mars One’s efforts to enable the next giant leap for mankind.”

Did you notice that “one-way journey”?

The process is already at the stage where they have 100 people selected (from many more applicants) who are willing to go (and, never return)—those 100 to be finally pared down to 24 “Martians”.

Are you one of those people who think this attempt at settling Mars will never leave the ground—remain a story—a “fiction”…?

You might want to go check out the site—see how many aerospace companies are already helping them plan the endeavor

Perhaps you’d rather just watch the video at the end of the post

You might also want to ponder about how much fiction has become fact?


The first video is Hollywood’s version of a man on Mars—a man who desperately wants to get home

And, the second video is about MarsOne, which might just become true—humans going to Mars—and Staying There

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
* Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com


It’s International Children’s Book Day !

And, here are just a few of the quotes from the International Business Times article, International Children’s Book Day Quotes: 20 Sayings About Reading To Share With Lit Lovers:

“When I got [my] library card, that was when my life began.” ― Rita Mae Brown

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” — Garrison Keillor

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.” ― Stephen King

“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.” — Jorge Luis Borges

And, here’s a video with a nice man reading a story to You :-)

If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com



There are 66 posts about writing advice on this blog and they include this one since I tag my posts with keywords; so, if you take that last link, you might see this post again at the top of the list, unless I’ve written another post about writing advice before you take that link—ah, the ins and outs of the Internet :-)

Today’s post features another blog’s articles about writing advice

The blog is Brain Pickings and the blogger is Maria Popova and I wrote about her in my post, A Blog for All Seasons.

However, she has a particular post, Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers, that may have a somewhat flamboyant title but does pack a severe punch

It’s essentially a link-post—as she says:

“By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of the craft as Kurt Vonnegut, Susan Sontag, Henry Miller, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Susan Orlean, Ernest Hemingway, Zadie Smith, and more.”

Maria has 109 links to various authors’ advice; and, here’s just a bit of advice from this author (especially, if you’re relatively new to the craft of writing)—it’s much better to read the books of other authors that have no writing advice than it is to read writing advice and not apply you’re own judgement to it.

Naturally, that would mean I’m actually sharing two pieces of advice:

  • Read a lot.
  • Write a lot

If you don’t do the second one, you can’t generate your own judgement to apply to the advice of other writers.

I know, that may sound quite convoluted; but, we’re talking about writing, not about baking bread—though, there may be a few tricks that can be transferred from baking to writing
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com