When Is a Writer at His Best?

“The average age of writers who topped the hardback fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List from 1955-2004 was 50.5 years,” according to a study cited by the BBC. Independent publisher Lulu.com conducted the study. “We wanted to discover the optimum age to write a best-seller,” said Bob Young of Lulu.

I guess that a fair way to look at the writing life; but I have far more faith in slow-sellers, in books with endurance which are talked about for a long time even after they go out of print. The NYTimes Bestseller List? Pish.

About the author

Jeff Grim

Jeff Grim has been a reader all of his life. He has had a particular interest in military history, any war at any time. His fascination with military history has brought him to an interest in historical fiction where the history comes alive with fictitious heroes and villains. Recently, Jeff has become interested in historical mysteries set in various time periods.

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  • Yes. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to find out the ages of 100 of the best writers—Dickens, Tolstoy, Austen, Eliot, Tolkien, Fitzgerald, etc.–when they each wrote their most enduring novel, and then average those ages or look for a median age or something? (I’m not too good at statistical analysis.) I’m sure someone, somewhere has already done it.

When Is a Writer at His Best?

“The average age of writers who topped the hardback fiction section of the New York Times Bestseller List from 1955-2004 was 50.5 years,” according to a study cited by the BBC. Independent publisher Lulu.com conducted the study. “We wanted to discover the optimum age to write a best-seller,” said Bob Young of Lulu.

I guess that a fair way to look at the writing life; but I have far more faith in slow-sellers, in books with endurance which are talked about for a long time even after they go out of print. The NYTimes Bestseller List? Pish.

About the author

Jeff Grim

Jeff Grim has been a reader all of his life. He has had a particular interest in military history, any war at any time. His fascination with military history has brought him to an interest in historical fiction where the history comes alive with fictitious heroes and villains. Recently, Jeff has become interested in historical mysteries set in various time periods.

View all posts

1 Comment

  • Yes. Wouldn’t it be more interesting to find out the ages of 100 of the best writers—Dickens, Tolstoy, Austen, Eliot, Tolkien, Fitzgerald, etc.–when they each wrote their most enduring novel, and then average those ages or look for a median age or something? (I’m not too good at statistical analysis.) I’m sure someone, somewhere has already done it.