7 of History’s Most Prolific Authors

Romance author Barbara Cartland, circa 1990.
Romance author Barbara Cartland, circa 1990. / Larry Ellis Collection/Getty Images

If you need motivation to finish that novel you've been working on, look to the most prolific authors of all time. They've published thousands of titles between them, from obscure works to best-sellers. To see just how many publications it takes to rank among literature's most productive writers, check out the list below.

Compiling a comprehensive list of history's most prolific authors can be tricky. What counts as a published, book-length work is debatable, especially when you look at older writers who serialized their work. Additionally, many big-name authors use ghost writers to churn out multiple titles a year. Rankings of the authors with the most published books vary, but these names are often part of the conversation.

According to Guinness World Records, L. Ron Hubbard is the most prolific writer of all time. In addition to founding the controversial religion Scientology, the sci-fi author published 1084 works between 1934 and 2006. Of those works, more than 250 were fiction.

He may hold the official record, but Hubbard has published less than other authors depending on the criteria you use. The Spanish romance writer Corín Tellado released over 4000 works over her career, according to Barnes & Noble. This number helped make her one of history's best-selling authors as well as one of the most prolific, with any where from 600 million to a billion book sales to her name. Barbara Cartland and R. L. Stine also became best-selling authors with help from their robust outputs.

Some authors have no problem writing multiple books a year, while other authors are defined by their writer's block. After reading the roundup below, check out these book series that the original authors haven't finished.

  1. Corín Tellado: ~4000 published works
  2. L. Ron Hubbard: ~1084 published works
  3. Ryoki Inoue: ~1075 published works
  4. Enid Mary Blyton: ~800 published works
  5. Barbara Cartland: ~723 published works
  6. Isaac Asimov: ~500 published works
  7. R.L. Stine: ~450 published works