Famous, successful, critically-acclaimed authors die every day. There isn’t enough obituary space to cover all of the passings of talented writers who made their mark. But few experienced the level of greatness possessed by Jackie Collins.
The British novelist sold over a half-billion copies of her books in 40 languages since her debut almost 50 years ago with the 1968 publishing of The World Is Full of Married Men. She is one of the highest-selling authors of all time. Her books have been made into movies and she’d received a ton of media coverage over the years. But what I find most impressive about her enormous legacy is that every single one of her 32 novels made The New York Times Best-Seller List. A perfect record that spanned several generations and came amidst changing reader tastes is nothing to gloss over.
As incredible as she was, I never read a single book of hers, not even when I was involved in promoting her. A number of years ago her publisher hired the publicity firm that I work for – to conduct a radio tour and a satellite television tour. We did a great job. We probably promoted a half-dozen of her books. It was an easy sell, because fans loved her. But her books, like those of her contemporary competitor, Danielle Steel, were not my cup of tea. However, I recognize and appreciate that she entertained and impacted so many readers, and I applaud how she was able to keep her fans – and build new ones – over such a long period of time.
A fair number of her titles made it into movies and TV mini-series. Her formula was simple: sex plus glitz. The 77-year-old didn’t slow down once she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had four books come out in the past two-and-a-half years.
Lucky, Hollywood Wives, and The Stud were some of her more famous books. Her first book was banned in Australia and South Africa for its scandalous sexual content. It’s hard to imagine any book being banned for sex today, given how 50 Shades of Grey obliterated most standards of decency.
But to throw titles and sales numbers at you doesn’t really define who she was as a writer or a person. All writers aspire to be where she’s been, and she did it her whole writing career. Imagine that everything you churn out is gold, that every single book sells better than 99.9% of any book ever published, that fans heap loving praise upon you, that Hollywood's acting elite jockey to get a role in one of the movie of TV adaptations of your book, and that your schedule is filled with calls from People magazine, major talk shows, and the biggest newspapers? She was wealthy beyond belief and she’ll go down in history as one of the most accomplished writers to ever pen a book!
Even though I never read any of your books, I marvel at your accomplishments, Jackie. May you rest in peace.
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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015
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