The Scandinavian Noir genre is alive and well, with top authors Jo Nesbø, Tom Egeland and Hanne Kristin Rohde topping the Norwegian bestseller lists so far this year and earning millions on their latest crime novels. Nesbø’s writing company Skriveverkstedet AS also had an income of NOK 25.2 million (USD 4 million) last year, largely driven by the success of his 2013 hit Police (Politi).
Norway’s top three bestsellers of 2014 have been Nesbø’s The Son (Sønnen) with 190,000 copies sold, Egeland’s The 13th Disciple (Den 13. disippel) at 50,000 copies and Rohde’s debut novel, Dark Hearts (Mørke hjerter) selling 19,200 copies, reported newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Thursday. The income to the publishers was NOK 20 million, NOK 5.3 million and NOK 2.6 million respectively.
“Ha ha! So unbelievably funny!” said Rohde, when DN told her she was the year’s third-best seller. The former police inspector has almost finished the sequel to Dark Hearts, and has started on her third book featuring heroine Wilma Lind. Rohde hoped her protagonist would be “the new James Bond” within a decade.
Egeland has written several bestsellers previously, but was thrilled his latest, less conventional crime novel had been a hit with fans. “Theology and religious history are really not that sexy in themselves,” he said. “Therefore I think it is great that this book has really caught on. I am very humbled and happy that people are buying so many of my books.”
“There are about a thousand active authors in Norway,” said Egeland, who is also on the board of the Norwegian Authors’ Association (Den norske Forfatterforeningen). “Most earn less than NOK 200,000 on a book, on which they’ve easily spent three years or more to write.”
In 2013, Skiverstedet’s income increased by NOK 11 million on 2012, leaving Nesbø with NOK 18 million after tax. It was the company’s most successful year since it was founded in 1996, leaving it with a balance of NOK 89 million.