Stephenie Meyer says that the idea for Twilight came to her in a dream on June 2, 2003. The dream was about a human girl, and a vampire who was in love with her but thirsted for her blood. Based on this dream, Meyer wrote the transcript of what is now chapter 13 of the book. Despite having very little writing experience, in a matter of three months she had transformed that dream into a completed novel. After writing and editing the novel, she signed a three-book deal with Little, Brown and Company for $750,000, an unusually high amount for a first time author; Megan Tingley, the editor who signed Meyer, says that halfway through the reading manuscript she realized that she had a future bestseller in her hands. The book was released in 2005.
Following the success of Twilight, Meyer expanded the story into a series with three more books: New Moon (2006), Eclipse (2007), and Breaking Dawn (2008). In its first week after publication, the first sequel, New Moon, debuted at #5 on the New York Times Best Seller List for Children's Chapter Books, and in its second week rose to the #1 position, where it remained for the next eleven weeks. In total, it spent over 50 weeks on the list. After the release of Eclipse, the first three "Twilight" books spent a combined 143 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller List. The fourth installment of the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn, was released with an initial print run of 3.7 million copies. Over 1.3 million copies were sold on the first day alone, setting a record in first-day sales performance for the Hachette Book Group USA. Upon the completion of the fourth entry in the series, Meyer indicated that Breaking Dawn would be the final novel to be told from Bella Swan's perspective. In 2008, the four books of the series claimed the top four spots on USA Today's year-end bestseller list, making Meyer the first author to ever achieve this feat. The series then won the 2009 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Book, where it competed against the Harry Potter series.