The Top-Earning Authors of 2013

Forbes’ just released this list of the world’s highest-paid authors. The top 10 are as follows. Click HERE to see more.

 1. E.L. James: $95 million

E L James - Book Signing

In addition to record sales from her sultry Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy (bolstered by strong e-book sales), James earned an extra $5 million for the movie rights to the book, Forbes says. The film is slated to release in 2014.

2. James Patterson: $91 million

The world's best-selling author James Patterson

The prolific thriller author can boast that one out of every 17 hardcover books sold in the U.S. bears his name. Part of his secret to success? Releasing around 10 new books a year—often with the help of cowriters. When collaborating on a book, Patterson creates an outline, a cowriter does the first draft, and he finishes up with whatever other drafts are necessary. “Some people can’t get past the word cowriter,’’  Patterson told Parade last year. “Lots of shows and movies are written by teams, so it’s not such a strange thing.” But the Maximum Ride and Alex Cross author is no laggard: “I write seven days a week,” he said.

3. Suzanne Collins: $55 million

"The Hunger Games" Premiere - Los Angeles

Her Hunger Games series was already popular before the film starring Jennifer Lawrence became a sensation. But now, the former children’s television writer has reached the “Olympian heights of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer,” Forbes writes.

4. Bill O’Reilly: $28 million

Political Commentator BILL O'REILLY

Who knew the Fox News pundit had become such a successful writer? His nonfiction books Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy soared to the top of best seller lists, and Forbes predicts his next, Killing Jesus, could be even bigger.

5. Danielle Steel: $26 million

Danielle Steel

The romance novelist publishes an average of more than three books per year, totaling more than 600 million copies.

6. Jeff Kinney: $24 million

Wimpy Kid Author

Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is one of the most popular kids’ titles in recent memory. Plus, there have been three movie versions adapted from the books.

7. Janet Evanovich: $24 million

Janet Evanovich

The writer made her millions thanks to the New York Times bestselling Stephanie Plum detective series, as well as twelve romance novels and the Alexandra Barnaby books and graphic novels.

8. Nora Roberts: $23 million

Kentucky Derby Horse Racing

The longtime romance novelist has become “the queen of the e-book,” Forbes writes, with the 3.2 million digital copies sold in 2012 (she’s second only to E.L. James).

9. Dan Brown: $22 million

Dan Brown 'Inferno' Book Launch Event


Though Inferno, Brown’s latest Robert Langdon novel, didn’t reach the kind of success The Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol achieved, it was still the best-selling book of the first half of 2013.

10. Stephen King: $20 million

Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Creators: Stephen King, John Mellencamp And T Bone Burnett

The master storyteller has written best sellers and literary fiction that have made the leap to film, TV, and the stage. Still, he says it’s not the monetary rewards that keep him writing. “The major job is still to entertain people,” he told Parade in May. “That’s what we’re supposed to do—writers, filmmakers, all of us.”

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One thought on “The Top-Earning Authors of 2013

  1. Interesting list. Thanks for sharing it. I find it fun and inspiring to read lists of authors and the staggering amounts of money possible with this art.

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