The World's Top-Earning Authors 2015

As usual, James Patterson leads the highest-paid authors ranking with an estimated $89 million in 12 months thanks to his huge output. Patterson churns out some 16 books a year with the help of co-authors. Though best-known for adult crime thrillers Patterson also boasts more New York Times best sellers for children than any other living author.

John Green earned $26 million and Veronica Roth $25 million; they rank second and third respectively.

Danielle Steel came in fourth, with Jeff Kinney, who banked an estimated $23 million thanks his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series at fifth. Books for Young Adults seem to be the most popular thing.

Here are some other notable names with their earnings, all in dollars since the source for this is the New York Times:

Janet Evanovich $21 million

Stephen King $19 million

J.K. Rowling has recently donned an invisibility cloak of her own, writing crime fiction under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith $19 million

Dan Brown raked in $13 million.

Suzanne Collins Hunger Games’ and “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn made $13 million each

Nora Roberts banked $18 million thanks mostly to a backlist of more than 220 titles.

E.L. James $12 million haul from the sales of her kinky “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy

James is tied with Game of Thrones’ George R.R. Martin

To form the list of highest-earning authors, we look at print, ebook and audiobook sales from Nielsen BookScan figures, consider TV and movie earnings and talk to authors, agents, publishers and other experts. Earnings are tabulated from June 2014 to June 2015 and are pretax; other fees are not deducted.

One author who does not make the cut: Harper Lee. Our scoring period closed before “Go Set A Watchman” was published, while the reported $2.5 million a year she receives from “To Kill A Mockingbird” royalties are not enough to make this ranking’s $10 million entry.


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