Forbes Releases 2016 List of Highest Earning Authors

Posted on August 3, 2016

Forbes has posted its list of the highest paid authors in 2016. Earnings were calculated from June, 2015, to June, 2016. James Patterson tops the list with pretax earnings of $95 million. This is the third year he's landed a the top of the list and this year, no one even comes close to Patterson. In second place is Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, who pulled in $19.5 million.

In third place is J.K. Rowling who earned $19 million. Harry Potter is a cash cow, who throws off royalties regularly from book sales, movie deals and Universal's Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child just opened in London to rave reviews and this fall the feature film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will open in theaters worldwide.

In fourth place is John Grisham who made $18 million. The next three authors -- Stephen King, Danielle Steel and Nora Roberts tied with earnings of $15 million. E.L. James, author of the Fifty Shades of Grey series, made $14 million from book sales and the feature film versions which are ongoing.

Veronica Roth, John Green and Paula Hawkins each clocked in at $10 million for the year. George R.R. Martin, author of A Song of Fire and Ice on which HBO's Game of Thrones is based, made $9.5 million. He tied with Dan Brown and Rick Riordan, who each also made $9.5 million.

One newcomer to the list this year is Paula Hawkins, who wrote The Girl on the Train, which has sold 11 million copies around the world so far. The book has been made into a feature film which will hit theaters in October.

The list saw a few author drop off as their properties cooled a bit after a major frenzy in sales. Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl, Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games and Janet Evanovich, author of the Stephanie Plum novels.
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