According for FORBES, these are the top earning authors of 2013
E.L. James: $95 million
Originally a “Twilight” tribute titled “Master of the Universe,” “Fifty Shades of Grey” vaulted its author from fan-fiction websites straight to the top of every best-seller list. The e-book format was a key factor, giving readers an easy way to purchase the sex-filled sequels — and a discrete way to read them in public.
James Patterson: $91 million
Only a phenomenon the size of “Fifty Shades of Grey” could knock Patterson from his longtime perch atop the top-earning authors list, and chances are he’ll be back at No. 1 next year. One out of every 17 hardcovers sold in the U.S. is his, and with his “Maximum Ride” and “Witch & Wizard” series he’s increasingly as much a force in the young adult market as adult thrillers, his mainstay.
Suzanne Collins: $55 million
The blockbuster release of the first “Hunger Games” film, starring Jennifer Lawrence, helped launch Collins from the ranks of up-and-comers to the Olympian heights of J.K. Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. A former children’s television writer, she’s also the author of the five-book series “The Underland Chronicles.”
Bill O’Reilly: $28 million
He’ll always be known primarily as a television talking head, but with the publication of “Killing Lincoln,” book writing became more than just a sideline for the Fox News host. After the publication of follow-up “Killing Kennedy,” he held the No. 1 and No. 2 slots on the New York Times hardcover non-fiction best-sellers list, and his next volume, “Killing Jesus,” could be the biggest of the series
Danielle Steel: $26 million
In 40 years as a published author, Steel has published 128 titles, averaging more than three a year. Most have been romances, but she’s also written children’s books, nonfiction and even a volume of poetry. She’s sold more than 600 million copies.
Jeff Kinney: $24 million
Written for children and younger adolescents, Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series has spawned seven installments (with No. 8 due in November 2013) and three theatrical films. “The Third Wheel” sold more than 1.4 million copies last year.
Janet Evanovich: $24 million
“I motivate myself to write by spending my money before I make it,” Evanovich has written. “My favorite exercise is shopping.” Thanks to the success of her Stephanie Plum detective novels, she must be getting an awful lot of exercise these days
Nora Roberts: $23 million
She made her name writing the kind of bodice-rippers you see at the supermarket checkout or the airport bookstore, but lately Roberts has become the queen of the e-book: She sold more than 3.2 million digital copies in 2012, more than any other author not named E.L. James.
Dan Brown: $22 million
“Inferno,” Brown’s third novel about the adventures of occult mystery-solver Robert Langdon, was the best-selling book of 2013’s first half, moving 369,000 copies. Still, it didn’t come close to the sales of its predecessors, “The Da Vinci Code” and “The Lost Symbol.
Stephen King: $20 million
Less prolific than some of the other authors on this list, King has his up and down years, but he’s enjoying yet another moment of cultural ubiquity, with CBS’s “Under the Dome” one of the biggest new hits on network television and a long-awaited follow-up to “The Shining” coming to bookstores. King also has two sons who are successful novelists.
Dean Koontz: $20 million
Koontz remains the master of the creep-out. He’s sold more than 450 million copies to date
John Grisham: $18 million
“The Racketeer,” Grisham’s 18th novel and one of his many popular legal thrillers, was the second-best-selling hardcover novel of 2012. His next, “Sycamore Row,” is set to be published in October 2013.
David Baldacci: $15 million
Like his fellow Southerner John Grisham, Baldacci was a lawyer before he turned his hand to writing novels full time. He’s now published 26 of them, all of them best sellers.
Rick Riordan: $14 million
Riordan sold more than 5.6 million copies of his mythology-inspired young adult adventures in 2012. Two of the three best-selling children’s titles were his.
J.K. Rowling: $13 million
After navigating the tricky transition from children’s books to adult fiction, Rowling has rediscovered her mojo, with “The Cuckoo’s Calling” (published secretly under the pen name Robert Galbraith) topping the hardcover best-sellers list while “The Casual Vacancy” is No. 1 among paperbacks.
George R.R. Martin: $12 million
The HBO adaptation of “Game of Thrones” made Martin the best-selling paperback writer of 2012 (after E.L. James, of course). If he wants to climb on this list, he might have to pick up his pace a bit: It took him six years to complete his last installment in the fantasy series.
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