Each year, Forbes magazine creates a list of the best paid authors of the year (the year runs June 2012-June 2013). In one short year, Erika Leonard raked in over $95 million dollars. Doesn't sound familiar? You may know her better as E.L. James, author of “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy. The top five includes James Patterson, who averages five books a year, Suzanne Collins of “Hunger Games” fame, Bill O’Reilly and Danielle Steele. Further down on the list are some well known names: Janet Evanovich is in 7th place with $24 million, Stephen King is 10th bringing in $20 million, J.K. Rowling is at 15th with $13 million, and Game of Thrones scribe George R.R. Martin ranks 16th with $12 million.
Danielle Steele came in at number 5 on this year Forbes List. This year, Steele earned $26 million thanks to mass market paperbacks. Steele has certainly carved out a niche for herself.
The Fox News host has found a niche with his "Killing" books. At one point this year, "Killing Lincoln" and "Killing Kennedy held the number 1 and 2 spots on the NY Times Bestseller list. O'Reilly came in 4th on this year's earning list.
Suzanne Collins "The Hunger Game" series continued to earn big bucks this year, thanks in large part to the success of the first movie. The second movie is due out in November and should cause another jump in earnings for this year's third place finisher. Collins earned $55 million dollars between June 2012 and June 2013.
Thanks to a team of co-writers, James Patterson is able to push out as many as five books a year. With that kind of quantity, Patterson qualified as the 2nd highest earner on the Forbes writer list this year, earning $91 million.
Making her debut appearance on the Forbes list in the number 1 slot, E.L. James earned $95 million dollars from the "Fifty Shades of Grey" trilogy. That sum includes a $5 million payment for movie rights. The movie is due out next summer.