Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2010's Highest Paid Authors

Here's a juicy little tidbit for anyone who's ever hoped to write a bestseller! Forbes has posted a list of the authors who made the most money over the past 12 months:

James Patterson ($70 million)
Stephenie Meyer ($40 million)
Stephen King ($34 million)
Danielle Steel ($32 million)
Ken Follett ($20 million)
Dean Koontz ($18 million)
Janet Evanovich ($16 million)
John Grisham ($15 million)
Nicholas Sparks ($14 million)
JK Rowling ($10 million)

Of course, this is just an isolated 12-month period, so it's not a good indicator of how much these authors might make on average over a few years. And though James Patterson is by far the highest-paid author, he freely admits that he doesn't do that much writing of his own books any more-- he basically outlines them and has other people write them, so you'd have to deduct what he pays his staff! But still, he's doing just fine.

What I'd love to see would be broader stats about how much writers make, sliced and diced by fiction/non-fiction, and showing income deciles. There are only a tiny handful of authors who make the big bucks, and many more who make pretty much nothing... but I wonder how many in between are making a pretty good living?


Anonymous said...

It seems there's an increase as the writers get progressively worse. Interesting.

Gobankingrates said...

Wow there's some surprising authors on that list. I'm not even sure what the last book Janet Evanovich wrote was. I didn't know that about James Patterson either. Kind of disappointing that he's almost too lazy to do his own writing anymore.

Anonymous said...

I think stephen king used to be one of the highest paid authors,not that he's poor all of a sudden or anything but you know what I wish he do an interview about or someone would do an article about; how he and best-selling and wealthy authors got rejection slips after rejection slips before they got published.
Stephen King got a lot. Also, talk about how small the advance (if it was small)on the first novel and how many novels there were before they became well known and rich.

Grace. said...

I suppose it's just me, but I hate this "by James Patterson" stuff when it's SO NOT him. It reminds me too much of Nancy Drew and the syndicate that wrote those books. What does it say about us as readers that all it takes is an author's name on the book--we don't even care if he wrote it. Do you suppose anyone cares if we read it?

Sorry--just my personal vent.

Lily said...

That's a happy thing seeing Stephenie Meyer on the list. She's just an ordinary mom with an idea for a book. Good for her!!