The highest-paid authors in the world

Forbes has ranked the highest-paid authors in the world, showing how much the writers of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones and Fifty Shades of Grey earned in the past year.

According to the publication, the top authors earned a combined $269 million in the past year, though the earnings were driven by a number of TV and movie adaptations.

For the third year in a row, James Patterson topped the list earning $95 million before tax. Patterson’s thriller, Zoo was adapted for the small screen in 2016, and scored a second season.

Meanwhile, Game of Thrones author, George R.R. Martin also benefited greatly from the HBO adaptation which has been a massive hit, ranking among the world’s top authors, with $9.5 million in earnings.

With a newly published book (or rather, script of a play) out, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling is set to make millions more in the coming months – but that hasn’t stopped the author from banking it big, earning the third highest amount at $19 million.

The Forbes earnings ranking is compiled by looking at print, e-book and audio book sales, and taking into account earnings from TV and movies.

Book sale trends closely track hype before and after a big release of a movie adaptation, Forbes noted – with the likes of “The Hunger Games” and “The Martian” showing a sharp decline in sales after the buzz around the movies died down.

Here are the highest-paid authors in the world:

# Author Known for Earnings
1 James Patterson The Alex Cross series $95 million
2 Jeff Kinney The Diary of a Wimpy Kid $19.5 million
3 J.K. Rowling Harry Potter $19 million
4 John Grisham The Firm $18 million
5 Stephen King Carrie, The Shining $15 million
5 Danielle Steel Big Girl, Family Ties $15 million
5 Nora Roberts Blue dahlia, The Liar $15 million
6 E.L. James Fifty Shades of Gray $14 million
7 Veronica Roth Divergent trilogy $10 million
7 John Green The fault in our stars $10 million
7 Paula Hawkins The Girl on the Train $10 million
12 George R.R. Martin A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) $9.5 million
12 Rick Riordan Percy Jackson & the Olympians series $9.5 million
12 Dan Brown The Da Vinci Code $9.5 million

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The highest-paid authors in the world