Very few people become an author to make money, and those who do often rake in a modest sum that allows them to work on their next project. The Forbes list of top-earning authors of 2013 is not filled with those people.
It is no shocker that the top earner for this year is “Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James, who took home an estimated $95 million last year on the back of her highly controversial novel and its sequels. That’s not too shabby for a book that started out as “Twilight” fan-fiction and contains some of the most inadvertently hilarious sex scenes in the history of literature.
In claiming the top spot James was able to dethrone James Patterson. Patterson, who is known for his thrillers, is known for his high output and equally high sales numbers. It is estimated that 1 in every 17 books sold in the United States was written by him.
“Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins rounds out the top three at $55 million, followed by a surprising appearance by political pundit Bill O’Reilly at $28 million.
“Harry Potter” creator J.K. Rowling slid into the 15th spot with $13 million thanks to her forays into the adult lit world, “The Casual Vacancy” and “The Cuckoo’s Calling”. One spot behind her on the list is the brain behind “Game of Thrones,” George R.R. Martin at $12 million.
While the authors on the list may not be producing works that will go down as great works of literature, at least people are still reading enough to help them sell books.