They write for a living, and publishers write checks to them so that they will continue with their passion. They entertain, titillate and sometimes make us think with their novels. Here now are the 10 richest authors in the world.
10 Dean Koontz - $19 million
Dean Koontz is a writer of suspense thrillers, though he freely blends in a little of science fiction, horror, mystery and even satire into his novels. He is a regular in the New York Times bestsellers list, with 14 of his hard covers and an equal number of his paperbacks reaching the top position. A graduate of Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, Koontz’s writing was influenced by the abuse he suffered from his alcoholic father and the courage shown by his mother. He is popularly known for two current hits, namely the Frankenstein and Odd Thomas franchises.
9 Suzanne Collins - $20 million
Suzanne Collins is a writer and author known for The Underland Chronicles and The Hunger Games trilogy. A graduate of Indiana University, she began her writing career in children’s television shows. After reading Alice in Wonderland and working on Generation O!, she wrote the five books of The Underland Chronicles. A year after that, she released The Hunger Games, a book that achieved instant success. It also spawned a hit movie that starred Jennifer Lawrence. Two more movies are being made to complete the series.
8 Danielle Steel - $23 million
Danielle Steel is considered the fourth best selling author of all time and the best selling author alive. She has sold more than 800 million copies of her books. She has also spent more time on the New York Times bestseller list than any other author. She does not do sequels because she hates comparisons to the original work. Television has adapted 22 of her novels. Observers note, however, that Steele’s popularity may be on the way down however after she took a $12 million hit from her previous year’s earnings.
7 Nora Roberts - $23 million
Nora Roberts has written 209 books, spending 861 weeks on the bestsellers list of the New York Times. Of these, 176 were spent at the top position. She also writes under the names of J.D. Robb, Jill March and Sarah Hardesty. Roberts is the first author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. In 1999 and 2000, she wrote four of the five best selling romance novels listed by USA Today. In 2007, Time Magazine named her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
6 Bill O’ Reilly - $24 million
Bill O’ Reilly is a rightist political commentator known for his conservative views. His program, The O’Reilly Factor, is considered as the most watched cable news program on American television. He has had his fair share of controversies, including feuds with Ludacris, Akon, a couple of hosts from The View, and Keith Olbermann. He, however, is also a best selling author known for his books on the assassinations of former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.
5 Jeff Kinney - $25 million
Jeff Kinney is an author best known for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. It actually started out as an online book in 2004 in which Kinney made daily entries until June 2005. By 2007, the online book had reached 20 million views. A printed version was then released, with a total of nine books now in the market. The big screen has since adapted the book. Kinney has also designed online games based on the book. In 2009, Time Magazine included him as one of the most influential people in the world.
4 John Grisham - $26 million
John Grisham hit it big back in the early 90's when he released the legal thriller called The Firm. His first work, A Time to Kill, was actually published two years prior to that. Since then, he has written countless other legal novels, with several of them being turned into hit movies. The Firm has also been turned into a television series. Grisham, meanwhile, has started writing books that are not connected to lawyers. He has written a baseball novel called Calico Joe, and it has helped sustain his run of money-earning books.
3 Janet Evanovich - $33 million
Janet Evanovich is the author behind Stephanie Plum, the lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter from New Jersey. The series has so far produced 19 novels, most of which landing in the bestseller list of the New York Times. Evanovich’s style took inspiration from the sitcom called Seinfeld in which there is a central character that the rest of the characters revolve around. In addition, the Stephanie Plum series was derived from the Robert de Niro movie called Midnight Run, which was also about the story and adventures of a bounty hunter.
2 Stephen King - $39 million
Stephen King is known as a horror and suspense writer who also incorporates elements of fantasy and science fiction. His most notable works include Carrie, The Shining, Salem’s Lot, The Stand, Misery, It and The Dark Tower series. His books have sold more than 350 million copies, with several being made into films and television movies. He has written 50 novels and a little less than 200 short stories. He has received awards from the National Book Foundation and the Canadian Booksellers Association. He recently hit it big once again with 11/22/63. His earnings may jump even more when the film and television adaptations of The Dark Tower series finally pushes through.
1 James Patterson - $94 million
James Patterson has sold more than 270 million copies of his books. He is best known for several series, including those of Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Maximum Ride and Michael Bennett” He holds the world record for most bestselling hard cover fiction titles by an author. He also had 19 straight books go to number one in the New York Times bestsellers list. Most impressive of Patterson is that practically his entire earnings come from book sales, as he gets only a small amount from film royalties.