If you are a best-selling author, the slump in the economy will not be a worrying factor. Thriller writer James Patterson remains unaffected. In fact, Patterson topped the Forbes list of the world’s best-paid authors. According to the magazine, Patterson’s book sales grew by 20 percent to $84 million in the year ending April 2011. Moreover, this is Patterson’s second year reigning at the top spot of this annual Forbes list.
A former advertising professional, Patterson is one of the most prolific authors of our time. The highest paying author has published over 80 books since he started writing. Many would argue that the prolific author does not really write his books. It is well known that he works with a team and churns out a range of novels – mostly thrillers, but also romance and young adult fantasy fiction. Even Hollywood loves his books. Five Patterson novels have been turned into films. Of these “Along Came A Spider” starring Morgan Freeman is very popular.
The 20 percent rise in Patterson’s wealth is attributed to his 17-book deal with Hachette which was signed in 2009. As part of the deal, Patterson published 10 books in the given year. And 20 of his titles appeared on bestseller lists over the studied 12 months. Strong ebook sales added to his wealth.
The New York-born creator of Alex Cross is so popular, that people are willing to pay big sums to have a Patterson character named after them. Patterson actually milked this opportunity by selling character-naming rights for charity. He has raised £1million (about $1.64 million) through this method. Recently, a private investor paid £30,000 (just over $49,000) to get a Patterson character named after his daughter. Meanwhile, business tycoon Donald Trump has reportedly paid the author £50,000 (about $80,000) to not appear as a character in his books.
Patterson’s upcoming release is the paperback “Tick Tock”. The novel revolves around a serial killer and features New York police detective Micheal Bennett. Bennett is a single father with ten kids. Patterson describes it as a “suspense opera”. Despite criticism, he continues to be popular. His mantra is to entertain.
Others on the Forbes richest authors list include Danielle Steele, Stephen King, John Grisham and J.K. Rowling. But none can touch Patterson’s annual earnings of $84 million. Danielle Steel, who came in second, manages only $35 million. Horror expert Stephen King managed annual earnings of $28 million, while mystery writer Janet Evanovich made $22 million.
“Twilight” author Stephanie Meyer’s annual earnings dropped by nearly 50 percent to $21 million. But then, the author published only a single novella (“The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner”) during the period. Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney also made it to the list this year with earnings of $17 million. He grabbed the ninth spot, right after John Grisham who made $18 million. J.K. Rowling made only $5 million this year. But once Pottermore releases, her earnings are expected to shoot through the roof once again.
The Forbes list of the world’s best-paid authors is given below:
James Patterson, $84 million
Danielle Steel, $35 million
Stephen King, $28 million
Janet Evanovich, $22 million
Stephenie Meyer, $21 million
Rick Riordan, $21 million
Dean Koontz, $19 million
John Grisham, $18 million
Jeff Kinney, $17 million
Nicholas Sparks, $16 million
Ken Follett, $14 million
Suzanne Collins, $10 million
JK Rowling, $5 million