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Women move up Forbes list of top-earning authors


James Patterson still outstrips all other authors with earnings of $  94 million US, according to Forbes. James Patterson still outstrips all other authors with earnings of $ 94 million US, according to Forbes. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)

James Patterson and Stephen King still top Forbes’ annual list of the world’s richest authors, but the magazine has its eye on three women writers who stand to move up the list next year.

Patterson, who released 14 titles in the year from May 2011 to May 2012, has a bevy of writers researching and penning novels for him. He earned $ 94 million US from adult thrillers and fantasy/sci-fi novels and movie rights.

King had a blockbuster hit with his time-travel novel about the assassination of JFK, 11/22/63, as well TV rights to other books.

But the up-and-comers on the list are Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games series and J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter author turned adult writer.

Collins came in at No. 9, but has not yet had all the proceeds of the first Hunger Games film with three more to come. The movie series is also spiking sales of all her books.

Rowling earned $ 17 million, including an $ 8 million advance for her first adult book, The Casual Vacancy, as well as proceeds from e-book sales, the Pottermore site and movie spinoffs of the Harry Potter series.

And the great unknown quantity for future years is E.L. James whose 50 Shades of Grey series was building in popularity mid-year, so that next year she should gain a foothold on the list. In addition to the three titles, which are flying off e-book shelves, there is a movie franchise in the works.

The top-ranked woman is still Janet Evanovich, who earned $ 33 million from the Stephanie Plum series, about a lingerie buyer turned bounty hunter.

Children’s author Jeff Kinney is bringing in readers and dollars from his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and a movie version of Dog Days. Another young adult writer, Rick Riordan, is number 15, while Stephenie Meyer continues to earn from the Twilight series.

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly is also making money from his historical books, including Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy.

A newcomer to the list is George R.R. Martin, whose Game of Thrones series is selling after an addictive TV series made it a household name. This year he published the hotly anticipated A Dance With Dragons. Forbes bases its list on official figures from Nielsen BookScan and interview with authors, agents, publishers and other experts.

CBC | Arts News

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