With a combined $269 million in earnings over the last 12 months, the 14 highest paid authors in the world can truly say they’ve made a career out of writing. Six of the 14 are women, including — unsurprisingly — J.K. Rowling (No. 3) and newcomer Paula Hawkins (No. 9).
The Girl on the Train author Hawkins is a fresh face on this year’s list. Her novel took off upon publication in 2015, earning Hawkins a movie deal. The Girl on the Train movie adaptation hits theaters in October.
Rowling climbed the charts this year, thanks to the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child pre-order rush, in all likelihood. The author earned $19 million in both years, but moved up four spots from No. 7 in 2015.
Young adult author Veronica Roth (No. 9) slipped six spots, down from No. 3 in 2015. Since a recent announcement regarding the movie adaptations of Roth’s Divergent trilogy revealed that the final installment, Ascendant , will be a made-for-TV movie, speculation has run rampant that the project might be destined for failure. If sales continue to drop, Roth may find herself bumped off the 2017 list of highest paid authors.
John Green (No. 9) slipped even further than Roth, falling from No. 2 in 2015. Despite Green's earning $26 million last year — $1 million more than Roth — both YA superstars earned only $10 million this year.
(Clearly, they’re both still #winning at this whole adulting thing. If anyone wants to help me earn $10 million this year, please note that I’m taking cash donations, no gift too small.)
Three additional female authors have been displaced from the 2016 list. Forbes reports that Gillian Flynn, Suzanne Collins, and Janet Evanovich “all saw sales of their catalogs take a dive” in the last year. Flynn and Collins were tied for the No. 11 spot in 2015, and Evanovich placed at No. 6.
Here are 2016's highest paid authors in the world:
- No. 1: James Patterson, $95 million
- No. 2: Jeff Kinney, $19.5 million
- No. 3: J.K. Rowling, $19 million
- No. 4: John Grisham, $18 million
- No. 5: Stephen King, $15 million
- No. 5: Danielle Steel, $15 million
- No. 5: Nora Roberts, $15 million
- No. 8: E.L. James, $14 million
- No. 9: Veronica Roth, $10 million
- No. 9: John Green, $10 million
- No. 9: Paula Hawkins, $10 million
- No. 12: George R.R. Martin, $9.5 million
- No. 12: Dan Brown, $9.5 million
- No. 12: Rick Riordan, $9.5 million