Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Where the Big Bucks Go

Which author tops the list of highest earners? Stephanie Meyer of Twilight fame?

Nope. Guess again.

James Patterson. According to Business, he earned $70 million in the past year.
Of course, that number does include his contract to write 17 books total by the close of 2012. That deal alone is worth about $100 million. Overall, Patterson, 63, has sold more than 170 million books worldwide.
Meyer came in second at $40 million, then Stephen King at $34 million, followed by Danielle Steele at $32 million. Ken Follett came in fifth with $20 million. The other five in the top ten are: Dean Koontz, Janet Evanovich, John Grisham, Nicholas Sparks and J.K. Rowling.

This ranking was put together by Forbes. According to Entertainment, Forbes based the earnings on “books, film rights, television, gaming deals and other income from June 1, 2009, through June 1, 2010.”

Poor J.K. Rowling didn’t release a book this year, so her numbers were down and she only made it into the tenth spot. I’d still settle for her $10 million, though. Actually, I’m not at all envious of any of these best-selling authors. They set the bar that the rest of us aspire (dream) to jump over.

25 comments:

  1. LOL. They also blow the bell curve.

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  2. They (who ever they is) say to dream big, but I’d probably be perfectly happy to fall somewhere in the top 100…:)

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  3. I'm not surprised - he's an author machine these days.

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  4. Think I read some place that all time best-selling writer is Shakespeare. Not sure if he has much benefit from it though >:)

    Cold As Heaven

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  5. Other than Rowling and King I wouldn't read one of these authors. Hmmm...wonder why? They just don't interest me - I've tried them and I don't get it. I don't read much King either but I think he's a fabulous writer - too good in fact - his tales of horror freak me out too much. Rowling is a solid read...Jan Morrison

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  6. Never cared to read Patterson especially after he spoke of his "stable of writers" who help him.
    Have never read Meyers-just no interest in the subject.
    All the rest,I read and enjoy tremendously.

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  7. Whew! Well, I guess that means I'm out of the running this year!

    And I am like Mary, don't read either one of them--so there! LOL
    Sylvia Dickey Smith

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  8. I don't envy them...with numbers like that they've lost their freedom to eat in a restaurant or grocery shop in peace.

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  9. Those numbers are mind-boggling :)

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  10. I don't envy them but I wouldn't mind sharing the wealth. What I want is for readers to love my books and my characters and come back because they find some fulfillment in reading my stories.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  11. James Patterson's books are everywhere, so it doesn't surprise me. I can pick them up at Walgreens.

    I was just thinking I'd like to read a new J.K. Rowling book.

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  12. I wish I believed that all of these were in it only for the writing and then they happened to get rich in the process. I am sure that applies to some of them, but I can't help but think that some of these have just found an easy way to make cash. Not that it is wrong to make big bucks from writing - far from it - but I think some of these millions would have been better spend divided among the many, many struggling writers out there.

    Oh, well. I must admit I hope these words will come back and bite me, in the unlikely even that I ever become a hopelessly rich authoress. I could live with that.

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  13. bermudaonion, I view him as more of a conglomeration than an author.

    Cold As Heaven, I wonder if his relatives benefit.

    Jan, I've read one or two of King, including his book on writing, but have read all of Rowling's.

    Laura, that probably is a hassle. I'd hire a cook, though.

    Theresa, sometime back, I heard Rowling was working on a new series.

    Cruella, Patterson has a whole stable of writers who write his ideas. He's more like a name for the company, it seems to me.

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  14. I'm surprised Nora Roberts isn't in the top 10 - she's a much better writer than Danielle Steele. I don't envy these writers. At this point I just want to have a manuscript to speak of.
    Karen

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  15. I don't grudge any of them their millions - like you say it gives others something to aspire towards. But I do wish it were a more equitable market out there- somehow it doesn't seem fair that other writers have to struggle so much.

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  16. I wrote a bit about this in my column for this week. I'm not surprised that they're all popular fiction writers.

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  17. "Poor" J.K. Rowling? Lordy, lordy, yes ... poor thing has to get by on a paltry 10 mil this year?

    Lol. I was surprised Jeffery Deaver didn't make that list. That apparently down on his luck guy didn't even make the top ten? Might have to mortgage that private island, poor fella. :(

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  18. It is interesting to see who made the top 10. We're seeing what really sells.

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  19. I'd definitely settle for 10th place if there was no book necessary to get there! Sheesh! Though I wish she'd take up another project--I love her writing. I wonder if any other writers out there are eying James Patterson's formula, with all the 'co-written' stuff. I think if money were all that mattered, that man has it figured out (though I HAVE heard he just has too many IDEAS--he could never physically execute them all... yeah... nice problem)

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  20. Yeah, I heard him say that in a TV interview. Maybe he does, but some readers are noticing that some of his writers in his stable are not measuring up to what's expected of a Patterson book. And also that some of his ideas for plots are not all that different from what he's already done. Having said all that, clearly he loved by the fans.

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  21. I can tell you what doesn't sell; research articles. In the journal where I'm publishing stuff from time to time, we have to pay page charge to the journal, with extra cost for color figures.

    Cold As Heaven

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  22. Cold As Heaven, sheesh, I hope you're at least making a name for yourself with these articles.

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  23. I think it is obscene the amounts of money going to those top writers. And we wonder why there in no longer a thriving mid-list coming out of New York.

    Of those top writers, it is my opinion that the only ones that turn out real quality work are Ken Follett - I loved his Pillars of the Earth. Stephen King - although I didn't like all of his books. And J.K. Rowling. The rest churn out product that has average writing in my estimation.

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