- The authors with the highest net worth listed are Élisabeth Badinter ($1.3 billion), followed by J.K. Rowling ($1 billion) and James Patterson ($560 million).
- Much of Élisabeth Badinter’s fortune is owed to being the largest shareholder of Publicis Groupe, due to shares she inherited from her father.
- For the listed top 20 authors by net worth, authors within the Mystery/Thriller genre represented 40%.
- This was followed by Romance authors (25%) and Fantasy authors (15%).
- 65% of the highest listed net worth authors were American and 30% were British.
- In terms of gender, the listed authors were split 50/50 between male and female.
- J.K. Rowling’s “Wizarding World” series, comprising “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts”, is the fourth-highest grossing film series ($9.66 billion) of all time, as of 2023.
- Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code”, “Angels & Demons” and “Inferno” were adapted into films, grossing more than $1.5 billion worldwide.
- As of 2022, Danielle Steel has sold more that 900 million copies globally.
- It is estimated that Nora Roberts has sold over 500 million copies of her books and has also sold over 1 million Kindle books.
Authors by highest net worth
- Of the listed top 20 authors by net worth, Mystery/Thriller authors represented 40%.
- Romance authors represented 25%.
- Fantasy authors represented 15%.
- 65% of the listed authors with the highest net worths were American.
- 30% of the listed authors were British.
- In terms of gender, the listed authors are split 50/50 between male and female.
- The author with the highest net worth listed was Élisabeth Badinter who had a net worth of 1.3 billion.
- Her hit title “The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women”, had sold more than 200,000 copies in France alone, as of 2012.
|1||French||Élisabeth Badinter||Nonfiction||$1.3 billion|
|2||British||J.K. Rowling||Fantasy||$1 billion|
|3||American||James Patterson||Mystery/Thriller||$560 million|
|4||American||Nora Roberts||Romance||$420 million|
|5||American||Stephen King||Mystery/Thriller||$400 million|
|6||American||Danielle Steel||Romance||$310 million|
|7||British||Barbara Taylor Bradford||Romance||$300 million|
|8||American||John Grisham||Mystery/Thriller||$220 million|
|9||British||Jeffrey Archer||Mystery/Thriller||$195 million|
|10||American||Dan Brown||Mystery/Thriller||$178 million|
|11||American||Dean Koontz||Mystery/Thriller||$145 million|
|12||American||Stephenie Meyer||Fantasy||$125 million|
|13||British||Paul McKenna||Self-help||$100 million|
|14||American||Deepak Chopra||Spirituality||$80 million|
|15||American||Janet Evanovich||Mystery/Thriller||$80 million|
|16||American||Meg Cabot||Romance||$80 million|
|17||American||Suzanne Collins||Fantasy||$80 million|
|18||British||E.L. James||Romance||$60 million|
|19||British||Ken Follett||Historical fiction||$55 million|
|20||American||David Baldacci||Mystery/Thriller||$45 million|
A graph is given below to show the highest net worth authors listed by nationality:
A graph is given below to show the highest net worth authors listed by genre:
Highest net worth US authors
- As of 2022, James Patterson’s books have sold over 425 million copies.
- He was also the first person to sell over 1 million e-books.
- It was estimated that he earns upwards of $50 million each year.
- Stephen King has sold more than 400 million book copies worldwide as of 2022.
- Based on his book of the same name, “The Shining” released in 1980 grossed over $47 million worldwide.
- As of 2022, his annual income was estimated to be over $48 million.
- It is estimated that Nora Roberts has sold over 500 million copies of her books.
- Nora Roberts has sold over 1 million Kindle books, making her the third person to do so.
- As of 2022 it was estimated that she earns over $30 million each year.
- As of 2022, Danielle Steel has published more than 190 books.
- From these books, she has sold more that 900 million copies globally.
- As of 2022, it was estimated that her annual income exceeds $20 million.
- John Grisham’s books have sold over 300 million copies worldwide.
- “The Firm” by John Grisham was adapted into a film starring Tom Cruise in 1993, which grossed over $270 million worldwide.
- As of 2022 it was estimated that he earns upwards of $50 million per year.
- Three of Dan Brown’s books (“The Da Vinci Code”, “Angels & Demons” and “Inferno”) have been adapted into films, which together grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide.
- As of 2012, his books had sold over 200 million copies.
- As of 2022, it was estimated that his annual income is over $10 million.
- From Dean Koontz’s works, he has sold over 500 million copies.
- His works have also been adapted into 17 movies.
- As of 2013, his annual income was estimated to be $20 million.
- As of 2022, Stephenie Meyer has sold over 160 million copies of her “Twilight” series of books.
- From the series, its movies have grossed over $3.3 billion dollars globally.
- As of 2012, her annual earnings were estimated at $14 million.
- As of 2023, he has sold more than 20 million copies of his books globally.
- As of 2021, he had written more than 91 books.
- His hit title “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” has sold more than 3 million copies.
- Janet Evanovich has more than 200 million publications in print globally.
- The film rights to her title “One for the Money” were sold to Columbia TriStar for $1 million.
- As of 2022, it was estimated that she earns upwards of $20 million each year.
- Meg Cabot has sold over 25 million copies of her books globally.
- Her series “The Princess Diaries” was adapted into two movies that grossed over $300 million worldwide in total.
- She credits the films for helping to increase her overall book sales.
- As of 2020, Suzanne Collins’ novels have sold more than 100 million copies around the world.
- Her “Hunger Games” series was adapted into four movies which grossed over $2.97 billion worldwide in total.
- As of 2015, her annual income was estimated to be around $13 million.
- David Baldacci has sold more than 150 million copies of his books worldwide.
- The worldwide book and movie rights to his novel “Absolute Power” were sold for an estimated $5 million.
- The movie grossed $82 million globally.
Highest net worth UK authors
- J.K. Rowling’s “Wizarding World” series, consisting of “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts”, is the fourth-highest grossing film series ($9.66 billion) of all time, as of 2023.
- As of 2023, her books have sold more than 600 million copies worldwide.
- As of 2022, it was estimated that she earns at least $50 million annually.
Barbara Taylor Bradford
- As of 2021, Barbara Taylor Bradford had sold 90 million copies of her books.
- Ten of her publications have been adapted into TV movies/drama series.
- As of 2022, her annual income was estimated to be over $25 million.
- In total, Jeffrey Archer’s books have sold more than 320 million copies around the globe.
- His novel “Kane and Abel” released in 1979 alone has sold an estimated 34 million copies.
- As of 2011, he had earned an estimated $33 million in book royalties.
- Paul McKenna’s books have sold more than 10 million copies globally.
- His self-help book “I Can Make You THIN” is the best selling book of its genre in UK history.
- He is also considered to be the world’s #1 hypnotherapist.
- E.L. James is renowned for her “Fifty Shades” series which has sold over 125 million copies worldwide.
- In the US alone it has sold over 35 million copies.
- In total, movie adaptations of the series have grossed upwards of $1.32 billion globally.
- Ken Follett has sold more than 188 million copies of his works.
- “The Pillars of the Earth” became his best selling work, and was adapted into a mini-series and video game.
- Its sequel, “World Without End”, was also adapted into a mini-series.
Authors Net Worth FAQ
How much do authors make per book published?
- For talented first-time authors, publishers can look to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 as an advance.
- The amount of money earned by the author greatly depends on the size of the advance, the number of copies sold and the agreed royalty rate.
- Find out more about how much authors make here.
Why are advances used?
- Advances are indicative of the publisher’s anticipated success of a publication.
- After an advance is given, the author will need to at least break even after the cost of printing and distribution is incurred.
- Once this has been achieved, royalties can be paid out to the author. A common royalty rate is around 10%.
Do all authors receive advances?
- Although commonplace, not all authors receive advances. It is possible for other types of agreements to be put into place between publishers and authors.