Most authors struggle to make ends meet. It’s incredibly difficult to achieve success in the world of writing. However, there are many authors who rake in an eight-figure income year after year. Here we take a look at the World’s highest paid authors in 2019. Below are the 10 richest authors of all time, as of 2019. We’ve used figures from Celebrity Net Worth, First book and last book of the author.
1. James Patterson
As per the latest list published recently, James Patterson ranked No 1 in the list of highest-paid authors of all time. Patterson was born on March 22, 1947, in Newburgh, New York, the son of Isabelle (Morris), a homemaker and teacher, and Charles Patterson, an insurance broker. He graduated summa cum laude with both a B.A. in English from Manhattan College and an M.A. in English from Vanderbilt University. He is an American author and philanthropist. Among his works are the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, NYPD Red, Witch and Wizard, and Private series, as well as many stand-alone thrillers, non-fiction, and romance novels.
In November 2015, Patterson received the Literarian Award from the National Book Foundation, which cited him as a “passionate campaigner to make books and reading a national priority. Patterson’s awards include the Edgar Award, the BCA Mystery Guild’s Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Children’s Choice Book Award for Author of the Year. He is the first author to have No. 1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children’s bestsellers lists, and to have two books on NovelTrackr’s top-ten list at the same time. Patterson topped Forbes’s list of highest paid authors for the third consecutive year, with an income of $95 million. His total income over a decade is estimated at $700 million.
First Book: The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)
Latest book: Middle School: Born to Rock (2019)
Sold Book: 385 million
Net worth: $750 million
2. J.K. Rowling
Joanne Rowling was born on 31 July 1965 Yate, Gloucestershire, England. she is better known by her pen name J. K. Rowling. Rowling attended St Michael’s Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael’s, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore. She attended secondary school at Weyden School and College, where her mother worked in the science department.
In 1982, Rowling took the entrance exams for Oxford University but was not accepted and earned a BA in French and Classics at the University of Exeter. Martin Sorrell, a French professor at Exeter, remembers “a quietly competent student, with a denim jacket and dark hair, who, in academic terms, gave the appearance of doing what was necessary”. Rowling recalls doing little work, preferring to read Dickens and Tolkien. After a year of study in Paris, Rowling graduated from Exeter in 1986.
In 2004, Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a US-dollar billionaire by writing books, the second-richest female entertainer and the 1,062nd richest person in the world. Rowling disputed the calculations and said she had plenty of money but was not a billionaire. The 2016 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £600 million, ranking her as the joint 197th richest person in the UK. In 2012, Forbes removed Rowling from their rich list, claiming that her US$160 million in charitable donations and the high tax rate in the UK meant she was no longer a billionaire. In February 2013 she was assessed as the 13th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman’s Hour on BBC Radio 4.
First Book: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
Latest Book: Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – The Original Screenplay (2018)
Sold Book: 500 million
Net worth: $1 billion
3. Stephen King
Stephen Edwin King is born September 21, 1947, is an American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, and fantasy novels. which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television series, and comic books. King has published 61 novels including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman and six non-fiction books. He has written approximately 200 short stories, most of which have been published in book collections. King’s formula for learning to write well is: “Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can’t expect to become a good writer.” He sets out each day with a quota of 2000 words and will not stop writing until it is met.
It didn’t bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented.” King has received Bram Stoker Awards, World Fantasy Awards, and British Fantasy Society Awards. In 2003, the National Book Foundation awarded him the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He has also received awards for his contribution to literature for his entire oeuvres, such as the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement (2004) and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America (2007). In 2015, King was awarded a National Medal of Arts from the United States National Endowment for the Arts for his contributions to literature. He has been described as the “King of Horror”. According to Forbes, he earns approximately $40 million per year and became one of the highest paid authors in the world.
First Book: Carrie (1974)
Latest Book: The Institute (2019)
Sold Book: 350 million
Net Worth: $400 Million
4. John Grisham
John Ray Grisham born February 8, 1955, is an American novelist, attorney, politician, and activist, best known for his popular legal thrillers. His books have been translated into 42 languages and published worldwide. Grisham graduated from Mississippi State University and received a J.D. degree from the University Of Mississippi School Of Law in 1981. He practiced criminal law for about a decade and served in the Mississippi House of Representatives from January 1984 to September 1990. Grisham practiced law for about a decade and won election as a Democrat to the Mississippi House of Representatives from 1984–90, at an annual salary of $8,000. Grisham represented the seventh district, which included DeSoto County. By his second term in the Mississippi state legislature, he was the vice-chairman of the Apportionment and Elections Committee and a member of several other committees.
1993 Golden Plate Award, Peggy V. Helm rich Distinguished Author Award, Galaxy British Lifetime Achievement Award, Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction, The inaugural Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for The Confession, Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction for Sycamore Row. The author earned 21 million U.S. Dollars in the period of June 2017 to June 2018 and entered the club of the highest paid authors.
First Book: A Time to Kill (1988)
Latest Book: The Guardians (2019)
Sold Book: 275 million
Net worth: $350 million
5. Jeff Kinney
Jeff Kinney Born on February 19, 1971, Jeff Kinney is an American writer whose talents are not limited to writing alone. He is also a cartoonist, producer and game designer in addition to being the bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. He also created the child-oriented website Poptropica. Kinney attended Potomac Landing Elementary School and later attended Bishop McNamara High School. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park in the early 1990s. It was in college that Kinney created a popular comic strip; I goof, which ran in the campus newspaper. The series has gone on to win many regional and national awards around the globe including two Children’s Choice Book Awards and six Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards for Favorite Book. Jeff Kinney was named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world. Jeff Kinney earned $21 million and became on of the highest paid authors.
First Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007)
Latest Book: Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal
Sold Book: 180 million copies
Net worth: $70 million
6. Dan Brown
Dan Brown born on June 22, 1964. Dan Brown’s books have been translated into 57 languages. He grew up on the campus of Phillips Exeter Academy.
He also joined the National Academy of Songwriters and participated in many of its events. It was there that he met Blythe Newlon, a woman 12 years his senior, who was the Academy’s Director of Artist Development. Though it was not officially part of her job, she took on the seemingly unusual task of helping to promote Brown’s projects; she wrote press releases, set up promotional events, and put him in contact with people who could be helpful to his career. Dan Brown archive award of Goodreads Choice Awards Best Mystery & Thriller and Indies Choice Book Award for Adult Fiction. Dan Brown is the highest-paid author in the world, pulling in an astonishing $46 million between August 2012 and August 2013.
First Book: Digital Fortress (1998)
Latest book: Origin (2017)
Sold Book: 200 million copies.
Net worth: $178 Million
7. Michael Wolff
Michael Wolff (born August 27, 1953) is an American author, essayist, journalist, and columnist and contributor to USA Today, The Hollywood Reporter, and the UK edition of GQ. Wolff graduated from Montclair Academy in 1971, where he was student council president in his senior year. He attended Columbia University in New York City and graduated from Vassar College in 1975. While a student at Columbia, he worked for The New York Times as a copy boy. He has received two National Magazine Awards, and an Award. Coupled with seven-figure advances for a sequel, and the sale of film and television rights, in total Forbes, estimates that Wolff earned $13m (£10.2m) from June 2017 to June 2018, putting him in the seventh position in its list of the book world’s top annual earners.
First Book: White Kids (1979)
Latest Book: Fire and Fury
Sold Book: 700,000 orders shipped and 1.4 million orders placed.
Net worth: $25 million
8. Danielle Steel
Danielle Steel born August 14, 1947, is an American writer, best known for her romance novels. Danielle Steel has written 174 books, including over 141 novels. Her books have been translated into 43 languages and can be found in 69 countries across the globe. Her works consist of novels, non-fiction, picture books and two series of children’s books, the Max & Martha series, and the Freddie series. A 1965 graduate of the York, she studied literature design and fashion design, first at Parsons School of Design and then at New York University. Danielle Steel archive award Lucien Barrier Literary Award. Danielle Steel earned $23 million and entered the highest-paid authors club.
First Book: The Ring (1980)
Latest Book: Spy (2019)
Sold Book: 650 million
Net worth: $310 Million
9. Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts (born Eleanor Marie Robertson on October 10, 1950) is an American author of more than 225 romance novels. During her second year in high school, Roberts transferred to a local public school, Montgomery Blair High School. She began to write during a blizzard in February 1979 while housebound with her two small boys. Roberts states that with three feet of snow, a dwindling supply of chocolate, and no morning kindergarten she had little else to do. While writing down her ideas for the first time, she fell in love with the writing process and quickly produced six manuscripts.
Nora Roberts Archive award Golden Medallion awards, RITA Awards, Quill awards. Nora Roberts earned $23 million.
First Book: Irish Thoroughbred (1981)
Latest Book: Year one (2017)
Sold Book: 12 million
Net worth: $370 million
10. Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan born June 5, 1964, is an American author. His books have been translated into 42 languages He graduated from Alamo Heights High School, and first attended the music program at North Texas State, wanting to be a guitarist. He transferred to the University of Texas in Austin and studied English and History; he received his teaching certification in those subjects from the University of Texas in San Antonio. He taught English and Social Studies for eight years at Presidio Hill School in San Francisco. Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel and Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original for Big Red Tequila Edgar Award for Best Paperback Original for The Widower’s Two-Step Mark Twain Award for The Lightning Thief, Mark Twain Award for Monsters, Rebecca Award for Thief, School Library Journal’s Best Book for The Red Pyramid, Children’s Choice
Book Awards Winning: Author of the Yea, Children’s Choice Book Awards: Fifth Grade to Sixth Grade Book of the Year for Pyramid, Wyoming Soaring Eagle Book Award for The Last Olympian, Milner Award for Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, Indian Paintbrush Award for The Red Pyramid, Best Fiction Book for Children in Bulgaria for The Mark of Athena ,Stonewall Book Award for Children’s literature for The Hammer of Thor . From June 2017 to June 2018 he books in the US and earned $10.5 million.
First Book: Big red tequila (1997)
Latest Book: The Last Olympian (2009)
Sold Book: 30 million.
Net Worth: $35 million