The Net Worth of 20 Richest Writers In The World Who Make Money As Authors

A plethora of publications including Forbes has ranked The top 20 Richest Writers in various times. Although the last year, brought in some new faces on the list, it still did not come with many surprises as it still had familiar faces like J.K. Rowlings, who retained her No.1 spot, next is the American, James Patterson in second place, Paul Coelho in No.3, R.L.Stine, Dan Brown, amongst others.

However, this year, the list produced a total of 8 female authors and 12 male authors, predominantly from the United States and then the UK.

20. Paula Hawkins

Date of Birth: 26 August 1972

Net worth: $20 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • The Money Goddess (2006)
  • One Minute to Midnight (2011)
  • The Reunion (2013)
  • The Girl On a Train (2015)
  • Into The Water (2017)

Richest Writers
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Hawkins sold 2.2 million print books in the US in 2016. but it was her 2015 thriller novel,  The Girl on the Train ithat is to-date regarded as her best-selling book, having sold over 11 million copies worldwide. The book handles themes of domestic violence, alcohol, and drug abuse. Given its success, the novel was later adapted into a film starring Emily Blunt in 2016.

The Zimbabwean-born British author has gone on to publish more interesting novels which include; Into the Water, the Money Goddess, and a host of others.

Quote: “The holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mold yourself through the gaps.” (from The Girl on the Train)

19. George R.R. Martins

Date of Birth: September 20, 1948

Net worth: $65 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • A Song for Lya (1974)
  • A Game of Thrones (1996)
  • The Lands of Ice and Fire (2014)
  • The Sons of Dragon (2017)
  • Fire and Blood (2018)

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GOT lovers (Game of Thrones) meet George R.R. Martins, the man behind the popular HBO series. He is an American who also writes short stories. The author spent 5 years working on the book, A Song of Ice and Fire which eventually became his big break in the literary world. The TV series will enrich the author as he got more accolades as co-executive producer, winning a total of 12 Emmys in 2016, and 7 of those went to the Episode 6, ‘Battle of the Bastards’, a decor number for an episode of any TV series. His other notable works include Dying of the Light, With Morning Comes Mistfall, The Hero, among others.

Quote: “FEAR CUTS DEEPER THAN SWORDS.”

18. Jeff Kinney

Date of Birth: February 19, 1971

Net worth: $75 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Diary of A Wimpy Kid (2009)
  • Do it Yourself (2009)
  • Who is Jeff Kinney? (2015)
  • The Getaway (2017)
  • Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure (2020)

Jeff is an American cartoonist, producer, and author of children’s books. He is famous for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series.

He also appeared in the movie version of the book, acting the role as Holly Hills’s father. He was also the screenwriter for the Diary of A Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.

The over 10-year-old book still garners massive earnings for him. Jeff has sold about 3.2 million copies of the book in the United States. He is also the creator of Poptropica, a child-oriented website.

Quote: “YOU CAN’T EXPECT EVERYONE TO HAVE THE SAME DEDICATION AS YOU.”

 17. Janet Evanovich

Date of Birth: April 22, 1943

Net worth: $80 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • One for the Money (1994)
  • Two for the Dough (1996)
  • Three to Get Deadly (1997)
  • Four to Score (1998)
  • Twisted Twenty-Six (2019)

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Janet Evanovich is an American author who has sold over 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Her novels have been translated into over 40 languages and her books are usually centered on romance.

Quote: “CALORIES DON’T COUNT IF THEY’RE CONNECTED TO A CELEBRATION.”

16.Jack Higgins

Date of Birth: 27 July 1929

Net worth: $86 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Angel of Death (1995)
  • Day of Reckoning (2000)
  • The Judas Gate (2010)
  • Rain on the Dead (2014)
  • The Midnight Bell (2016)

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Jack Higgins began writing in 1959 and has been active ever since. Altogether, he has written a total of 85 novels which have been translated into 55 languages and has sold over 150 million copies worldwide.

Quote: “ANYONE WHO EXPECTS FAIRNESS IN THIS LIFE IS SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED.”

15. Stephenie Meyer

Date of Birth: December 24, 1973

Net worth: $125 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Twilight (2005)
  • New Moon (2006)
  • Eclipse (2007)
  • Breaking Dawn (2008)
  • Midnight Sun (2020)

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Stephenie Meyer came to the limelight when her vampire romance series, Twilight sold over 100 million copies. The series has been translated to into almost 40 languages worldwide.

Quote: “IT’S NOT THE FACE, BUT THE EXPRESSIONS ON IT.

14. Dean Koontz

Date of Birth: July 9, 1945

Net worth: $144 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • The Eyes of Darkness (1981)
  • Watchers (1987)
  • Odd Thomas (2003)
  • What the Night Knows (2010)
  • Devoted (2020)

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Dean Koontz has a net worth of $145 million and he is best-known for writing novels in the genre of suspense thrillers. Just recently, when the outbreak of the coronavirus began, his 1981 book, The Eyes of Darkness became a heated topic, as many people began to attribute Dean Koontz as a futurist who predicted the advent of the deadly virus.

The author has over 105 novels credited to his name and has sold over 450 million copies of his works including, novellas, and collections of short stories.

Quote: “INTUITION IS SEEING WITH THE SOUL.”

13. E. L James

Date of Birth: 7 March 1963

Net worth: $160 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Fifty Shades of Grey (2011)
  • Fifty Shades Darker (2011)
  • Fifty Shades Freed (2012)
  • The Caves of Loring (2018)
  • The Mister (2019)
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The one-time assistant studio manager has been writing since 2011. She authored the Fifty Shades trilogy (Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed), which have all been adapted into high grossing movies.

Erika Mitchell under the pen name E. L. James has over 125 million copies worldwide with over 35 million copies in the United States. E.L James set the UK record of the fastest-selling paperback of all time.

Quote: “YOU HAVE TO KISS A LOT OF FROGS BEFORE YOU FIND YOUR PRINCE”

12. Dan Brown

Date of Birth: 22 June 1964

Net worth: $180 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Digital Fortress (1998)
  • Angels and Demons (2000)
  • The Da Vinci Code (2003)
  • Inferno (2013)
  • Origin (2017)

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Dan Brown’s novels are published in 56 languages around the world with over 200 million copies in print. His works have a signature trait of “the paradoxical interplay between science and religion”. Many have ranked his 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code as his highest-grossing book, it sold almost 6000 copies on the day it was released and made it on to the New York Times’ Best Seller List in the first week of publication. Noteworthy to mention that it is one of his most controversial works till date.

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The English author no doubt, is one of the best authors when it comes to penning conspiracy theories. He was inspired to write thrillers after reading ‘The Doomsday Conspiracy’ by Sidney Sheldon.

Quote: “SCIENCE AND RELIGION ARE NOT AT ODDS.”

11. Jeffrey Archer

Date of Birth: 15 April 1940

Net worth: $200 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less (1974)
  • Kane and Abel (1979)
  • Only Time Will Tell (2011)
  • The Sins of the Father (2012)
  • Hidden in Plain Sight (2020)

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This English author and former politician has a net worth of $200 million. He was born in London on April 15, 1940. He has sold over 250 million copies of his books internationally. However, he is most famous for serving a prison sentence for perjury and perverting the court of justice. His time in prison inspired the series of prison diaries. Another famous series of books written by Archer was the ‘Kane and Abel’ series. Most recently, he has written a series of books called the ‘Clifton Chronicles.

Quote: “I HAVE DISCOVERED WITH ADVANCING YEARS THAT FEW THINGS ARE ENTIRELY BLACK OR WHITE, BUT MORE OFTEN DIFFERENT SHADES OF GREY.”

10. R. L. Stine

Date of Birth: 8 October 1943

Net worth: $200 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Monster Blood (1992)
  • Say Cheese and Die (1992)
  • Welcome to Dead House (1992)
  • Night of the Living (1993)
  • Dangerous Girls (2013)

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For anyone who grew up in the 1990’s, reading R.L. Stine’s horror books or watching the TV show on Nickelodeon was a staple for kids on summer vacation. Even today, his stories have re-emerged with the movie starring Jack Black. After decades of writing iconic spooky tales, it should be no surprise that R.L. Stine has seen a lot of financial success.

Quote: “MOST FEARS ARE BASIC: FEAR OF THE DARK, FEAR OF GOING DOWN IN THE BASEMENT, FEAR OF WEIRD SOUNDS, FEAR THAT SOMEBODY IS WAITING FOR YOU IN YOUR CLOSET.”

9. Barbara Taylor

Date of Birth: May 1933

Net worth: $300 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • A Woman of Substance (1979)
  • To Be the Best (1988)
  • Emma’s Secret (1989)
  • Cavendon Hall (2014)
  • In the Lion’s Den (2019)

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The British novelist is among the list of few authors that hit success with their first works. Her debut novel was ‘A Woman of Substance’ which was published in 1979 and remains one of her best-known books. It was the first book in the Emma Harte saga and six books followed in this series. In addition to her novels, Bradford-Taylor has also authored a series of children’s books and a series of interior design books.

Quote: “THE PAST WAS ALWAYS THERE, LIVED INSIDE OF YOU, AND IT HELPED TO MAKE YOU WHO YOU WERE.”

8. John Grisham

Date of Birth: 8 February 1955

Net worth: $350 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • A Time To Kill (1989)
  • The Firm (1991)
  • Sycamore Row (2013)
  • Camino Island (2017)
  • A Time for Mercy (2020)

Richest Writers
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Meet the author of The Whistler which is one of the best-selling books of 2016 with over 660, 000 domestic hardcover sales.

The trained lawyer made his writing debut in 1989 with his popular thriller, ‘A Time to Kill’. Ever since then, the prolific writer has been releasing at least one legal thriller per year. His books such as The Firm, The Runaway Jury has been featured into films and TV series. The author has so far sold millions of copies of his book, with his 2015 novel, The Rogue, selling over 2 million copies in the US alone and The Firm selling over 7 million copies.

Quote: “IN LIFE, FINDING A VOICE IS SPEAKING AND LIVING THE TRUTH.”

7. Danielle Steel

Date of Birth: 14 August 1947

Net worth: $375 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Zoya (1987)
  • His Bright Light (1998)
  • Second Chance (2004)
  • All That Glitters (2020)
  • Royal (2020)

Richest Writers
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The California-based author has published over 170 books including a picture book, Minnie in Hollywood. Her recent book, the Duchess has become a New York Times bestseller. Many readers has hailed her as the undisputed Queen of romantic novels and as a result, she has sold over 800 million copies, and about 130 of her books have been recorded as bestsellers.

The author’s books have been translated into over 4 languages. 22 have been adapted for television, with two nominated for the Golden Globe awards.

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Quote: “LIFE, A GOOD LIFE, A GREAT LIFE IS ABOUT “WHY NOT?” MAY WE NEVER FORGET IT.”

6. Nora Roberts

Date of Birth:10 October 1950

Net worth: $390 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Born in Fire (1994)
  • Jewels of The Sun (1999)
  • The Pagan Stone (2008)
  • Of Blood and Bone (2018)
  • The Awakening (2020)

Richest Writers
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Nora Roberts is one of America’s self-made millionaires with a net worth of $390 million.

As of 2011, her novels had spent a combined 861 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list, including 176 weeks in the number-one spot. This goes further to show that, the American bestselling author does not need much adaptation of her novels to rake in the millions. This is because, to date, her hard copies of romance and crime fiction still sell out and make numbers on the top chart.

Quote: “DAMN ME TO HELL OR TAKE ME TO HEAVEN, BUT FOR GOD’s SAKE, DO IT NOW.”

5. Michael Crichton

Date of Birth: 23 October 1942

Net worth: $400 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Jurassic Park (1990)
  • Timeline (1999)
  • State of Fear (2004)
  • Micro (2011)
  • Dragon Teeth (2017)

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Michael Crichton is famous for blending real scientific facts and theories into his works of fiction. He is most known for being the author of the Jurassic Park books. He also created the medical drama ER, which was very successful, and ran for 15 seasons. Jurassic Park became such a classic, they were remade into the new Jurassic World movies.

Quote: “IT’S BETTER TO DIE LAUGHING THAN TO LIVE EACH MOMENT IN FEAR.”

4. Steven King

Date of Birth: September 21, 1947

Net worth: $400 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Carrie (1974)
  • The Shinning (1977)
  • Pet Symatary (1983)
  • It (1986)
  • If it Bleeds (2020)

Richest Writers
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Steven King is known as the King of horror, fantasy, and supernatural fiction. This is because, majority of his books and screenplays usually fall into the genres of horror, fantasy, gothic, and suspense.

His books have sold more than 350 million copies, many of which have been adapted into feature films, miniseries, television series, and comic books. These include; ‘It’, ‘Carrie’, ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, ‘The Shining’, ‘Misery’, and ‘Stand By Me’ amongst others.

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Quote: “FICTION IS THE TRUTH INSIDE THE LIE.”

3. Paul Coelho

Date of Birth: 24 August 1947

Net worth: $500 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • The Alchemist (1988)
  • Veronica Decides to Die (1998)
  • Eleven Minutes (2003)
  • Adultery (2014)
  • The Way of the Bow (2017)

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The Brazilian author began his writing career at the age of 38. His first book, ‘Pilgrimage’ was unsuccessful, but this did not deter Paul, as he went on to give it another shot and surprisingly, it resulted in his most famous book ‘The Alchemist’. Not only was this a best-selling book, but it is also the most translated book by a living author.

Quote: “AND, WHEN YOU WANT SOMETHING, ALL THE UNIVERSE CONSPIRES IN HELPING YOU TO ACHIEVE IT.”

2. James Patterson

Net worth: $800 Million

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Kiss The Girls (1995)
  • Jack and Jill (1996)
  • The Thomas Berryman Number (1976)
  • The President is Missing (2018)
  • Deadly Cross (2020)

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James Patterson has continuously appeared on the list of richest writers for years now. In 2017, Forbes ranked him as one of the highest-paid entertainers. The all-time renowned writer is known for his stand-alone thrillers, non-fiction, and romance novels.

Just like JK. Rowlings, Patterson is known for his Alex Cross Series, Witch and the Wizard, Women’s Murder Club amongst others. In 2021, Patterson still remains America’s richest author.

Quote: “YOU’RE LUCKY TO FIND SOMETHING YOU LIKE TO DO AND IT’S A MIRACLE IF SOMEBODY WILL PAY YOU TO DO IT. THAT’S KIND OF BEEN MY GIG SINCE I WAS IN MY TWENTIES.”

1. J.K Rowlings

Date of Birth: 31 July 1965

Net worth: $1 Billion

Top Selling/Popular Books

  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997)
  • The Casual Vacancy (2012)
  • The Silkworm (2014)
  • Career of Evil (2015)
  • The Ickabog (2020)

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Meet the famous author and brain behind the Harry Potter fantasy series. JK Rowlings has sold more than 400 million copies of her books.

In 2011, she became the first billionaire author in the history of Forbes richest rankings and has maintained that till date, despite her philanthropic giving. The writer with a heart of gold is dedicated to such causes as battling illiteracy, poverty, and multiple sclerosis. She is also famous for using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith to author several adult books.

Quote: “YOU HAVE A MORAL RESPONSIBILITY WHEN YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN FAR MORE THAN YOU NEED, TO DO WISE THINGS WITH IT AND GIVE INTELLIGENTLY.”

Here’s a Quick Recap of the top 20 Richest Authors in the World:

  •  J.K. Rowling – $1 Billion
  • James Patterson – $800 Million
  • Paul Coelho – $500 Million
  • Stephen King – $400 Million
  • Michael Crichton – $400 Million
  • Nora Roberts – $390 Million
  • Danielle Steel – $375 Million
  • John Grisham – $350 Million
  • Barbara Taylor – $300 Million
  • R. L. Stine – $200 Million
  • Jeffrey Archer – $200 Million
  • E. L James – $160 Million
  • Dean Koontz – $144 Million
  • Stephenie Meyer – $125 Million
  • Jack Higgins – $86 Million
  •  Janet Evanovich – $80 Million
  • Jeff Kinney – $75 Million
  • George R.R. Martins – $65 Million
  • Paula Hawkins – Net worth: $20 Million

Other Notable Rich Authors

  • Elisabeth Badniter – $1.8 Billion (estimated)
  • Deepak Chopra – $150 Million
  • Christopher Little – $86 Million
  • Paul McKenna – $100 Million
  • Suzanne Collins – $80 Million
  • Dan Brown David – $178 Million
Amara O
Amara is a creative writer and has been creating content for several years. Her experience cuts across various segments such as African cuisine, travel, nature, and politics.
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