Author James Patterson has topped the list of highest paid authors according to Forbes Magazine. His earnings of $84 million from May 2010-April 2011 were more than twice that of the No. 2 highest earner, Danielle Steel. The number 3 spot went to Stephen King, who earned $28 million, in fourth place was Janet Evanovich at $22 million, and finally Stephanie Meyer at $21 million.
Although sales of hardback books were down 23% during the first half of 2011, these top selling authors made their money by diversifying their brands with ebooks, multimedia deals and franchises aimed at teens. Patterson’s young adult Maximum Ride series sold more than a million copies. Surprisingly author J.K. Rowling was a the bottom of the list, but that will soon change now that she will soon begin selling ebooks at the website Pottermore. Other authors who are sure to top the list next year include Rick Riordan of the Percy Jackson series, Jeff Kinney of the Wimpy Kid series, and Suzanne Collins of the Hunger Games trilogy. All are young adult authors who are capitalizing on the book to movie tie in.