When $95m Income of a Writer is No Big News

In a world drowning in books, with many writers impoverished, one writer makes $95 million in one year, but it is no news.

James Patterson is the writer. He leads the 2016 world highest-paid authors, compiled by Forbes. In fact, he has made a permanent home of this spot since 2001, except in 2013, when he was overthrown by 50 Shades of Gray author, LJ James. So it is no news he leads the highest paid authors even when his earning is $75.5 million more than second-placed Jeff Kinney.

 

Patterson doesn’t write his novels alone. He is responsible for the vision and plotline of each novel and series but he gives a detailed outline to the hired writer, with who he usually shares authorship. Patterson reads, revises and demands new drafts until he is satisfied.

In 2016 he co-authored seven novels with seven different writers. Humans, Bow Down, released on August 1, 2016, was written with Emily Raymond.

In it humans are endangered species in a world run by machines. The Great War is over. The Robots have won. Humans can either submit and serve the vicious rulers they created, or they can be banished to a desolate, unforgiving landscape where it’s a crime to be human. With nothing left to lose, a feisty young woman seeks to save humanity before the robots wipe humans off the face of the earth, once and for all.

Patterson has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. As of January 2016, he has sold over 350 million books worldwide and currently holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers. In addition to writing the thriller novels for which he is best known, he also writes children’s, middle-grade, and young-adult fiction and is also the first author to have No.1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children’s bestsellers lists.

The Forbes ranking is as follows:

James Patterson — $95 million

James Patterson is the world’s highest-paid author by a wide margin, and has been the world’s best-selling author since 2001. He has sold more than 350 million books worldwide, and is most famous for the “Alex Cross” crime novel series.

Jeff Kinney —$19.5 million

Jeff Kinney became famous for writing “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” the first in a hugely successful children’s book franchise. The tenth book in the series, “Old School,” was released in November 2015.

JK Rowling — $19 million

J.K. Rowling is one of the world’s best-selling authors, but she wasn’t always so successful. “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” the first book in the “Harry Potter” series that made her famous, was rejected by several publishers before being picked up by Bloomsbury in 1997.

John Grisham — $18 million

Lawyer turned crime novelist John Grisham has sold more than 300 million copies of his books worldwide and inspired several blockbuster movies like “The Firm” and “The Pelican Brief.” According to the Guardian, he plans to give away his latest work, “The Tumor,” for free.5. Stephen King — £11.3 million ($15 million)

Stephen King is one of the world’s wealthiest authors, having amassed an estimated £338 million ($450 million) throughout his sci-fi and horror novel-writing career. His most famous works include “The Shining,” “It,” and “Misery,” which have all been turned into films. His memoir, “On Writing,” gives valuable insights on how to become an author yourself.

Nora Roberts —$15 million

Nora Roberts has written more than 215 novels, but is best-known for her romantic fiction. Her most recently published works include “Bay of Sighs,” published in June 2016, and “The Obsession,” which was published in April during the same year.

Danielle Steel —$15 million.

Danielle Steel has sold 650 million copies of her romance novels throughout her career. Her most recent book, “Magic: A Novel,” was released in July 2016.

Veronica Roth —$10 million

American novelist and short story writer Veronica Roth became a household name when her book “Divergent” became a New York Times bestseller in April 2011. She has also published two sequels, “Insurgent,” and “Allegiant.” All three have been adapted for film.

EL James — $14 million

E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades” series of erotic novels started out life as a fan fiction tribute to the “Twilight” novels by Stephenie Meyer. James released “Grey” — a spin-off of her bestselling books, in June 2016.

Paula Hawkins —$10 million

British author Paula Hawkins is best known for her 2015 novel, “The Girl on the Train.” So far, Hawkins has sold 11 million copies of her novel worldwide, with a film adaptation due for release in October 2016.

John Green — $10 million

John Green is famous for writing several novels, including “Looking for Alaska,” “An Abundance of Katherines,” “Paper Towns,” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” which sold over 10 million copies following its release and became the best-selling book of 2014.

Rick Riordan — $9.5 million

Rick Riordan made his millions from writing the “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series. The five-book series, which is about a 12-year-old who discovers he is a son of Poseidon, has since been turned into graphic novels and films.

George R.R. Martin — $9.5 million

George R.R. Martin has spent five years writing “The Winds of Winter,” the sixth part to his fantasy epic, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” It was turned into the HBO television series “Game of Thrones” in 2011, making Martin one of the world’s most famous authors.

Dan Brown —$9.5 million

Dan Brown is best-known as the author of the mystery thriller “The Da Vinci Code,” which was turned into a film in 2006, three years after its publication. He is set to publish an abridged version of the novel for young adults on September 8 with Penguin Random House.

What is perhaps the biggest news on this list is Jeff Kinney’s achievement, making it to the second position with children books. It is not an easy turf, but it worth exploring. In fact, I have made more money from this genre than novels.

Jeff Kinney

Jeff’s profile is very interesting!”Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney didn’t grow up wanting to be a children’s author. His dream was to become a newspaper cartoonist, but he wasn’t able to get his comic strips syndicated.

In 1998 Jeff came up with the idea for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a story about a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley. Jeff worked on his book for almost eight years before showing it to a publisher in New York.

Jeff Kinney was born in 1971 in Maryland and attended the University of Maryland in the early 1990s. It was there that Jeff ran a comic strip called “Igdoof” in the campus newspaper, and he knew he wanted to be a cartoonist.

However, Jeff was not successful in getting his comic strip syndicated after college, and in 1998 he started writing down ideas for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which he hoped to turn into a book. Jeff worked on the book for six years before publishing it online on Funbrain.com in daily installments. To date, the online version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has more than 80 million visits, and is typically read by more than 70,000 kids a day. In 2006, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series. The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was published in 2007 and became an instant bestseller. Just a year later, more than 100,000 copies were in print in the United States alone. With each subsequent book, in-print numbers continue to grow exponentially both in the U.S. and abroad. There are now more than 180 million copies of the series in print worldwide.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has been a fixture on the USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. The series has remained on the New York Times bestseller lists since the publication of the first book, for more than 450 weeks total, and more than 350 on the series list. The books are currently available in 61 editions in 52 languages.

Since initial publication in 2007, 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. In addition, three movies based on the book series have grossed more than $250 million internationally. A new film based on the books is set to release in May 2017.

Jeff Kinney is also the creator of Poptropica, which was named one of Time magazine’s 50 Best Websites. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995.

The origins of Wimpy Kid

He explained the origin of Wimpy Kid in an interview with Reading Rockets.

“When I was in college, I had a comic strip called Igdoof and I went to the University of Maryland where they actually had a really good daily paper called the Diamondback with a circulation of about 30,000; readership of, you know, somewhere between 40 and 50 a day. And that was a great training ground for me. And I thought that I was going to be able to take that into the grownup world, right into newspapers. But I, you know, hit a wall. Mostly because I couldn’t draw like a professional cartoonist and I knew it and I couldn’t do anything about it.

So eventually I found — it was sort of like a Peter Principle sort of thing where I said well, if I draw like a seventh grader then, you know, I’m going to act like I’m doing that on purpose. So that’s where the idea for Greg Heffley in Diary of a Wimpy Kid came from.

I got this idea for Diary of a Wimpy Kid and I really wanted to nurture it. I really was not in any sort of rush. So I thought that if it took a year, that was okay and if it took ten, which is about what it did, that was okay too. So I worked on it and worked on it. Didn’t show it to anyone at all and then finally brought a sample packet to New York Comic Con in 2006 and I walked it around. Nobody wanted to see anything from artists holding sample packets, but I just lucked out.”

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