Unlike the art of sculpting, where the artist's work can be felt and appreciated in the beholder's eye, the beauty of writing lies in the reader's mind. The writer’s work is not easy because the ability of a reader to comprehend a literary work depends on several factors that may or may not be controlled. The richest authors in the world have paid their fair share of dues. They did not shy away from putting in what fellow author Malcolm Gladwell calls the 10,000 hours theory.
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Like most things in life, writing needs much physical and mental energy. Nevertheless, an author who can perfect the art of consistently mesmerizing their readers can get all the money they want. The net worth of the wealthiest authors is proof that with dedication, authors can make so much from their writing skills.
Top 20 richest authors around the globe
The wealthiest author in the world most likely has their books amongst the top sellers. In addition, most of those who made it to this list are well known for keeping readers engaged with their books. So, who is the wealthiest author in the world?
1. Elisabeth Badinter - $1.7 billion
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Elisabeth Badinter is the richest author in the world, with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion. She is a French author, historian, feminist, and professor who wrote the European bestseller The Conflict: How Modern Motherhood Undermines the Status of Women.
Even though she makes a lot of money from selling books, her significant stake in Publicis Groupe makes the most considerable portion of her wealth. The outfit was founded in 1926 by her late father, Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, and she has been the chairman since 1996. The company banks $9 billion in sales. So, this answers the question, "who is the richest author in the world in 2022?"
2. J.K. Rowling - $1 billion
Who is the richest author in the world? With a net worth of $1 Billion, J.K. Rowling comes in second on the list. This super writer is the most renowned among billionaire authors. She is famous for writing in the magical series popularly known as Harry Potter. The Harry Potter books were adapted into a TV series popular among viewers.
3. James Patterson - $800 million
James is an old soldier in the literary world and is globally among the richest authors. First published in 1976, Patterson has written over 90 books. He has several awards to his name, including a Guinness World Record and The New York Times record as the author of over 70 sellers.
He prospers in several genres of writings, such as romance, nonfiction, etc. James Patterson net worth of $800 Million is a testament to his writing prowess, making him one of the highest paid authors.
4. Jim Davis - $800 million
Jim makes this list of rich authors because he has combined his painting skills with a superb knack for writing. He is famous for being the creator of Garfield and The Mischievous Cat. Since his breakthrough, Jim has not looked back and was part of the Emmy award-winning Garfield TV specials writers. He is worth an estimated $800 million.
5. Candy Spelling - $600 million
Spelling did not reach the $600-million net worth only from the sales of her literary works. Stories from Candyland, an autobiography, made it to the list. Some of her fortunes are inherited.
6. Paul Coelho - $500 million
Paulo is the author of the national bestseller The Alchemist. The book is the most translated book ever written by any author and has sold over 150 million copies worldwide. However, this feat did not come easily, even though he knew he wanted to be a writer as a young boy. So, how much is Paul Coelho worth? His net worth is estimated at $500 million.
7. Stephen King - $500 million
Thanks to his ability to spawn thrilling stories that take horror, suspense, and fantasy to another level, Stephen King makes it to this list. Some of King's books like The Shining and IT have been adapted into TV series. King has sold over 350 million copies of his books globally.
The 73 years old novelist has a flourishing legacy in the world of literature. What is Stephen King's net worth? He is estimated to be worth $500 million, making him one of the wealthiest authors worldwide.
8. John Grisham - $400 million
This writer is famous for his fast-paced, action-packed stories about crimes, criminals, and the cracking of mysterious cases. He has a bestseller, The Firm, adapted into a movie with Tom Cruise playing the main character. Today, John Grisham's net worth stands at $400 million.
9. Michael Crichton - $400 million
At the time of his demise in 2008, Michael Crichton's net worth was around $400 million. Over 200 million copies of his literary works have been sold. Although he had a background in medicine, he tapped into his innate talent for writing and ended up producing works like Jurassic Park and The Lost World.
10. Danielle Steel - $400 million
Danielle knew and started making writing efforts at the early age of 1 when she wrote her first manuscript. She, however, had to wait until she was 28 before her first novel was published. Steel has over 70 books under her pen name. Danielle Steel's net worth of $400 million is an accumulation of her fiction and children's literature.
11. Nora Roberts - $390 million
Nora Roberts net worth, estimated at $390 million, was accrued from over 225 books. The American writer did not find this success on a platter as she faced several rejections from publishing houses. She published her first ever bestseller, Playing The Odds, in 1985. She has written using pseudonyms like J. D. Robb, Jill March, and Sarah Hardesty.
12. Barbara Taylor Bradford - $300 million
Barbara has sold over 83 million books in about 90 countries, a testament to her literary proficiency. Some of her works are now in TV adaptations.
Her first novel, A Woman of Substance, was published in 1979, and in 2007, Queen Elizabeth II awarded her the OBE. Currently, Barbara Taylor Bradford net worth is estimated at $300 million, making her one of the highest paid authors globally.
13. Tom Clancy - $300 million
Although this prolific writer passed away about eight years ago, he lives on through his literary works. He was a movie producer, and many of his books were adapted into movies and video games. Movies like Patriot Games and The Hunt for Red October were adapted from his book. So, what is Tom Clancy's net worth?
The political conservative was worth $300 million at his death, and his estate is still growing considering his massive works.
14. Olivia Harrison - $300 million
Olivia was married to George Harrison of The Beatles. She co-wrote the book George Harrison: Living in the Material World. Most of her literary works are related to The Beatles. The British-Mexican writer makes her fortune as a movie producer, actress, and author. Presently, she is estimated to be worth $300 million.
15. Jeffrey Archer - $200 million
The author cum politician is an Englishman who has successfully sold over 250 million copies of his literary works globally. His imprisonment for perjury inspired his novel series titled Prison Diaries.
He is also the author of the Kane and Abel series and Clifton Chronicles. Now in his 80s, Jeffrey's love for writing has not waned as he still finds time to spawn stories to the delight of his fans. So, it is not a surprise that he is worth $200 million today.
16. R.L Stine - $200 million
Stine made his fortune in the most unlikely aspect of literary genres, making him one of the richest authors in the world. He writes horror novels for children and develops stories that send chilly notes down kids' spines.
Blind Dates, Goosebumps and Fear Street, are some of the horror series he has written. However, suppose you think he must have a small audience. In that case, you are probably mistaken as he has sold over 400 million copies of his horror-inspired fiction, which gives him an estimated net worth of $200 million.
17. Dean Koontz - $200 million
Dean’s forte is the suspense genre. His works are themed to portray mysteriousness, science fiction, and a splash of horror. A total of 105 novels have been written by him and translated into 38 other languages. Dean’s most recent book, Elsewhere, was published in 2020. Today, Dean Koontz's net worth is estimated at $200 million.
18. Jackie Collins - $180 million
Jackie was a very successful English author with 32 books under her name. She was also an actress, screenwriter, and movie producer. While all of her books made it to the New York Times bestsellers list, eight of them have movie adaptations. So, how much is Jackie Collins worth? She is $180 million rich today.
19. Dan Brown - $160 million
Dan Brown has successfully created religious controversies in some of his books, including The Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons. His books have a massive inclination towards art, symbolism, and hidden secrets.
He became famous after one of his Robert Langdon series, The Da Vinci Code, was adopted in a movie starring Tom Hanks. Over 200 million copies of his books have been sold worldwide, and he boasts of about $160 million net worth.
20. David Oyedepo - $150 million
If you are wondering, “What authors are millionaires?" you will be glad to know that David, a Nigerian pastor makes it to the list of the wealthiest in the world. Although he is the General Overseer of his church, The Faith Tabernacle, he has written more than 70 books, introducing his followers worldwide to the miracle of Faith.
He has a publishing company, Dominion Publishing House, which publishes all of his books. His current net worth is estimated at $150 million.
Can authors become rich?
Writing is one of the most challenging careers to achieve success and make millions as many spend years sending scripts to publishers and getting rejected. Also, the biggest booksellers didn't compose a book, sold millions of copies, sat back, and started living off royalties. The earnings come in different ways if one desires to become a millionaire.
Many authors make money from the relationships they create with their books. For instance, authors like J.K. Rowling made more money from TV and film adaptations of their books than the actual sales. Therefore, once you create a relationship with your readers, you will likely have something massive to earn from.
What type of authors make the most money?
Specific book genres have proven to make the most money when you look at the list of the highest-earning authors. The romance genre has proven to make a lot of money considering the success of books like “Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and the novels written by Daniele Steele. Crime and mystery are also great sellers.
Who is the top-selling author of all time?
Williams Shakespeare is arguably the most famous author to have walked the Earth. He was a playwright, actor, and poet. But, like most successful writers, his fortune did not just fall into his laps. Instead, it was a result of sheer grit and continuous improvement.
Who is the #1 best-selling author?
According to the New York Times, as of the 25th of April, 2021, Amanda Gorman ranks as the best-selling author under the combined print and E-book fiction category.
There are numerous writers worldwide since almost everyone has a story to tell. Nevertheless, the ability to weave these stories compellingly and catch the reader's fancy is non-negotiable. The richest authors discussed so far have understood these dynamics.
Considering some of the most affluent kids in America have massive wealth, how they made their fortunes is one of the often-asked questions. A recent post on Briefly.co.za discussed how these kids made their millions and shot into the limelight.
Some are self-made, while others have inherited wealth from their parents' estates. Find out who the kids are and how much each of them is worth.
Source: Briefly News