Forbes has released its annual estimates for the highest-grossing book authors.
Their piece is a click-attracting listicle, so I won’t link to it here, but The Guardian reported that Rowling passed Patterson to reclaim the number one spot.
JK Rowling will need to reserve a particularly large vault at Gringotts bank after a bumper year for the Harry Potter novelist magicked her back to the No 1 spot on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest authors, almost a decade after she last topped it.
Forbes – which uses a mix of print, ebook and audio sales data, television and film earnings and expert industry opinion to come up with its list – estimates that Rowling earned $95m in the year to 31 May. This figure is the equivalent of more than $180 per minute, thanks to the sensational sales of her play script, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. When the Harry Potter follow-up was released last summer, it sold more than 680,000 print copies in the UK in the first three days alone, and became the fastest selling book since the final Harry Potter novel.
Rowling, who last topped Forbes’ list in 2008, comes in this year $8m ahead of second-placed James Patterson, the thriller powerhouse who has headed the list for the last three years.
The Guardian mentions eleven names in its list of biggest earners, with Danielle Steel and Rick Riordan tying for tenth place with estimated earnings of $11 million.
Three of the authors are British, while the other eight are American. All are traditionally published.
Some might have expected that last to be the case, but this is 2017. There are indie authors earning a million or more each year from book sales alone, and most of the authors on this list got there on the value of their movie and other ancillary rights.
So there could easily be indie authors who should be on this list but are not because they quite sensibly are keeping a low profile.
But in any case, this list is just a bunch of wild guesses, so making it or not means little.