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From J.K Rowling to Paula Hawkins: 2016’s highest paid authors have been revealed

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Amy Lewis
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Aspiring writers, prepare to have to your dreams fuelled by the outrageous success of these authors. They all had to start somewhere, right?

Forbes has revealed this year’s definitive list of the highest-paid authors in the world, and it’s pretty darn impressive. Especially when you consider that the number of adults who love to read is apparently in decline.

Featuring the usual suspects – J.K Rowling, James Patterson, John Grisham – the list reveals just how much each writer has banked over the past 12 months, making for incredibly inspiring (or envy-inducing, depending on your mood) consumption.

Though overall author earnings have reportedly dropped year on year – a study last year revealed a 7% drop in reading among American adults – the novelists have still managed to rake in a whopping combined total of $269 million (just over £200 million), with James Patterson topping the list.

James Patterson Bullseye

Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney comes in at second place, earning $19.5 million (around £14.5 million) proving that if you can engage the younger market, you really are set.

Naturally, J.K Rowling completes the top three thanks to the ongoing and unstoppable success of the Harry Potter series.

Girl On A Train author Paula Hawkins meanwhile has broken her way into the upper ranks for the first time with a cool £7.5 million. Although with sales set to surge once the big screen adaptation of her novel starring Emily Blunt hits cinemas this autumn, she may well fare even better on next year’s tally.

The estimated earnings are based on sales of books, e-books and audiobooks, along with money made off the back of TV and movie adaptations, or in J.K Rowling’s case, plays and theme parks.

Ready for the full list? See below.

Highest-earning writers in the world 201

  1. James Patterson, $95 million (£71.2 million)
  2. Jeff Kinney, $19.5 million (£14.6 million)
  3. J.K. Rowling, $19 million (£14.2 million)
  4. John Grisham, $18 million (£13.4 million)
  5. Stephen King, $15 million (£11.2 million)
  6. Danielle Steel, $15 million (£11.2 million)
  7. Nora Roberts, $15 million (£11.2 million)
  8. E.L. James, $14 million (£10.4 million)
  9.  Veronica Roth, $10 million (£7.5 million)
  10. John Green, $10 million (£7.5 million)
  11. Paula Hawkins, $10 million (£7.5 million)
  12. George R.R. Martin, $9.5 million (£7.1 million)
  13. Dan Brown, $9.5 million (£7.1 million)
  14. Rick Riordan, $9.5 million (£7.1 million)

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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.

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