Fifty Shades of Grey

Grey is turning into loads of green for E L James.

The Fifty Shades of Grey author has topped Forbes' list of top-earning authors, her kink-laden literary saga fueling a pop-culture phenomenon that has since spawned a merchandising blitz, culinary spoof and high-profile movie adaptation that's currently in production.

Not too shabby for a tome that started out as Twilight fan fiction.

Per Forbes, James, who became the fastest-selling author in history after moving 70 million units of Grey in its first eight months, pocketed a cool $95 million between June 2012 and June 2013, including a reported $5 million for the movie rights. The film adaptation, which is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, is expected to hit theaters in August 2014.

Hunger Games, Book Cover

Coming in second on the list is James Patterson, with $91 million in earnings buoyed by his Witch & Wizard and Maximum Ride series, followed by Suzanne Collins, whose Hunger Games YA saga funneled $55 million into her coffers.

Other authors who made the cut include Fox firebrand Bill O'Reilly ($28 million, goosed by his Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy books), four-decade romance mainstay Danielle Steel ($26 million), conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Dan Brown ($22 million) and the prolific Stephen King ($20 million).

And although Harry Potter is far, far behind in her rear-view mirror, J.K. Rowling still managed to score a berth on the list.

She earned $13 million last year and stayed on the radar thanks to her first non-Potter novel, The Casual Vacancy, as well as her surprise crime thriller The Cuckoo's Calling, which she wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Sneaky, sneaky.

  • Share
  • Tweet

We and our partners use cookies on this site to improve our service, perform analytics, personalize advertising, measure advertising performance, and remember website preferences. By using the site, you consent to these cookies. For more information on cookies including how to manage your consent visit our Cookie Policy.