How Rich Are JK Rowling, James Patterson and the Other Top 10 Richest Authors?

When you think of wealthy people, writers might not be the first to come to mind. Yet entertaining readers with books can be remarkably lucrative for some authors. In fact, some of the richest authors in the world may be writers whose books you keep on your bookshelves at home or regularly check out at libraries. Others may surprise you and turn you into a fan of their writing. 

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Using data from Celebrity Net Worth, GOBankingRates pulled from a list of 50 authors to determine who is in the top 10. These are the top 10 richest authors in the world.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Reynaud Julien/APS-Medias/ABACA/Shutterstock (13332520x)John Grisham attending the screening of the movie Adrift and winning the 2018 Lucien Barriere Literary Award for his novel Camino Island during the 44th Deauville American Film Festival in Deauville, France on September 5, 2018.

10. John Grisham

American novelist John Grisham takes 10th place in the top 10 with a net worth of $400 million. 

Several of Grisham’s bestselling legal thrillers including “The Firm” and “The Pelican Brief” have been adapted into blockbuster movies. According to Celebrity Net Worth, Grisham earns between $50 to $80 million in book and movie royalties and advances each year. Fans of “The Firm” will be excited to hear he’s released the sequel to that book 32 years later on Oct. 17, titled “The Exchange.”

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PEN America literary service award recipient Stephen King2018 PEN Literary Gala, New York, USA - 22 May 2018.

9. Stephen King

In ninth place is American horror and supernatural fiction writer Stephen King. King’s net worth is $500 million. 

Often referred to as the King of Horror, King has published more than 60 novels and sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. Some of King’s most popular books include “The Shining,” “Carrie,” “Misery” and “Salem’s Lot.” King released his latest novel, “Holly,” in September 2023.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Historia/Shutterstock (9841867a)A Photographic Study of Rosemary Kennedy Daughter of the United States Ambassador Joseph P.

8. Rose Kennedy

American philanthropist and socialite Rose Kennedy had a net worth of $500 million at the time of her death in 1995. 

Rose was the matriarch of the Kennedy family and the author of her 1974 autobiography “Times to Remember.”

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Arne Dedert/EPA/Shutterstock (8245710b)Brazilian Author Paulo Coelho Talks at an Event For the Future of Reading at the Frankfurt Book Fair In?frankurt Germany 08 October 2014 the World's Largest Book Fair Continues Until 12 October Finland is This Year's Host Country Germany Frankfurt Am MainGermany Frankfurt Book Fair - Oct 2014.

7. Paulo Coelho

Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho takes seventh place among the richest authors in the world with a net worth of $500 million.

Coelho’s novel “The Alchemist” is an international bestseller. Since it was published in 1988, Coelho has published 30 more books. He is also a lyricist and worked as a songwriter. His latest book is called “Eleven Minutes.”

SAN DIEGO, CA - JULY 22:  Writer/producer Matt Groening attends

6. Matt Groening

In sixth place is American cartoonist Matt Groening with a net worth of $600 million. 

As well as authoring several graphic novels, Groening is the creator of the cartoon series “The Simpsons” which is the longest-running primetime TV series in history. In addition, Groening is a television producer, author and animator.


5. Grant Cardone

Author Grant Cardone holds the fifth place among the world’s richest authors with a net worth of $600 million.

Cardone is the author of numerous business books including the bestselling “The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure.” In addition to being an author, Cardone is the CEO of seven privately held companies and runs 13 business programs.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Peter Dasilva/EPA/Shutterstock (8304272i)California Hall of Fame Inductee Author Danielle Steel Poses On the Red Carpet Before the Induction Ceremony For the California Museum's 'California Hall of Fame' in Sacramento California Usa 01 December 2009 Thirteen Californians Have Been Inducted to the Hall of Fame Including Technology Innovator Andrew S Grove Filmmaker George Lucas Entertainer Carol Burnett and Us Air Force Gen Chuck YeagerUsa California Hall of Fame - Dec 2009.

4. Danielle Steel

With a net worth of $600 million, American author Danielle Steel takes fourth place among the richest authors in the world.

Steel is best known for her romance novels, many of which have occupied the No. 1 spot on The New York Times Best Sellers. She has authored more than 180 books with sales of more than 800 million copies, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Her latest book, “Second Act,” just published Oct. 12 and her next book, “The Ball at Versailles,” is already available for preorder.

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3. Jim Davis

In third place is American cartoonist Jim Davis with a net worth of $800 million. 

Davis is most famous for his international hit comic strip “Garfield” which has been in syndication since 1978. Since its debut, “Garfield” has enjoyed successful spinoffs including a CBS series and television specials written by Davis.

Writer James Patterson at the Los Angeles premiere of his movie

2. James Patterson

American author James Patterson, with a net worth of $800 million, is the second richest author in the world.

Patterson is best known for the “Alex Cross,” “Detective Michael Bennett” and “Women’s Murder Club” novel series. He has written more than 140 novels since 1976 and his books have sold more than 425 million copies worldwide to date. His next book, “Alex Cross Must Die,” releases on Nov. 20.

JK Rowling

1. J.K. Rowling

British author Joanne Rowling, also known as J.K. Rowling, is the richest author in the world with a net worth of $1 billion. 

Rowling is the author of the hit children’s fantasy series “Harry Potter.” The seven-volume series sold over 600 million copies and has been translated into 84 languages. Its worldwide media franchise includes blockbuster films and video games. Rowling, according to Celebrity Net Worth, is the first author in the world to achieve a net worth of $1 billion. Her latest book in the series under her pen name Robert Galbraith, “The Running Grave,” published in April.

Jordan Rosenfeld contributed to the reporting for this article.

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This article originally appeared on How Rich Are JK Rowling, James Patterson and the Other Top 10 Richest Authors?

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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