Thriller author James Patterson has topped a Forbes.com list of the world's best paid authors with an income of $70 million US last year.
Patterson, author of more than 50 bestsellers including the Alex Cross and Maximum Ride series, recently signed a deal to write 17 more books by the end of 2012.
|Top-earning authors (Forbes.com)|
|James Patterson: $70M|
|Stephenie Meyer: $40M|
|Stephen King: $34M|
|Danielle Steele: $32M|
|Ken Follett: $20M|
|Dean Koontz: $18M|
|Janet Evenovich: $16M|
|John Grisham: $15M|
|Nicholas Sparks: $14M|
|J.K. Rowling: $10M|
Patterson, 63, came in ahead of Twilight author Stephenie Meyer with $40 million and horror master Stephen King with $34 million in income.
All three earned money from film and TV rights, gaming and other merchandise deals, as well as from their bestselling books.
Others in the multi-million dollar club included romance writers Danielle Steele, Nicholas Sparks and Janet Evanovitch as well as J.K. Rowling, whose Harry Potter series continues to be a money spinner.
Ken Follett, whose The Pillars of the Earth has been adapted for TV, earned $20 million while U.S. author Dean Koontz earned $18 million with The Husband, which was optioned for film.