Richest Authors in the World, Updated

A couple of years ago I wrote a post for another blog where I appear regularly about the Richest Authors in the world.

I thought I'd update that and see if the list had changed.

In 2017, I was surprised by some of the names in the Top 10 of Richest Authors. Names like Jim Davis of Garfield fame.

For all of us working authors who are thrilled to make a living writing, it's difficult to imagine the kind of wealth some of our fellow authors make.

Wealth that enables one to have a Rolls, a private jet, and a mansion beyond belief—not to mention all the luxuries one can afford.

This was the list I put together in 2017, with each author's estimated net worth.

In David Letterman Order

10. Stephenie Meyer- $180 million
9. John Grisham- $200 million
8. Dean Koontz – $275 million
7. Tom Clancy- $300 million
6. James Patterson- $310 million
5. Danielle Steel- $375 million
4. Stephen King- $400 million
3. Candy Spelling- $600 million
2. Jim Davis- $800 million
1. J.K. Rowling- $1 billion

2019 Top 20 Richest Authors in the World

Here's the list also in David Letterman Order. I've put an asterisk by anyone who was on the 2017 list and changed positions on the 2019 list.

20. Suzanne Collins - $80 million. Most of her wealth is from sales of her novels and writing screenplays for numerous TV shows. She was huge back in the 90's in the romance world and continues to be popular.

This multiplied by a million or more!
19. Janet Evanovich - 80 million. Janet started with category romance and made the big sale with her Stephanie Plum franchise.

18. Deepak Chopra - 80 million. Self-improvement, mind-body, spirituality philosopher.

17. Jack Higgins - 86 million.

16. Christopher Little - 86 million. He's NOT a writer and shouldn't be on the list. He was J.K. Rowling's agent from 1996 to 2011. He probably wears a bracelet that says, "luckiest agent EVER."

15. Paul McKenna - 100 million. English hypnotist and writer.

14. Stephanie Meyer* - 125 million. The Twilight series, need I say more. 3 Twilight films grossed $1.8 billion at the global box office.

13. Dean Koontz* - 145 million. Master of the Mixed Genre Thriller.

12. David Oyedepo - 150 million. Nigerian pastor and President/Pastor of Living Faith Church World Wide aka Winners Chapel.

Would you buy a Castle if you made royalties like these authors?
11. Dan Brown - 178 million. The Da Vinci Code etc.

10. Jeffrey Archer - 195 million. English novelist, former politician Member of Parliament.

9. John Grisham* - 220 million. Legal thrillers of course.

8. Nigel Blackwell - 292.5 million. He's a publisher, not a writer. Sold Blackwell Publishing in for 572m Euros.

7. Barbara Taylor Bradford - 300 million. Awarded the OBE for her contributions to literature by Queen Elizabeth II.

6. Danielle Steele* - 310 million. Many consider her a romance novelist, but she's really Women's Fiction with strong romance elements. If you read her unauthorized biography, you'll discover many of her book plots are based on her own life experiences.

5. Nora Roberts - 390 million. We all know the fabulous Nora.

4. Stephen King* - 400 million. We know Mr. Kind too, don't we?

3. James Patterson* - 560 million.

2. J.K. Rowling* - 1 billion. Yep. A cool billion for Joanne Kathleen Rowling.

1. Elisabeth Badinter - 1.3 billion. Huh? I'm a bit embarrassed to admit I'd never heard of Ms. Badinter. I looked her up. She's a French philosopher, author, and historian noted for her philosophical treatises on feminism and women’s role in society. Okay, again. HUH?

Takeaway Truth

If this list shows anything, it shows that belief in your own ideas, voice, and skill coupled with hard work and persistence through the years, pays off in the long run.


  1. I am embarrassed that I haven't heard of most of these people. I guess I am a loyalist and stick with the writers I know and love instead of branching out. And that 1.something billion lady? yeah, that's a head shaker for sure.

  2. Yes, Peggy, I was puzzled by that although I had read all of the others who were actually writers.

  3. Elisabeth Badinter didnt make most of her money writing. She an heiress, she should not even be on the list, it's a travesty to the authors we all know and love. She inherited 19 million shares in some company worth most of her 1.3 or 1.8 Billion depending on the source.