E.L. James: Not just a rich author -- she’s a rich celebrity


E.L. James has clearly turned paper into gold with her runaway bestseller “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

In its annual tallies of the rich and richer, Forbes puts together lists of the top earners of all kinds: tennis players, models, musicians, comedians and so on. The top author spot this year was dominated by E.L. James, author of the erotic “Fifty Shades” trilogy.

But James didn’t stop there: She makes the Top Earning Celebrities list too, way up in the top 10. In fact, she’s in a three-way tie (no snickering) at No. 3 with TV and satellite-radio man Howard Stern and television producer/star Simon Cowell.


Ahead of the trio are director Steven Spielberg at No. 2 and Madonna, the good old Material Girl, at No. 1. Further down are sports stars, film and television producers and stars, and more singers (Lady Gaga is No. 10).

There’s just one other author keeping company with James on the list: James Patterson, a publishing powerhouse, at No. 4.

Forbes creates its ranking through estimating earnings from June to June; this list counts earnings from 2012-13. “We do not deduct for taxes, agent fees or the other expenses of being a celebrity,” Forbes notes.

That may give authors an edge; with the tools of the trade being computers and pens, they may bear fewer expenses of being a celebrity.


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