J.K. Rowling is the world’s highest-paid author, Forbes says

J.K. Rowling
(Lefteris Pitarakis / Associated Press)

Harry Potter is all grown up, but he’s still making magic.

J.K. Rowling, creator of the famed boy wizard, was recently named the highest-paid author in the world by Forbes magazine, knocking prolific thriller author James Patterson off his throne.

This is the first time in almost 10 years that Rowling took the No. 1 spot on the annual list.

Rowling earned an estimated $95 million in the period between June 2016 and May 2017, Forbes reports, due in large part to the opening of the blockbuster stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and the release of the movie “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which Rowling wrote and co-produced.


Patterson claimed the No. 2 spot this year, earning $87 million, the magazine estimates. He can take comfort in the fact that Forbes has named him the richest author in the world, however, with an estimated net worth of $700 million, $50 million more than Rowling.

There’s a noticeable drop-off from No. 2 to the rest of the list.

Jeff Kinney, who’s built an empire around his “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” children’s book series, took the No. 3 spot, earning $21 million in a 12-month period. That’s $1 million more than “The Da Vinci Code” author Dan Brown, who landed No. 4. Brown might place higher next year; his novel “Origin” will be published in October.

Rounding out the top five is horror novelist Stephen King, whose book series “The Dark Tower” was recently adapted into a movie. The film was No. 1 at the box office over the weekend despite being savaged by critics.

Two prolific novelists tied for the No. 6 spot. Romance author Nora Roberts and mystery writer John Grisham each earned $14 million in the 12-month period, edging No. 8 author Paula Hawkins, whose novel “The Girl on the Train” was the basis for a movie released last year.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” author E.L. James placed ninth, followed by Danielle Steel and Rick Riordan, who tied at No. 10.


Three notable authors failed to make the list this year. George R.R. Martin, author of the book series that inspired the “Game of Thrones” television show, dropped off the list, as did “The Fault in Our Stars” author John Green and “Divergent” author Veronica Roth. All had made the list in previous years.