British author tops highest-earning list

50 shades of GreyThe annual Forbes list of the world's highest-earning authors is a fairly traditional place: home to those who crank out bestsellers at a furious pace, have their novels snapped up for cinema, and are not ashamed to embrace romance, mystery or action.

There are certain established names that come up year after year, but this year there's a new entrant straight in at number one: so which Brit took the top spot?
It's not JK Rowling - who came in at number 15 with earnings of $13 million - off the back of her adult fiction, A Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling (published under the pen name Robert Galbraith).

And the number one earner doesn't write dozens of thrillers, romances, teen fiction or mysteries like most of the top ten. In fact she only has three novels to her name.

The queen of publishing this year is an unusual phenomenon...

E.L. James $95 million

Just in case there was any doubt what-so-ever as to whether sex sells, EL James has answered the question, earning an astonishing $95 million for her Shades of... sex trilogy. She has even had film rights purchased for a release next year.

James Patterson $91 million

This prolific producer of thrillers has been rewarded for his phenomenal output with the number one spot in this list for years, so second place is a rude awakening. However, his crossover into teenage books as well as his thrillers, magic and superhero fiction, will keep him in contention for next year. After-all, apparently one in four of all hardback books sold in the US are written by Patterson.

Suzanne Collins $55 million

Best-known as the writer behind the Hunger Games trilogy, Collins had a big boost from the film release. She continues to add to her cannon of teenage fiction, and is working on a picture book for younger children.

Bill O'Reilly $28 million

You would be forgiven for never having heard of the US Fox News presenter. However, he has made a fortune from his historical books: Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy, which have been snapped up by fans of his right-wing columns and commentary.

Danielle Steel $26 million

Where would this list be without the prolific authoress who has almost 130 books to her name - knocking out about three a year? She's best known for her romances, but can turn her hand to anything from children's fiction to poetry. She is also the mother of nine children and has written the lyrics to two albums currently being recorded in France.

Jeff Kinney $24 million

The 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series earned a good portion of this fortune - with eight books and three films on the back of his characters. He is also a website and game designer, cartoonist and actor - and even appeared in one of the Wimpy Kid films.

Janet Evanovich $24 million

The name behind the Stephanie Plum detective series says her husband, son and daughter now all work for her, managing the business and promotion side of her work - while she cranks out the mysteries. She is a self-confessed workaholic - which probably helps keep the cash rolling in.

Nora Roberts $23 million

The bodice-ripper market-leader started writing in 1979 and published her first book in 1981: she hasn't stopped working since. She met her second husband when she hired him to build bookshelves.

Dan Brown $22 million

His fortune comes from the enormous popularity of his mysteries featuring Robert Langdon. Much of these earnings came from the third in the installment, Inferno, which still has a long way to go before it matches the runaway success of The Da Vinci Code.

Stephen King $20 million

He published his first novel in 1974 and is still going strong after all these years. The king of horror is enjoying a resurgence of popularity after 'Under the Dome' took TV viewers by storm. The sequel to The Shining has also been responsible for a good chunk of his recent sales.

The richest self-made Brits
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British author tops highest-earning list

The Monaco-based billionaire is said to be worth more than £4.2bn, with Topshop and Topman among the country's most successful brands. His first job, aged 12, was working for a shoe importer. He set up his first business at 15 with a £20,000 loan, on-selling imported jeans from the Far East to London-based retailers.

Branson's first successful business venture came in 1976 when he set up Student magazine aged just 16. In 1970, he founded a mail-order record retailer and within a year had opened his first shop on London's Oxford Street – Virgin Records. His fortune is estimated at £3.085 billion, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

The inventor gave his name to the household vacuum cleaner that would make him a fortune of £1.45 billion. James Dyson first reinvented the vacuum cleaner with the launch of his dual cyclone bagless 'G-Force' cleaner in 1983, followed more recently by the hand dryer and the fan. In 1997, Dyson was awarded the Prince Phillip Designers Prize, and elected a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Engineering in 2005.

Founder of Specsavers, Bristol-born Dame Mary Perkins is Britain's first female self-made billionaire, reportedly worth £1.15 billion. The 67-year-old and her husband Douglas, 68, founded the eye-care company in 1984 and they can now boast more than 900 stores across Britain. Perkins was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2007 as recognition for her work.

Recently retired Beckham is the highest earner in British sport, according to the Sunday Times Sport Rich List. 'Brand Beckham' that has seen the 38-year-old amass a fortune of £165 million from endorsement deals and salary payments from his company, Footwork Productions, over the last decade. But Beckham is still some way off the richest sportsman in the world - golfer Tiger Woods, who is worth a staggering £570m.

Yorkshire Tory peer Lord Kirkham entered the billionaire league in 2010 when he sold his furniture company, DFS, for a reported £500m. In 41 years, Kirkham grew the brand, which started on the outskirts of Doncaster, to 79 stores, three factories and more than 2,600 staff. He received a Knighthood in 1995, a Peerage in 1999 and a CVO in 2005. He now owns a large share in Iceland supermarkets and is worth a reported £1.1billion.

The former Beatle takes the top spot in the Sunday Times Rich List of musical millionaires, sharing a £680 million fortune with his wife Nancy Shevell. McCartney has topped the list of wealthy musicians every year since it was formed 1989 when his fortune was estimated at £80 million.

The chairman of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk, Essex-born Dunstone, 46, started his retail empire selling mobile phones from his west London flat in 1989. His fortune rose by £396 million to £1 billion in a year, after the demerger of Carphone Warehouse and Talk Talk. Carphone Warehouse is Europe's largest independent mobile phone retailer and Dunstone was awarded a Knighthood in 2012 for services to the mobile communications industry.

Author of the hugely successful Harry Potter series, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, has a net worth of £560 million – making her the world's richest author. Rowling wrote the first Potter books on a manual typewriter while a single mother living on benefits. The manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel was rejected by 12 publishers and when finally accepted, Rowling received an advance of just £1,500. Harry Potter is the highest-grossing film series of all-time and the brand has been estimated to be worth as much as £10 billion.

East-ender Lord Sugar, best known for his no-nonsense judging on BBC1s The Apprentice, started his career at 16, selling car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he had bought with savings of £50. In 1968 at the age of 21, Sugar started home electronics company, Amstrad (short for Alan Michael Sugar Trading). By the age of 40 he was worth about £600m. Sir Alan sold Amstrad in 2007, and is now worth a reported £770m, with much of his wealth coming from his extensive property empire.


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