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

The richest self-made Brits