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How John Grisham Achieved a Net Worth of $220 Million

John Grisham wrote 47 consecutive #1 bestsellers. These books have been translated into dozens of languages. As a prolific writer, John Grisham has not only received many accolades for his books, but they have also garnered him a significant income.

With several movie adaptations and his novel, A Time for Mercy, being made into an HBO series, John Grisham’s net worth will continue to increase as his works become even more known around the world.

Who is John Grisham?

John Ray Grisham Jr. is a storyteller who started his career as a lawyer. While the legal world may seem very different from the writing world, Grisham acknowledges the importance of his time as a lawyer. He said that his career as a lawyer was a vital part of his writing.

Grisham has said of his time as a lawyer, ” I seriously doubt I would have ever written the first story had I not been a lawyer. I never dreamed of being a writer. I wrote only after witnessing a trial.”’ Fortunately, he did end up realizing the joys of writing, and he used his career as a way to connect his past as a lawyer with his future as a writer.

Born in Jonesboro, Arkansas, on February 8, 1955, Grisham was the second child of John Ray Grisham and Wanda Grisham. When he was four, his family moved to Mississippi, which is close to Memphis, Tennessee. His upbringing has often been an integral part of his stories, and he often writes from what he knows, including many childhood memories.

While he initially wanted to play baseball when he was a child, he eventually decided going to college was the right choice for him. While it took him three colleges, he finally earned a degree and then went to law school. His goal was to become a tax lawyer, but his decision changed again, and he became interested in civil litigation. This decision would shape his future career in writing and transform his life.

His Life as a Lawyer

For around ten years, he worked as a lawyer before getting into politics and becoming a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, serving the seventh district.

Grisham is also known for political activism. For example, he is on the board of directors for the Innocence Project. The Innocence Project uses DNA evidence to fight wrongful convictions, which stem from systemic problems. Grisham has also spoken against the prison system and harsh penalties, especially against communities that face societal prejudices.

His passion for what he does has resulted in his success and ability to craft his experiences and perception of the world into powerful stories.

Grisham’s Writing Career

Grisham’s writing career began because he was inspired by a case where a young girl told a jury about being raped, and it was that story that inspired his book, A Time to Kill. It took him a lot of work to get his story published because it was rejected by 28 publishers.

It was Grisham’s second novel, The Firm, that made him the prolific author he is today. The book would begin his reign as one of the top writers in the industry, and it would establish his long-held place on best-selling lists. The Firm also was adapted into a film starring Tom Cruise.

Grisham has worked in a few niches, but his main area of expertise is as a legal fiction writer, which draws upon his time as a lawyer. Most of his published works have been novels, but he also has a YA series, several short stories, a couple of audio-only books, and three non-fiction books.

John Grisham has had a long career in the industry, which has boosted his earnings and has given him credibility as an important modern writer.

What Is John Grisham’s Net Worth?

So, what is John Grisham’s net worth? With all his books and film adaptations, Grisham’s net worth is expected to be around $220 million, and he is in the top ten richest authors. Other estimates suggest his net worth is a little higher at $400,000,000, but either way, Grisham is doing pretty well, and there’s no doubt that he is one of the wealthiest writers due to his lucrative career.

His early successes were comparatively modest compared to his present earnings, but the momentum from his early works allowed him to build a strong foundation for his writing career and establish himself as an unstoppable writer. Over the years, he has been able to get larger royalty percentages, and publishers invest more money into Grisham because they know he is sure to be successful in whatever he does.

The following chart, compiled by data from The Richest, shows estimated earnings for some of the key years of Grisham’s career. While this list is not exhaustive, it gives a good idea of Grisham’s income stream. It shows how his modest but sizable early career blossomed greatly, especially as he started to adapt works and become more mainstream.

Earnings Milestones

Estimated Earnings for Key Years
1991 $700,000 royalties for The Firm
1993 $100,000 from The Firm
1996 $6M for A Time to Kill
2000 $36M total revenue
2003 $8,000,000 for Runaway Jury
2008 $25M royalties
2011 $1M for The Litigators
2012 $27.5M royalties
2013 $17M royalties
2014 $14M royalties
2015 $18M royalties

How Does John Grisham Make His Money?

John Grisham’s main income at this point in his writing career, but earlier in his career, he earned income from being a lawyer and a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives from the seventh district. However, his career writing legal thrillers is his most prominent income stream, and he is one of the most prominent writers. With many bestsellers, Grisham has sold more than 300 million books. He has also become one of only three authors who have sold over two million book copies on their first printing.

Many of his works have received not just popularity but also critical acclaim. A New York Times review said of Grisham’s third Jake Brigance book, A Time for Mercy, “The novel is a nuanced, sensitive portrait of a particular time and place in a rural south still riven by racial discord…”.

Grisham has also received achievements like the Library of Congress Award for Fiction, The Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, and the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement to name a few. The acclaim has led to the validation of Grisham’s work, and has added to his reputation as a prolific and talented writer.

Books into Films

Adaptations mark a massive part of Grisham’s career. The following works have all been adapted into films:

  • The Firm
  • A Painted House
  • Skipping Christmas
  • The Client
  • The Pelican Brief
  • The Chamber
  • The Runaway Jury
  • The Rainmaker

These film adaptations have been significant in Grisham’s net worth. TV adaptations for A Time for Mercy and The Firm add to Grisham’s portfolio. Additionally, the TV series The Client, The Street Lawyer (TV pilot)and The Innocent Man were inspired by Grisham’s works.

Grisham has always been ambitious with his career, fighting to have his work seen. His love of writing and telling stories is what makes him such a good writer, but it is his ambition that keeps his career-relevant, allowing him to use his reputation to produce the work that speaks to his creativity.

Will John Grisham Continue to Make a Lot of Money

John Grisham doesn’t seem to be slowing down! With an HBO adaptation of A Time for Mercy in the works and John Grisham continuing to write more books, it’s likely that we’ll see much more from Grisham. Plus, for more insight into Grisham and his process, Grisham has a podcast called, “Book Tour with John Grisham,” which is adding to his busy work life and content production.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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