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The 20 Richest Authors in the World

J.K. Rowling

No one would have thought that writing could make millions, if not billions, of dollars. To be an author, all you need is a pen and a book. The good thing about writing is that you can be an author and run other errands simultaneously.

Top authors have frequently appeared on the list of the wealthiest persons in the world. These gifted people produce captivating books persuading the reader to purchase subsequent works.

A writer could opt to have their work non-fiction or fictional, depending on their preference. Even though not all writers are millionaires like J.K Rowling, most writers have made a fortune from their writing prowess. Below are the 20 wealthiest authors in the world as of 2022.

Dan Brown

20. Dan Brown Net Worth - $165 million

Dan Brown is an American-based author known for his captivating novels that blend the themes of conspiracies, art, and cryptography well. According to masterclass, Dan was a songwriter before writing his best-selling novels.

With more than 200 million copies of his books worldwide, most of his novels are more controversial. This is especially the case with the stories featuring Robert Langdon for the religious perspective portrayed.

"The Da Vinci Code" novel threw Dan into the limelight. In 2016, a movie was made from this novel that featured Tom Hanks. Other famous books from this author include "Digital Fortress" and "Angels and Demons."

19. Michael Crichton Net Worth - $175 million

Michael was an American author with an amassed wealth of $175 million as of 2008 when he died. He began his career as an author in 1996 after writing his "Odds On" novel.

This boom was about a hotel robbery planned by a computer program. He wrote his bestseller in 1969, dubbed the "Andromeda Strain." The science-fiction novel narrates about a killer virus originating from outer space. Michael has sold at least 200 million copies of his works worldwide. He has more than one dozen books adapted into films.

18. Jackie Collins Net Worth - $180 million

Jackie Collins was an English actress and novelist. She has remained to be among the most prolific authors in British. Jackie has 32 published books under her name. Eight of these books have already been consumed in the film industry, like "The Stud" and "The Bitch."

All her 32 books have been listed in the N.Y. Times as bestsellers. She has sold over 500 million copies of her works worldwide that have been translated into 40 languages. Jackie died of Breast Cancer in 2015, aged 77 years. Her legacy has, however, lived on.

17. Dean Koontz Net Worth - $185 million

Dean Koontz is another American author who made it to the list of the wealthiest authors in 2022. The author is known for his skill in writing thrill novels that are full of suspense.

Dean's works are primarily in Orange County, where he combines mystery, science, fiction, horror, and satire themes. Currently, Koontz has 105 published novels already translated into 38 languages. Dean's best-known works include "The face of fear," "Demon Seed," "Watchers," and "Lemon seed." Dean also published another novel in 2020 known as "Elsewhere."

16. Jeffrey Archer Net Worth - $198 million

Jeffrey is among the renowned English novelists. Born in 1940, Jeffrey joined politics immediately after graduating from the University of Oxford. According to Famousauthors, However, he resigned from politics after encountering a financial scandal.

Following that, Jeffrey published his debut novel, "Not a Penny More," which got him so much money that he used to pay back debts. After his first novel made a huge success, Archer continued publishing other bestsellers, which include "Nothing Ventured" and "Prison Diaries." He has so many other books that have made him some fortune.

15. Allison Dubois Net Worth - $200 million

Allison is an author and a psychic with an estimated net worth of $200 million. She has used her psychic skills to solve crimes through her work as a medium. She has written four books, all of which are based on psychic phenomena.

14. R.L Stine Net Worth - $200 million

Stine is an American producer and writer with an estimated net worth of $200 million. He is renowned for his "Goosebumps" and "Fear Street" works. Stine has sold more than 400 million copies to date all over the world.

After graduating from Ohio State University, he moved to New York, where he began writing kids' comedies. His first kids' horror book, Blind Date, was published in 1980. He has become one of the wealthiest authors from one of the improbable genres of literature.

13. Tom Clancy Net Worth - $300 million

Clancy is among the wealthiest authors in the world, with an estimated net worth of $300 million. He is renowned for his military science plots and intricate spy plans before and after the cold war. Some of his books have been adopted by Hollywood to produce blockbuster movies.

An example is The Hunt for Red October. He has more than 17 bestsellers and with over 100 million copies of his works sold out. This writer's works have been adapted into movies and video games.

One of his famous movie from his work is the "Patriot Games. According to Complex, 17 of his books reached position 1 in the N.Y. Times list of best sellers.

12. Olivia Harrison Net Worth - $300 million

Olivia was born in 1948 in Mexico City. She is the widow of George Harrison, a renowned member of The Beatles Band. Olivia has contributed to books relating to The Beatles.

She is also a co-writer of "Living in the Material World" by George Harrison. She is currently believed to be worth $300 million, making her among the world's wealthiest authors.

11. Barbara Taylor Bradford Net Worth - $300 million

Barbara is an American-British Novelist. She is known for selling more than 80 million copies of her works in at least 90 countries. Most people recognize her from her debut book, "A woman of Substance," which accelerated her literacy career.

Her series continued with six more works that affirmed her as a prominent literary figure. This series is about a young and underprivileged lady, Emma Harte, who is trying to improve in life.

This book was published in 1979 and has remained one of the best-selling books in her career. Her novels are close to 140, selling 90 million copies. She has also been featured by Robert Bradford, her husband, in his films.

10. Pleasant Rowland Net Worth - $310 million

Born in 1941 in Chicago, Pleasant is a prolific writer with an estimated net worth of $310 million. She is an American author, entrepreneur, educator, and reporter.

According to Womeninwisconsin, Rowland is the founder of the American Girl brand that involves books, dolls, and similar merchandise made for children. Most fans of her series can recall how Pleasant's books teach about history while delivering captivating stories at the same time.

9. John Grisham Net Worth - $357 million

Joining our list is John Grisham, whose writing works are mainly crime-based. His best-known works include "The Firm," "Time to kill," and "The Pelican Brief." After graduating in law from the University of Missouri, John was appointed to the H.R. (House of Representatives) in 1984.

You can tell that John's novels are inspired mainly by his political and legal background. His works are based primarily in South America.

8. Danielle Steel Net Worth - $366 Million

Danielle is another author that has made a fortune from her writing skills. She has written some best-selling novels for at least four decades now. Danielle has already sold more than 800 million copies of her work all over the world.

As a child, Danielle always dreamt of becoming a nun, but she eventually found a career in writing. Her first work was "Going Home," published in 1973. After her debut novel, Steel published other books, with romance being her primary genre.

Danielle has been named one of the best living authors by the Guinness Book of Records.

7. Nora Roberts Net Worth - $400 million

Nora Roberts is another rich author with at least 215 best-selling books. Most of Nora's work revolves around the romance genre. Born in 1950, Nora is among the first authors to be consumed into the America Hall of Fame of Romance Writers.

She has managed to sell more than 500 million copies of her works that have been translated into over 12 languages. Nora is among the wealthiest authors who have published at least one book annually in her writing career. Her most significant works include "The Witness," "Vision in White," and "Naked in Death."

6. Stephen King Net Worth -$405 million

Stephen is among the most proficient authors alive. Without any doubt, Stephen is the king of horror books. His estimated net worth in 2022 is $400 million. Stephen is believed to have more than 58 published novels, among them six non-fiction books.

He has sold more than 350 million copies of his works all over the world. Among the best-known works from Stephen King include "Carrie," "It," and "The Shinning." Most of Stephen's works have already been made into movies.

5. Paulo Coelho Net Worth - $512 million 

Paulo is a Brazilian author known for his famous novel "The Alchemist." He has sold over 65 million copies of his work worldwide that have been translated into at least 12 languages. According to Famousauthors, Paulo was born in Rio de Janeiro and became an author at the age of 39.

This was after he tried many other professions unsuccessfully. Paulo Coelho has also written more than 26 books, not forgetting that he has been jailed due to his political views.

4. Candy Spelling Net Worth - $600 million

Candy is an American author, T.V. personality, philanthropist, and theatre producer. She is the wife of Aaron Spelling, a famous T.V. producer in America. Among her bestsellers include her autobiography and stories from Candyland.

After Aaron died, Candy became the automatic heir to Aaron's inheritance. Candy has an estimated net worth of $600 million.

3. James Patterson Net Worth - $800 million

People have named James Patterson the king of thrillers. That tells you that James writes thrilling series, some featuring Alex Cross, the psychologist. James was born in New York in the year 1947 and has grown to become among the most successful authors in the world.

Some of the best works from James Patterson include "Cross My Heart," "Mary, Mary," and "Spider." With the diversity in writing different genres, most of James' novels are known to be page-turners.

JK Rowling

2. J.K. Rowling Net Worth - $1.06 billion

J.K. Rowling is a household name in the world of the wealthiest authors. With an estimated net worth of $1.06 billion, J.K. is among the richest authors all over the world. Most people recognize her for her evergreen novel "Harry Potter.

She got the wizardry school idea after being caught on a delayed train between London and Manchester. She published "Harry Potter" in 1997 after being rejected by several publishers. After one year, Harry Potter became a best-selling book.

The success of her book came with the Harry Potter movie that made Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe the stars they are. Since that time, Rowling has published other best-selling adult novels.

1. Élisabeth Badinter Net Worth - $1.7 billion

Élisabeth is a French philosopher, historian, and author with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion. She is known for her intelligent writing works on feminism and the place women have in society. This is what has made her gain a reputation.

In a magazine survey in 2010, Élisabeth became the most influential intellectual in France. According to Forbes, she is the largest shareholder in Publicis Groupe, an advertising and public relations company with up to 19 million shares.


Writing is among the most lucrative careers in the world. Some people have made a fortune in expressing their literary skills. It is hard to quantify the efforts needed to write a book since it requires both mental and physical energy. As we have listed above, there are so many writers worldwide, some of whom are extremely rich. Some famous works from popular authors have been adapted into films. Most of these authors continue receiving royalties from their books till death.

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Dana Hanson

Written by Dana Hanson

Dana has extensive professional writing experience including technical and report writing, informational articles, persuasive articles, contrast and comparison, grant applications, and advertisement. She also enjoys creative writing, content writing on nearly any topic (particularly business and lifestyle), because as a lifelong learner, she loves to do research and possess a high skill level in this area. Her academic degrees include AA social Sci/BA English/MEd Adult Ed & Community & Human Resource Development and ABD in PhD studies in Indust & Org Psychology.

Read more posts by Dana Hanson

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