Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James named top-earning writer for 2012

The Brit succeeded crime writer James Patterson to top the list

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The Independent Culture

The British author EL James has claimed the top spot in Forbes’ list of the highest-earning writers, following the success of the bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.

The author, whose real name is Erika Leonard, succeeded crime writer James Patterson as the highest-earning author on the list. James made $95 million (£61.5 million) in 2012, while Patterson took second place on the list with earnings of $91 million  (£58.8 million).

Fifty Shades of Grey, the debut novel from the Buckinghamshire-born author, sold 70 million copies in eight months. After making more than $1 million a week from the trilogy at the peak of its popularity, it is believed that Ms James received $5 million last year from the book's film rights.

Other writers who featured in the Forbes list include Suzanne Collins, who took third place with $55 million earned from The Hunger Games trilogy. Stephen King, whose 1973 novel Carrie is set to be filmed as a remake later this year, took tenth place with royalties of $20 million.

JK Rowling is among the authors who failed to feature in the top ten this year, after her income of $300 million (£178.7 million) in 2008 saw her take first place. Rowling’s most recent releases have earned her $15 million,  following the publication of The Casual Vacancy in 2012 and The Cuckoo’s Calling in April this year under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith.

The business magazine has said that it collected the statistics for the chart with “sales data, published figures and information from industry sources.”