Patterson, Meyer top Forbes' highest-paid authors

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The Independent Culture

Thriller writer James Patterson and Twilight author Stephenie Meyer top Forbes Magazine's list of the world's highest-paid authors. Released August 19, the list also includes Stephen King, Ken Follett, and J.K. Rowling.

The financial magazine's ranking is based on earnings from books, film rights, television, gaming deals, and other income from June 1, 2009, through June 1, 2010.

James Patterson comes in first with an income of $70 million over the course of the year. The prolific thriller writer's success is most prominent in the US, where, says Forbes, one out of every 17 novels purchased is by Patterson.

Stephenie Meyer's wildly successful Twilight series has sold 100 million copies worldwide. The release in June of the third Twilight film contributed to the estimated $40 million Meyer earned, landing her in second place.

Horror writer Stephen King places third ($34 million), followed by romance novelist Danielle Steele ($32 million). At the end of the list of top earners are Nicholas Sparks, whose novels The Last Song and Dear John were both turned into films in 2010, and J. K. Rowling, who continues to earn $10 million per year long after finishing her Harry Potter series.

Ten highest-paid authors:

1. James Patterson ($70M)
2. Stephenie Meyer ($40M)
3. Stephen King ($34M)
4. Danielle Steel ($32M)
5. Ken Follett ($20M)
6. Dean Koontz ($18M)
7. Janet Evanovich ($16M)
8. John Grisham ($15M)
9. Nicholas Sparks ($14M)
10. J. K. Rowling ($10M)