Each year, Forbes business magazine releases its list of the world’s top-grossing authors, this time ranked by their earnings from June 2012 to June 2013. Naturally, the list inspires other writers to try harder, and makes some writers – and the reading public – shake their heads in wonder. For better or worse:
• E.L. James, $95 million: British TV executive Erika Leonard was posting online fan fiction based on characters from Stephenie Meyer’s book “Master of the Universe” when she took it to the next level. Under the pseudonym E.L. James, her fleshed-out stories about another writer’s creations took off word-of-mouth, resulting in the amateurishly written “Fifty Shades of Grey” bondage trilogy.
• James Patterson, $91 million: Try this statistic: One out of every 17 hardcover books sold in the Unite States has his byline on it, reports Forbes.
• Suzanne Collins, $55 million: “The Hunger Games” trilogy crossed over from the young-adult demographic to adult readership. The film version of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is due in theaters Nov. 22.
• Bill O’Reilly, $28 million: The Fox News rabble-rouser scored with the absorbing “Killing Lincoln” and “Killing Kennedy.” Next is “Killing Jesus.”
• Danielle Steel, $26 million: The longtime queen of the sexy romance novel has published 128 titles, including nonfiction, children’s books and poetry. Poetry? Really?
• Jeff Kinney, $24 million: Every schoolkid knows about the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series; an eighth title is due in November.
• Janet Evanovich, $24 million: Her best-selling Stephanie Plum series will get an addition in November with “Takedown Twenty.” The author will appear for the Bee Book Club on Nov. 21.
• Nora Roberts, $23 million: “I have a fast pace, and I really love what I do,” she once told me. Translation: more than 200 romance novels in multiple series.
• Dan Brown, $22 million: Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is Brown’s BFF and the star of “Angels and Demons,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “The Lost Symbol” and the recently released “Inferno.”
• Stephen King, $20 million: The horror-meister launched his career with “Carrie.” The movie version shocked the nation in 1976, and will do so again with the remake, due Oct. 18. Also, the book sequel to “The Shining” is set for Sept. 24.
• Dean Koontz, $20 million: Of the many characters created by the master of the macabre, the most likable is Odd Thomas, the young fry cook from Pico Mundo, Calif. Odd has the ability to see and communicate with the lingering dead, a gift (or curse) that has led him into many tight spots in six novels.
• John Grisham, $18 million: The legal-thriller specialist most recently scored with “The Racketeer,” one of 2012’s best books. Next up is “Sycamore Row,” due in October.
• David Baldacci, $15 million: The former Washington, D.C., lawyer hasn’t looked back since his 1996 debut, “Absolute Power,” was made into a movie starring Clint Eastwood. Twenty-five titles have followed.
• Rick Riordan, $14 million: Fantasy marries classic mythology in his series for children and young adults. His “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” is in theaters.
• J.K. Rowling, $13 million: Yes, she wrote “The Casual Vacancy” and the much-buzzed “The Cuckoo’s Calling” for the adult market, but it was young Harry Potter who will always have the final word.
• George R.R. Martin, $12 million: Adventure and intrigue saturate his ongoing fantasy epic, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” TV adaptation doesn’t get any better than HBO’s “Game of Thrones” series, the first title in “Ice and Fire.” Look for the sixth title, “The Winds of Winter,” in 2014.
Meet John Lescroart
What are you doing for lunch Oct. 10? How about breaking bread with A-list authors John Lescroart, (“The Ophelia Cut”), James Rollins (“The Eye of God”) and Allison Brennan (“Stolen”) at “Inside the Creative Mind.”
Author presentations, panel discussions, Q&A sessions and book signings are on the menu. The theme: How did the writers become New York Times best-selling authors, and what inspires them? Moderator will be Associated Press book reviewer Jeff Ayers.
The shebang will be 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Folsom Community Center, 52 Natomas St., Folsom. Tickets are $75 at www.sierrafoothills.
assistanceleague.org, as well as the El Dorado Hills Welcome Center, Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, the Almost Perfect Bookstore in Roseville, Avid Reader in Sacramento and the Bookery in Placerville. Information: (916) 549-3869.
What are some of the nation’s book-savvy librarians recommending to readers? Find out from LibraryReads, a program that name-drops “newly published books that librarians love.”
• “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell
• “How the Light Gets In” by Louise Penny
• “Night Film” by Marisha Pessl
• “Help for the Haunted” by John Searles
• “The Returned” by Jason Mott
• “Burial Rites” by Hannah Kent
• “Margot” by Jillian Cantor
• “Songs of Willow Frost” by Jamie Ford (the Bee Book Club’s choice for Sept. 26)
• “Five Days at Memorial” by Sheri Fink
• “A House in the Sky” by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
• Alicia Funk for “Living Wild: Gardening, Cooking and Healing With Native Plants of California,” 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, 1900 Alhambra Blvd.; (916) 455-2667.
• Sherry Joyce for the romantic-suspense novel “The Dordogne Deception,” 6 p.m. Friday at Face in a Book, 4359 Town Center Blvd., El Dorado Hills; (916) 941-9401. French music, raffle items and wine-tasting. Pre-event happy hour at Bistro 33 across the street, 4:30-6:00 PM
Sept. 4: Oral storytellers Regina Brink, Mary McGrath and Terry Chekon will speak on the theme “Open a Book, Open a New Door” for the Straight Talk Storytellers program, 7 p.m. at Avid Reader at the Tower, 1600 Broadway, Sacramento; (916) 441-4400.
Sept. 10: Capital Public Radio’s book club, CapRadio Reads, will continue at 6:30 p.m. with a discussion about “Stoner” by John Williams. Free. The book club hosts meetings the second Tuesday of each month in the station’s Community Room, 7055 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento. Register at www.capradio.org/books.
Sept. 10: Thomas Peisel for “A Field Guide to Lucid Dreaming,” 6 p.m. at the Central Library, 828 I St., Sacramento; (916) 264-2700.
Sept. 10: Lawrence Tom for “Locke and the Sacramento Delta Chinatowns,” 6 p.m. at Belle Cooledge Library, 5600 S. Land Park Drive, Sacramento; (916) 264-2700.
Sept. 14: Sam Halpern for “A Far Piece to Canaan,” 7:30 p.m. at Avid Reader, 617 Second St., Davis; (530) 758-4040.
Sept. 19: Alan Wieder for “Ruth First and Joe Slovo in the War Against Apartheid,” 7 p.m. at Sol Collective, 2574 21st St., Sacramento; (916) 369-5510.
Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter at @apierleonisacbe.