Erika Leonard aka E.L. James has made her debut on Forbes’ top-earning authors of 2013 list and crushed the competition. The British Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy author came in at No. 1 with an estimated $95 million in earnings.
Forbes’ annual list is based on sales data, published figures and information from industry sources from June 2012 and June 2013. The 50-year-old British author’s series, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed — are the only books she has written so far. According to Forbes, Fifty Shades of Grey sold more than 70 million copies in the U.S. during the first eight months it was on stands.
The erotic romance novels began as fan fiction based on Stephenie Meyer’s popular series, The Twilight Saga, which was adapted into five films starring Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson. Like Meyer’s series, an adaptation of James’ Fifty Shades is expected to hit theaters in August 2014.
Number 2 on the Forbes list is veteran author James Patterson, earning a reported $91 million. One out of every 17 hardcover books sold in the U.S. belongs to Patterson, who writes five or more books a year.
Coming in at number 3 is Suzanne Collins for The Hunger Games trilogy. She earned $55 million for science fiction novels, which became a popular film adaptation starring Jennifer Lawrence.
— Fifty Shades Fans (@FiftyShadesRW) February 6, 2014