The Highest Earning Author in a Single Year

Some authors reach a level of fame that anything they write becomes a best seller. There can be no information released about their upcoming book and they will still top the book charts.

That made us wonder which author had the best year of any author. How much did this author make in a year?

Various Authors to Choose From

There have been a couple of years where a book dominated the charts and that was all everyone was talking about. Two of those books include Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

While both of those books had an amazing year and sold millions of copies, it did not lead to their author having the best year ever. Both books are in the all time best selling books list and that is due to the longevity of the books.

The Highest Earning Author in a Single Year

The author that had the highest earning year is James Patterson who earned $95 million. He earned that between June 1 2019 and June 1 2020. Not all of it was from book sales as $10 million came from a multi-book advance. Patterson sold almost 5 million copies during that span.

Author James Patterson
James Patterson is the best selling author in a single year

Patterson has written over 200 books in his career since 1976 and 114 of those books have made it to the New York Times best selling books list. He also holds the record for the #1 New York Times bestsellers by a single author with 67. That is also a Guinness world record. And lastly, an amazing fact that needs to be mentioned is that his novels account for 6 % of all hardcover novels sold in the United States.

Will He Be Surpassed?

That is an incredible achievement and explains why Patterson is a guaranteed best seller. He has sold over 400 million total copies and that number will keep growing. It is no surprise that he is the king of selling books but that throne might be up for grabs considering how popular colleen Hoover has gotten over the past couple of years.

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5 thoughts on “The Highest Earning Author in a Single Year

  1. mindforbooks says:

    I’m personally rooting for CoHo to take the mantle. She isn’t a go to for me but I do enjoy her on occasion. I just love seeing someone who started off self-publishing on the road to taking over all these big names!

    1. Ahaqir says:

      I am curious as to see how many books she sold this year. Wouldn’t be surprised if it was north of 10 million

  2. Warren Miller says:

    “Patterson has written over 200 books in his career since 1976” – that’s 47 years. Let’s assume he wrote exactly 200 books. Divide 200 by 47, and it works out to about 4-1/4 books per year or one book every 86 days. I wonder how many ‘ghost writers’ Mr. Patterson employs to write books using his name. . . .

    1. Ahaqir says:

      He may or may not have ghostwriters but it is possible. Some authors write a lot of books in a year. The main issue is one book can take about two years to publish but if you work on multiple books at the same time and each is in a different stage, then it is possible. Plus Patterson is a co-author on many books so that won’t take as long.


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