James Patterson ($70 million)
America’s richest author sold more than 5.5 million domestic units during our scoring period
James Patterson is one of the greatest writers of our times. He has not only made himself renowned because of his writing skills but also due to his massive net worth of 800 million dollars. The only other writer who makes more than Patterson is J. K. Rowling. Patterson holds the title for being the wealthiest American author. The thing that makes his massive net worth more amazing is that he gained it by selling massive volumes of his books instead of getting money from movie or TV deals although he also has many TV and movies deals.
In USA, one out of every 17 hardcover books sold, is a book by James Patterson. He has currently sold more than 350 million copies of his books and is also the first person to have hit the mark of selling 1 million e-Books. He also currently holds the Guinness World Record for the “most #1 New York Times bestsellers”.
Since 1976, Patterson has written more than 150 books. He has to his name 114 of the New York Times Best Selling novels and also holds the title of “The New York Times record for most #1 New York Times bestsellers” by a single author which is 67 books and a Guinness World Record.
Back in 2015, an estimated amount of 14 million copies of his books were sold in 38 different languages on Kindle. It might come as a surprise to most Patterson’s fans; he does not use a computer. He is old fashioned in this regard, as he writes his novels on longhand on legal pad and later has his assistant type them. Oh, by the way did we mention that he sells more books even than Stephen King, Dan Brown and John Grishman? Well he sells more than them and actually quite a lot more than them.
How does he do it all? Well, to tell our readers, he has single handedly created the modern template for successful novelists.
Patterson was the PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University when he landed his first job in the advertising. He spent nearly 25 years of his life in advertising industry and rose through the ranks at the ad agency named “J. Walter Thomas”. He was finally named the creative editor for the agency. He left his job back in 1996 despite he had been the published author for more than past two decades at that time.
Dozens of publishers rejected his first book titled “The Thomas Berryman Number” which was finally published at Little, Brown; his home town. The book was released back in 1976 and sold a decent amount of 10000 copies.
After this first novel, he wrote many other novels following the trend of the entertainment. In 1980- he wrote a book titled “Virgin” about a demonic child that had been inspired from the 1968’s film titled “Rosemary’s baby”. When the film titled “Wall Street” was popular in 1987, he also wrote a book on Wall Street with title “Black Market” a thriller novel.
After that in 1993, he wrote a book titled “Along Came the Spider”. At that time he told hi publishers to put the ad for the book on TV screens which set the template for the blockbuster author. The publisher balked at the proposal and then Patterson who was in ad business decided to finance it by his own pocket. Seeing the rise in popularity, the publisher then shared the cost to roll the ad in multiple cities.
This book was later debuted as the No. 9 on the “New York Times hardcover best-seller” list and No. 2 in paperback. The book remains to be the Patterson’s best selling book with over five million print copies being sold to this day.
Patterson, along with his ads used his advertising background to build up his audience and did it methodically. He got in their faces and basically said, “Buy My Book, Now”.
With his advertising background and his exceptional writing skills, the author who is currently 71 years old has made a fortune of 800 million dollars for himself. As of today Patterson and his wife Sue both live in a house in Palm Beach, Florida.