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The year's top earning authors

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While we're used to reading about the enormous pay packets brought home by Hollywood stars, we're less accustomed to seeing how much writers rake in.

So, as Forbes release their annual list of the year's top earning authors, we can all breathe a sigh of relief because guess what, writers have been earning an awful amount of money lately.

At the very top of the list sits James Patterson, best known for his Alex Cross thrillers, who has raked in a gigantic $94 million (£59 million) but then he did release 14 new books in 2011.

Next in the list lies Stephen King who made $39 million (£24 million) from a year which saw a hit new release in 11/22/63 and a new instalment of The Dark Tower series.

Elsewhere in the list, there was a strong showing for young adult novels with Hunger Games scribe Suzanne Collins making $20 million (£12 million) and Twilight enabler Stephenie Meyer bringing in $14 million (£8.9 million). While the success of HBO's Game of Thrones helped George R.R. Martin appear on the list for the first time with $15 million ($9 million).

Here's the full list:

1. James Patterson: $94 million

2. Stephen King: $39 million

3. Janet Evanovich: $33 million

4. John Grisham: $26 million

5. Jeff Kinney, $25 million

6. Bill O’Reilly: $24 million

7. Nora Roberts: $23 million

8. Danielle Steel: $23 million

9. Suzanne Collins: $20 million

10. Dean Koontz: $19 million

11. J.K. Rowling: $17 million

12. George R.R. Martin: $15 million

13. Stephenie Meyer: $14 million

14. Ken Follett: $14 million

15. Rick Riordan: $13 million

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