Forbes magazine recently released its list of the highest earning authors. It seems all those commercials James Patterson has spent a pretty penny making, has paid off. He topped the list with $84 million from May 2010-April 2011, more than twice that of the No. 2 highest earner, Danielle Steel. The number 3 spot went to Stephen King, who earned $28 million, in fourth place was Janet Evanovich at $22 million, and finally Stephanie Meyer at $21 million.

He’s a breakdown of the top ten:
1.  James Patterson– $84 million between May 2010 and April 2011 and signed a 17-book, $150-million contract with HachetteBook Group.

2. Danielle Steel – The romance novelist makes the 2011 list with earnings of $35 million.

3. Stephen King– The thriller/mystery/horror master raked in $28 million during the 12 months tracked for this list.

4. Janet Evanovich-The second-highest earner out of the three women on this list, Evanovich, author of the best selling “Stephanie Plum” series, earned $22 million.

5. Stephenie Meyer-Meyer, the author of the famed “Twilight” series, didn’t actually publish anything this year, but she still managed to make $21 million.

6.Rick Riordan – yet another superstar in the young adult market – also made $21 million this past year. Riordan writes the bestselling “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” series, recently made into a film in the US.

7. Dean Koontz– The science fiction author and many time bestseller  earned $19 million over the past year. Koontz is most famous for his books “Demon Seed” and “Strangers.”

8. John Grisham–  not only made $18 million this year, he’s one of only three authors to sell over two million copies of a book in its first printing (in good company with Tom Clancy and J.K. Rowling).

9. Jeff Kinney–  author of the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series, made $17 million this past year.

10. Nicholas Sparks– The quintessential romance novelist made $16 million to hit the No. 10 spot on the list.

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