Though the publishing industry is plodding along, some superstar authors certainly aren’t feeling the pinch. Forbes released its list of the highest paid authors Wednesday, and the names will surprise no one, though the amounts pulled in will pop a few eyes.

Topping the list is James Patterson, whose murder mysteries and young adult titles brought him $84 million between May 2010 and April 2011, according to Forbes. With a home run percentage in sales almost as good as baseball’s biggest sluggers on the field, Patterson also signs contracts nearly as lucrative. In 2009, he got a deal with Hachette Book Group to produce 17 books through 2012 that some estimated was worth $150 million to the author.

Not quite on his heels, but not suffering, is the No. 2 on the list, Danielle Steel, with earnings of $35 million during the year. She is followed by Stephen King, at $28 million, Janet Evanovich, at $22 million and Stephenie Meyer at $21 million.

And where is one-time mega author, J.K. Rowling? With no more new Harrys, except on the screen, Rowling hits the list at $5 million.

But who’s counting?


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