November 20, 2015

Who are the richest writers?


courtesy of

It’s awards season, and some high profile winners have already been announced: The Nobel went to Svetlana Alexeivich, Marlon James received the Man Booker, and Ta-Nehisi Coates claimed the National Book Award for nonfiction. Our very own Kate Hamer, author of The Girl in the Red Coatfrom which you can read an excerpt here—was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award. Even Don DeLillo got in on the action with a National Book Foundation lifetime achievement award.

Enjoy it while it lasts, you titans of contemporary literature. Because we all know that there’s only one short-list that matters.

Yes, weighing in at a combined net worth of $1.5 billion, the ten richest writers in the New York area, per The Observer’s Rich List:

1. Candy Spelling, Net worth $600M

2. Barbara Taylor Bradford, Net worth: $300M

3. R. L. Stine, Net worth: $200M

4. Mary Higgins Clark, Net worth: $110M

5. Bill O’Reilly, Net worth: $85M

6. Tom Brokaw, Net worth: $70M

7. Suzanne Collins, Net worth: $65M

8. Wendy Williams, Net worth: $60M

9. (Tie) Carole Radziwill, Net worth: $50M

9. (Tie) Mort Walker, Net worth: $50M

Of course, not all of these authors have derived their alarming wealth from their writing alone, but several of them have: Bradford (author of 29 bestselling romance novels), R.L. Stine (Goosebumps!), Clarke (Where Are the Children, now in its 75th printing, with 211 editions listed on WorldCat), Collins (The Hunger Games) and Walker (Beetle Bailey).

The people winning all the awards this season aren’t in the same league, of course (although some of those awards are worth quite a bit). Still, the boost in sales for what are already successful books will leave many of them pretty well off.

Still, for each one of them, there are tens of thousands of young writers—including not a few aspiring to publish genre stuff snooty literary award-winners would scoff at, writing at a rate that would make Barbara Taylor Bradford green with envy—all of whom would tell you it’s not about the money.

Here’s to them.


Simon Reichley is assistant to the publishers and office manager at Melville House.