For EL James (real name Erika Leonard), giving up the job of a TV producer to pen her thoughts has proved highly lucrative. In early 2012, James decided to focus entirely on her writing career. Of course, there was enough reason to do so. The first of three Fifty Shades of Grey titles had been published in May 2011 and had been an instant hit. Whether it was the eroticism or her style of writing that appealed to readers is a topic of debate, though what perhaps matters the most is that the book went on to sell in millions.
What followed later were two more sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, with sales of all three combined being well on the other side of 70 million worldwide. The book, which deals with the steamy relationship between a young college student and a slightly older and thoroughly intimidating business magnate, has already made it pass the Harry Potter series as the fastest selling paperback in history.
All of that has translates to an earnings of $95 million for James which has made her the highest paid author in the world right now. Crime writer James Patterson is a close second with earnings of $91 million, while Suzanne Collins, writer of young adult fiction, is at the third spot with earnings of $55.
On the flip side though, the book trilogy has also received some negative criticism for glamorizing the darker side of men’s sexuality and subsequent behavior towards women. A film based on the novel is slated for a release on August 1, 2014.