Canada Markets open in 6 hrs 54 mins
1 / 10

1. E.L. James: $95 million

1. E.L. James: $95 million

Originally a "Twilight" tribute titled "Master of the Universe," "Fifty Shades of Grey" vaulted its author from fan-fiction websites straight to the top of every best-seller list. The e-book format was a key factor, giving readers an easy way to purchase the sex-filled sequels -- and a discrete way to read them in public.

The World's Top-Earning Authors

By Jeff Bercovici, Forbes Staff

The club of the world’s top-selling authors is an exclusive one, with only a few established paths to entry. Many of its members have been in it for decades, like Danielle Steel and Stephen King, who were both born in 1947 and published their first novels, “Going Home” and “Carrie,” in 1973. This year, Steel is No. 5 on the list and King is No. 10.

More from Forbes:
The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities
The World’s Most Powerful Musicians
The Top-Earning Comedians of 2013