The Hollywood Reporter has once again listed the Top 25 most Powerful Authors, this time for 2012. What constitutes a ‘powerful author’? They selected living authors who have done well in published form, have made the transition to film or television and have accounted for cultural influence (ie…have changed pop culture.) You might have guessed many of them, but we’ll list the Top 10 Most Powerful Authors (in Hollywood) right now.
#1. Stephen King. With 53 novels and over 400 million copies sold, many have been made into movies and TV miniseries. He has several upcoming books ready to be made into movies (CELL and a remake of CARRIE), and will surely be on this list again next year. Whether you like him or not, the man has figured out the business.
#2. Elmore Leonard. He’s written 45 books and at the age of eighty-seven, says he has plans for at least two more. (He says his next book will be set in the world of competitive bull riding!) While he’s had more than 27 books made into movies and tv shows, he’s best known for 3:10 to YUMA and GET SHORTY.
#3. Nicholas Sparks. For those of you who think he is “just” an author of sappy stories, think again. Sparks has written 16 novels…and ALL of them have made the best-sellers list! He must be doing something right. The surprising thing is that he’s considered a “sure thing” in Hollywood. His novels have that hook…romance with a tragic twist. And actors can’t wait to get a role in one of his stories made into movies (so far 8 books have gone the film route, with 3 in the last year alone.) Can you say “box-office smash?”
#4. E.L. James. This one is a surprise, but not. The author of the erotic novels known as Fifty Shades has burst onto the scene and taken Hollywood by storm! Rumours swirl almost every day about who is going to play the lead roles in the sure-to-be-hit movie series. It’s THE publishing story of 2012. Whether or not you’ve read, liked or heard of these books isn’t important. What has proven to be the big story is that the little guy can come out of nowhere with a catchy idea and change the way the world reads.
#5. Suzanne Collins. Not a surprise at all considering you can’t talk to anyone in the 10 – 45 year age range without hearing something about THE HUNGER GAMES. Now that the movie has been released to rent or own, I’m sure a lot of young people will be thrilled to find one under the tree at Christmas, making even more money for Ms. Collins. Good for her! It’s a great series (just one of several she’s written), and the best-selling YA series of all time on Amazon.com. Wow!
#6. Robert Kirkman. To be honest, I had no idea who this author was. After checking our online catalog, I was surprised to find we had one of his books on order. Turns out, Mr. Kirkman is the King of zombie fiction! Who knew? His innovative graphic novel THE WALKING DEAD was picked up and is now a popular TV series with a cult following. In March, he had 4 of the top 10 paperback slots on the New York Times list, and 3 of the top ten hard cover slots. Amazing!
#7. George R. R. Martin. The man who can’t seem to write anything under 700 pages is a big player on this list. Since GAME OF THRONES aired on TV, we’ve had his books on waiting lists for ages. And rightly so. Season two had an average of 3.8 million viewers per episode. That’s fantastic when you look at shows like American Idol which earn 18 – 20 million viewers per episode.
#8. James Patterson. This man puts out so many books (by himself and as co-author) each year, we have a hard time keeping track of ordering. I have no idea how he gets so much done in order to publish…and then also works on screenplays for his books being turned into movies. Earning $94 million last year, with a turnout of 11 books, he challenges himself to do better each year. Uh, okay.
#9. Michael Lewis. For a non-fiction author, he’s done well to pop onto the list so high. Of course, he’s famous for his book, MONEYBALL, which was also nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Up until that point, Hollywood wasn’t chasing him down to buy the rights to his other books, but now they are. Expect to see LIAR’S POKER on the big screen in the near future.
#10. Stephenie Meyer. Sparkling beautiful vampires. Handsome young men that turn into werewolves. Meyer hit all the right notes with her TWILIGHT series, and got lucky when the original movie-version failed to be made. (It was going to include a speedboat chase and night goggle sequence…neither of which were in the book.) With the final installment of BREAKING DAWN in theatres right now, we’re about to finish up with Edward and Bella. Look for a sequel to her popular book, THE HOST, to hit bookshelves sometime soon.
You can read more about each author if you click on their names above. They’re all successful for so many different reasons, and not just because Hollywood thinks they are.