This year hasn’t been all that great for authors on the Forbes Most Influential list. There were several mentions though, starting with E. L. James at No. 42, presumably prompting many to ask: “How did that happen?” Whatever you think of James’s original 50 Shades of Grey and the sequel 50 Shades Darker and 50 Shades Freed, though, one thing is undeniable – the author is making bank.

Mila Kunis, Oz, The Great and Powerful Premiere
Mila Kunis was among the actresses rumored to portray E. L. James's Anastasia Steele in the 50 Shades adaptation.

Having the fastest selling book of all time probably helps, but Forbes’s formula for success is based on more than mere earnings. While the actual calculations are a mystery, a celebrity’s place on the list has something to do with marketability, social media presence and other such buzzwords. If there’s anything the past two years have taught us (apart from celebrity pregnancies are a big deal) it’s that E.L.James definitely knows how to sell books.

Emma Watson, Bling Ring Premiere
Emma Watson was also briefly on the list of possible actresses.

James isn’t the only author holding the fort, or in this case, the Forbes chart. Thriller author James Patterson comes in at No. 49, which probably has something to do with his impressive body of work. Patterson employs a number of ghostwriters and constantly has several novels featured in various bestseller lists. Stephen King comes in third (in the author category, otherwise he’s No. 75). King is a regular feature on the list, because of his practice to publish a book every year or so. Other authors on the list include J. K. Rowling (slipping down to No. 82, because of the unimpressive reception of her first adult novel) and Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins, whose earnings include book sales, as well as movie royalties for the trilogy, starring Jennifer Lawrence.

J.K. Rowling, Deathly Hallows Part II Premiere
J.K. Rowling, on the other hand, is slipping from the Forbes chart.