They say sex sells, and now author EL James can attest, as the Fifty Shades of Grey creator perches on top of Forbes' author rich list. Amazingly, on the back of her raunchy trilogy alone, James has made more money than any other author in the past year, having earned $95m (£61.5m) from sales of her erotic fiction trilogy and the purchase of the film rights for $5 million (£3.2m).

EL James
EL James Is Exceedingly Rich.

What started out as Twilight fan fiction has seen the author's work rocket past Twilight author Stephenie Meyers (who didn't even make this year's top 15) in the last year's earnings to take the top spot on the business magazine's list. Her books sold faster than any other novel in history, with 70 million shifted in the first eight months of release in the USA and at its peak, the trilogy was earning her more than $1 million (£650,000) per week. The success of the 50 Shades trilogy was fostered by the ebooks market that enabled people to read her book in public places without feeling embarrassed to be seen reading such steamy fiction.

EL James
The Author Serves As Inspiration To Others Who Write Fan Fiction.

James Patterson, crime author of the Alex Cross books, took second place this year with $91 million (£58.8m) earned whilst The Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins took third place having netted $55 million (£35.6m) as result of her popular teen fiction and ongoing film deal. The Da Vinci Code's Dan Brown still clings on to the top ten, coming in at the ninth position above Stephen King. A "mere" $2 million (£1.3m) divides the two male authors who are ranked amongst this year's wealthiest writers.

James Patterson
James Patterson Needn't Lament His Second Position: His Book Have Sold 270 Million Copies!

EL James, a former TV executive known to her friends as Erika Leonard, was known as 'Snowqueens Icedragon' when she contributed fan fiction to internet forums and has described the decision to turn her fantasies into a novel as "a mid-life crisis."

She has faced criticism for her less-than-polished style of writing and laboured description but this hasn't stopped her tale of a subservient student sex slave and a billionaire business boss being brought to life by director Sam Taylor-Johnson in a film due for release in summer 2014.