E.L. James is highest-ranked author on the Forbes Celebrity 100

James came in at number 42 on Forbes's list, the highest spot of any author, with writer James Patterson close behind.

Denis Poroy/Invision/AP
E.L. James came in at number 42 on Forbes' Celebrity 100 list.

A writer who was unknown as little as three years ago is now the highest-ranked author on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” writer E.L. James came in at the 42nd spot on the Forbes list, the highest of any author. James, whose real name is Erika Leonard, released her first book in the trilogy in 2011. James was also named to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2012. The selection of the writer as the Publishing Person of the Year in 2012 by Publishers Weekly – the first author ever to receive that honor – caused a bit of an outcry. (The New York Daily News headline on the story: “Civilization ends.”)

While James comes in at 42 on the Forbes list, other writers made the cut as well. James Patterson, author of “Second Honeymoon” among many other titles, came in at number 49, while list mainstays Stephen King and J.K. Rowling occupied the 75th and 82nd spots, respectively, and “The Hunger Games” author Suzanne Collins ranked at number 87.

Overall, media titan Oprah Winfrey was number one on the list, while singer Lady Gaga took the second spot, and director Steven Spielberg came in at number three. Singer Beyonce was the fourth on the list, while Madonna came in at number five.

Singer Justin Bieber was the youngest person to make the cut at number nine. The only athlete to make the top 10 was tennis star Roger Federer.

Check out the full list here.

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