James Patterson and His Band of Helpers Made $84 Million Last Year

Plus: Coco Chanel was a German spy, according to a new biography

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This afternoon in publishing: James Patterson remains a very rich man, an excerpt from the new Wendy Wasserstein biography reveals the secret of raising of uber-successful children, and a new biography says Coco Chanel was a German spy.

  • James Patterson once again occupies the top slot in Forbes list of the world's top-earning authors. Patterson's estimated income for 2010 was $84 million, more than double that of runner-up Danielle Steel, who made $35 million. Stephen King was third with $28 million, followed by Janet Evanovich ($22 million), Stephanie Meyer ($21 million), Rick Riordan ($21), Dean Koontz ($19 million), John Grisham ($18 million), Jeff Kinney ($17 million) and Nicholas Sparks ($16 million). Patterson's win should come with asterisk, since he has a team of collaborators that helped him churn out ten books last year alone, notes Jeff Bercovici. [Forbes]
  • Composer Philip Glass has signed a deal to write a memoir for publisher by W.W. Norton & Company. According to the New York Times, the publisher says Glass will "explore his youth and musical influences, including working in his father’s record store in Baltimore and collaborations with Ravi Shankar and Allen Ginsberg" in the book. That's good news for people who want to know more about the man synonymous with twentieth-century minimalism. [Arts Beat]
  • Wendy and the Boys, the new, unauthorized biography of the late Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein by journalist Julia Salamon, has been getting superb reviews, particularly for the portions involving Wasserstein's relationship with her siblings. How did one family produce a Pulitzer winner, a billionaire investment banker (Bruce Wasserstein) and Citicorp's first female head of corporate affairs (Sandra Wasserstein Mayer)? NPR has posted a telling excerpt, in which Salamon sums up the family's unofficial motto: "Let other, weaker families dwell on their sorrows." [NPR]
  • The House of Chanel, for one, isn't putting much stock in author Hal Vaughan's claim in his new biography Sleeping With the Enemy that Coco Chanel worked for Germany's Abwehr military intelligence agency during WWII. "More than 57 books have been written about Gabrielle Chanel," the fashion house said in a statement to the Associated Press. "We would encourage you to consult some of the more serious ones." Meanwhile, the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants has called on Chanel to launch a full investigation into the allegations. The book came out this week. [AP]
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