Fantasy novelist Jiang Nan topped the 2013 China’s Richest Writers list with earnings of 25.5 million yuan (US$4.2 million) from copyright royalties.
He finished ahead of Nobel laureate Mo Yan and children’s writer Zheng Yuanjie, who was number one last year.
It was the first time a fantasy writer topped the list since it was published in 2006.
Jiang more than doubled his listed revenue of 10 million from 2012, when he ranked No. 5.
“Dragons,” one of his bestselling books, is set in a different reality and tells the story of a 12th grader who is accepted by an American university. Once in the US, he learns about his dragon blood and is trained to kill the powerful beasts.
The list was compiled by Wu Huaiyao. He also started publishing lists on China’s Richest Foreign Writers and China’s Richest Online Writers.
JK Rowling has topped the foreign writers list every year except one since it was first published in 2010. The lone exception was in 2011, when Gabriel Garcia Marquez ranked No. 1 when a new translation of “One Hundred Years of Solitude” was published.
This year, Rowling was followed by Murakami Haruki and Marquez.
Tang Jia San Shao, born Zhang Wei, continued to top the online list with earnings of 26.5 million yuan from his fantasy novels, the largest genre among online writers.
Zhang’s earnings from November 2012 to November 2013 came close to the 33 million yuan he made between 2007 and 2012, an indication of the rapid growth of Chinese online novels.
Zhang’s bestsellers include “Child of Light,” which follows the story of a teenager fulfilling his destiny as a legendary magician who uses the magic of light to end discrimination and wars.
Zhang once said he writes 300,000 words per month to maintain his readership and income.
Chinese online writers make less than 1 US cent per 1,000 words from paying readers. They can make much more when a book has attracted enough readers to be published or even adapted into movies, dramas or games.
An award ceremony for the writers will be held today in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.