George R.R. Martin Net Worth: A Comprehensive Analysis

Read our article: George R.R. Martin net worth, and discover the success of the author behind the global blockbuster Game of Thrones. 

Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, in 1948, American author George R.R. Martin has decades of writing under his belt, but he is best known for creating the world of Game of Thrones. Martin started writing and selling his work when he left high school. According to his official website, his first sale as a writer occurred when he was 21, and he sold a story to Galaxy.

Most sources agree that nowadays, Martin’s net worth is at least $120 million, having increased continually since Game of Thrones premiered in 2011. In this article, we explore exactly how he achieved such financial success through a prolific career.

If you loved Game of Thrones or Martin’s science fiction books, check out our list of the best authors like George R.R. Martin.

George R.R. Martin Net Worth

A financial turning point for Martin was HBO buying the rights to A Song of Ice and Fire in 2007. Game of Thrones alone earned the author roughly $15 million per season. 

According to some estimates, Martin earned up to $200 million from the TV series and book sales, which would make him one of the highest-earning authors today. The show’s huge success even propelled book sales, and it looks like Martin is set to continue to profit, with the spin-off House of the Dragon premiering in 2022 and setting up more seasons to come.

Today, the author’s net worth is probably around $120 million. Martin’s net worth increased year by year, even after Game of Thrones ended. Back in 2018, according to Celebrity Net Worth, George R.R. Martin’s net worth was believed to be about $65 million.

George Martin: A Brief Overview

George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin is a household name in literature and TV

George R.R. Martin is a household name in literature and TV. His works were the basis for the highly successful Game of Thrones show, which ran for eight seasons on HBO. His books have sold over 90 million copies in 47 languages globally. While the success of the TV show greatly contributed to book sales, even before its premiere, the A Song of Ice and Fire series had sold 12 million copies.

Martin struggled financially in the first part of his life. As a child, he lived in a federal housing project and used fiction to escape reality. He discovered Tolkien and developed a passion for fantasy and science fiction. Martin went on to study journalism at Northwestern University, continuing to write and sell short stories. 

Martin worked as a chess tournament director and a teacher while writing part-time. His debut novel, Dying of the Light, was published in 1977 and benefited from the renewed interest in science fiction engendered by the first Star Wars movie, which came out the same year. 

Shortly after this, he became a full-time writer, taking jobs as a Hollywood writer on shows like The Twilight Zone. Martin continued working in TV until the 1990s while still writing novels, and the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire was published in 1996.

Like every other young writer, I dreamed of fame and fortune. Having achieved them I can tell you that fortune is great.

George R.R. Martin

Despite the serialization reaching its climax, the book series remains unfinished, and fans eagerly await the next installment, The Winds of Winter.

Books and Publications

George R.R. Martin has been known and acclaimed in science fiction and fantasy circles for decades. His 1974 novella A Song for Lya, as well as his 1977 science fiction work Dying of the Light, were both literary hits. Martin achieved greater acclaim with the novel Windhaven, in 1981. 

The author has suffered ups and downs in his career. His 1983 book The Armageddon Rag was poorly received by critics, with one reviewer calling it “simpleminded, heavy-going nostalgia for the Sixties-rock counterculture.” Martin also authored several TV pilots and screenplays that never saw the screen.

In the early 1990s, after years spent as a screenwriter, he began work on what was to be his crowning achievement, the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. A Game of Thrones came out in 1996, followed by A Clash of Kings in 1998, and A Storm of Swords in 2000. Then followed A Feast for Crows (2005) and A Dance with Dragons (2011). He also penned stories that diverted from the main plot of his series, like Tales of Dunk and Egg, and the prequel novel Fire & Blood, which came out in 2018.

Dubbed the American Tolkien, Martin’s books received a plethora of awards over the course of the years, including six Locus Awards.

Factors Affecting Net Worth

Game of Thrones
Martin’s book sales earn him $10 million each year and were probably at their peak during the running of the Game of Thrones show

The biggest earner for Martin was his involvement in the televised series Game of Thrones. He sold the rights to the show in 2007 and worked as an executive producer for the HBO series. Its success boosted book sales.

Not all of Martin’s projects were commercial successes. His 1985 science fiction novel Nightflyers was made into a show in 2018 but did not have a wide enough viewership for a second season. 

Royalties and Sales

Martin’s book sales earn him $10 million each year, according to some sources. Book sales, however, were probably at their peak during the running of the Game of Thrones show, even though 12 million copies had sold prior to its premiere. 

Game of Thrones Adaptation

The television show got Martin roughly $15 million every year between 2011 and 2019 when it ended. With more spin-off series like House of the Dragon to come, the author will likely continue to earn considerable sums from royalties. 

Net Worth Comparison

Martin earned a spot on Forbes’ highest-paid authors in 2012, a year after Game of Thrones premiered. That year alone, fans bought 8 million copies of his books, according to Forbes. His net worth has increased considerably over the years, totaling $120 million currently.

Another fantasy author who sold rights to her works to HBO, J.K. Rowling, tops our list of the richest writers, with a net worth of $1 billion.

Other fantasy writers topping the rich list:

  • Fantasy and thriller author, Stephen King, has a net worth of $400 million.
  • Neil Gaiman, the English author of well-known fantasy works like Neverwhere, American Gods, and Sandman, has a net worth of about $18 million.
  • Andrzej Sapkowski, the Polish author of the fantasy series Witcher, also adapted into a well-received Netflix show, has a net worth of about $19 million.

Despite his wealth, Martin prefers to live modestly in his Santa Fe home with his wife. He is known to drive a Mazda and prefers local restaurants, opting out of a flashy celebrity life. He also invested in local businesses like the Jean Cocteau Cinema and a coffee house, probably more due to his passion for the cinema and coffee, rather than out of a profit-making motive.

Well known for his philanthropy, in 2022, George R.R. Martin pledged $5 million to Northwestern University to be used to establish the George R.R. Martin Chair in Storytelling and a workshop in writing for aspiring authors. He also donated substantial sums, as well as initiated campaigns, for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico.