David Gemmell was a bestselling British author of heroic fantasy. He wrote over thirty novels and was best known for his debut, Legend, Gemmell's works display violence, yet also explore themes of honour, loyalty and redemption.
Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series hit the New York Times twice, First with Changless and later with Timeless. The five book steampunk series was completed in March 2012.
Raymond E. Feist is best known for The Riftwar Cycle series of novels and short stories. His books have been translated into multiple languages and have sold over 15 million copies. Fiest has had four books on the New York Times bestselling list: Serpentwar Saga: Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, and Shards of a Broken Crown.
Terry Goodkind is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Sword of Truth series, Richard and Kahlan stories, author of The Law of Nines, and writer of Legend of the Seeker, the Sam Raimi produced, ABC television series based on The Sword of Truth books.
Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Genesis of Shannara novels Armageddon's Children and The Elves of Cintra; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life.
R. A. Salvatore is the author of more than forty novels and more than a dozen New York Times best sellers, including The Two Swords, which debuted at or near the top of many best seller lists.
Jim Butcher has been a #1 New York Times Best Seller. His Dresden Files books (currently 13 released) were made into a series for the scifi channel. He also has a traditional fantasy series, The Codex Alera which is currently on its sixth installment.
George R.R. Martin sits squarely on the throne as today's hottest fantasy writer. Best known for his Song of Fire and Ice series his most recent book, Dances with Dragons was so highly anticipated that fans threatened him with bodily harm if he didn't release them soon. In just a few days the second seaon of the Game of Thrones series will air after a first seaon that obtained a spectacular following and has kept him on the top of all the best seller lists.
J. R. R. Tolkien is the undisputed father of the fantasy genre. True he was not technically the first, but it is his works that popularized the genre. He is one of the top selling authors of all time and the 2009 Forbes List of Top Earning Dead Celebrities had him ranked #5 just below Elvis presely with earnings of more than $50 million.
Robin Hobb is the pen name of Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden best known for The Farseer Trilogy (Assassin's Apprentice, Royal Assassin and Assassin's Quest.) Other works include The Liveship Traders Trilogy, the Tawny Man Trilogy, and the Soldier Son trilogy. The Rain Wilds Chronicles is now complete, published as Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven. During the 80's and 90's she also wrote at Megan Lindholm. In 2003 Robin reached the 1 million book mark.
Brandon Sanderson is a prolific fantasy author. Ask any fantasy forum for recommendations and his Mistborn Trilogy is always mentioned. He was also tapped to finish the fantasy mainstay WoT (Wheel of Time) after the death of its creator Robert Jordon. The last book in that series, A Memory of Light is due out in January 2013. Other notable works are Elantis (his first published work), The Way of Kings (most recent series), and the Alcatraz young adult series.
Brent Weeks is an author of epic fantasy who like me is published by Orbit. One of the reasons I chose Orbit in fact was the success they had at putting Brent on the New York Times Bestseller's List. He is most known for his Night Angel Trilogy and started a new series last year (LightBringer) with the release of The Black Prism. The second book in that series, The Blinding Knife is due in September 2012.
Patrick Rothfuss exploded onto the fantasy scene with his debut novel The Name of the Wind. It has sold millions of copies and made the New York Times Best Selling List. His second novel, Wise Man's Fear also has hearned high praise and bestselling status. Much of the fantasy reading world is anxiously waiting for the third and final novel.