jlsathre

jlsathre
Location
Illinois,
Birthday
July 30
Bio
I'm a lawyer in my past life, who got the kids through college and decided to try something different and a little more fun. A used book store sounded like a good idea, so that's where I am for now. I just hadn't counted on a recession or E-readers and am a little afraid there's going to be a third act. In the meantime, I have plenty to read and a little time to write. Not a bad way to spend a day.

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Salon.com
JANUARY 10, 2013 3:03PM

James Patterson, Nora Roberts and Me

Rate: 7 Flag

When someone asks whose books are the most popular in my store, I don't even have to think. The answer is easy, James Patterson and Nora Roberts.

They're not my favorites, and I suppose it might say something about my store, but I tend to think it's just confirmation of the old saying that's uttered around academic halls, "publish or perish."

Because these two certainly publish.

In Roberts' case, she passed the 100 novel mark back in 1996 and has easily written another hundred since then. By all accounts, and to her credit, she does this all on her own, working eight hours every day and taking about 45 days to finish a book--which is a little depressing since that's about the same amount of the time it takes me to finally get around to changing my sheets.

Patterson isn't quite that prolific, having written a scant 97 books since 1974. However, it's been a few days since I checked that number, so there's a pretty good chance he has another one out. His output increased dramatically once he started writing with co-authors.

According to Patterson, these co-authored books are still his because he thinks up and drafts the plot, and then proofs and signs off on the finished product. It's a nifty little idea, which seems to be working for him, even though there doesn't seem to be much actual "writing" being done. By my count, it allowed him to publish 13 books last year--which works out to about 28 days per book, cutting Nora's time almost in half. A near herculean effort, particularly considering that he still found time to play a little poker and make guest appearances on "Castle."

I have mixed feelings about this whole process. On the one hand, he's giving a less renown author a shot at the best seller list. On the other hand, he's pocketing a lot of money without a lot of effort. It seems a little dishonest.

It also seems too easy.

It makes me feel like I'm wasting my time blogging.

And that I ought to be writing a best seller.

All I need to do is find my own James Patterson. Luckily it's a fairly common name and there seem to be a slew of them--at least two in my own little metropolitan area phone book. I'm pretty sure at least one of them will be willing to co-author with me. Particularly if I agree to give him top billing. 

I can picture it now.

                                 JAMES PATTERSON     

                                                    & J. L. SATHRE 

Coming soon (about 28 days) to a bookstore near you.

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co-authors, best sellers

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The billing should be the other way around. You're a writer, he' a brand name. R
Oh, if it were just that easy. I bet that deep in his heart, Patterson feels a small twinge of regret that all those books weren't penned by him. You are a writer. Someday I would love to read a novel set in your bookstore. R
Gerald--Actually, my James Patterson is probably a plumber. I'm just using him for his name.

Rita--I hope he does feel a twinge of regret. Or that he does it as a type of support for the co-authors and gives them the bulk of the money. But I doubt either is true.

Gary--He does seem to be going for volume.
It takes me thirty minutes to write my blogs, so hmmmm...I could probably produce a book in about 5 days!! Wait for it....:D
Well, I would read whatever you wrote before I'd read what he wrote. ~r
We have been thinking a lot of the same thoughts, I see. You think them much more eloquently, for sure. Anyway, eight hours a day...I need to work up to that. Jeanne, you write so beautifully. I look forward to reading your novel. Soon. R:-)
I got drunk with Steven King at a bar last night. I really didn't know he had red hair.
Tink--I'll be waiting.

Joan--Aah, thank you.

Emily--There is no novel, I'm too busy blogging.

scanner--Drunk with Stephen King or drunk with a Stephen King book? Either way, sounds like a good night. I hope you slipped him one of your stories.
Patterson is a factory. As I understand it he's a former marketing executive whose attention to detail extends down to the colors of the covers of his paperbacks. He has unattributed co-writers too.
Con--Now I like him even less.
Whoa, I had no idea Nora Roberts had published so many books! James Patterson's method makes me think of the studios many visual artists of the past used to have, where their apprentices would do a lot of the detail work, etc, based on a sketch or idea (or sometimes merely the influence) of the master. I don't know that I've ever liked this concept in terms of how I feel about the creative process, but I guess it's something some artists - and I guess writers - are fine with. I love how you wrote this post, and how it got me thinking. You are such a great writer - Patterson may have more output and more monetary success, but I bet he'd be jealous of your eloquence.
Alysa--I think James Patterson found his niche and is happy. I found a littler one here and am happy too. So all is well.

Seer--I enjoyed a lot of his older books too, even an occasional recent one. And I agree about Morgan Freeman.