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.
& J. L. SATHRE
Coming soon (about 28 days) to a bookstore near you.