Sunday, August 7, 2011

The publishing machine that is James Patterson

Posted by Dawn Dalton on 7:41 PM

While indulging in a little bookstore retail therapy last week, I stumbled upon a new title by James Patterson. I've read so many of them, most of the covers and titles seem to blend together

Not this one. 

Adult fiction authors writing YA or even middle-grade novels isn't shocking  - some of my favourites cross all kinds of age and genre boundaries. 
Yet, a middle grade title from James Patterson made my jaw drop. 

Is there no corner of this industry he's left untouched? The man is a publishing machine.

He's the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on the New York Times adult and children's bestsellers lists (wow) and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year -- a record-breaking feat he's accomplished every year since 2005. 

Other Impressive Stats at a Glance
  • Total copies of James Patterson titles sold: 205 million
  • Consecutive #1 New YorkTimes bestselling novels: 19
  • Number of hardcover fiction bestselling titles: 63 (a Guiness World Record)

Awe-inspiring (and enviable) to be sure. There's no doubting his selling power - but has he really changed the industry? Perhaps.

Patterson wasn't the first author to "franchise" his brand, but he may be the most well-known and blatant. It was only three years ago that I learned some of my favorite authors weren't "writing" their books, at least not alone. But it wasn't until I saw James Patterson at Thrillerfest a few years ago that I realized he had turned his novel-writing career into a franchise. A successful, money-making franchise.

Along the way he's kick-started the careers of many thriller writers. Co-authoring with James Patterson comes with an impressive cache of clout. And his most recent deal - 17 books in three years! - could mean opportunity for even more emerging writers.

But middle grade?

Of course it will work. Patterson has devoted a lot of energy to, a website geared to helping kids read. Patterson is invested in youth literacy.

And a whole bunch of readers are invested in James Patterson. Including me.

I may not have LOVED every Patterson title, but he has my respect - whether he writes every book on his own, or with a whole army of friends. It's tough making a living in this industry. He's figured out a way to make it work.

Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life is teetering at the top of my TBR pile. Let's see how soon the magnetic power of Patterson topples it into my lap.

- Dawn


James Patterson definately has my respect too. Anyone who writes a book does. It's hard stuff!

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