James bloody Patterson
Now, I am not one who harbors strong opinions, at least beyond the realms of all things literary. Political parties all seem equally balanced in good and bad ideas, from what I’ve seen. Religion? Live and let live; I don’t bother whatever is behind everything, in the hopes that it will extend to me the same courtesy.
That being said, IN the literary world there is one word–well, two–a NAME in fact–one name that, to me, denotes the Dark Side of writing and art in general. It is the name of a man who has perverted all that is wholesome in our calling for the sake of profit, with no real concern about the quality of the cookie-cutter trash he regurgitates on to bookstore shelves in their scores every year. I speak, of course, of James Patterson.
James Patterson is not a writer. He is a business man with pretensions to writer-hood, who could not write an engaging plot on his own if his pocket book depended on it. He’s admitted as much himself ( http://www.examiner.com/article/the-james-patterson-business-model-of-writing-best-sellers ), explaining with a straight face his entire writing strategy:
1. Come up with a concept and outline.
2. Give it to his stable of writers.
3. Take a nap on pile of money.
That is correct; Patterson has a stable of actual writers under his employ who all work to bring his trite little ideas into fruition. I can’t decide if I pity or revile these poor wretches. I choose to believe that they all entered into some Faustian bargain to be given this hellish job.
Patterson’s strategy works, but NOT because his books are good. It works because he publishes so many of them, churning out a dozen books a year, and reaping in the royalties. http://www.forbes.com/pictures/eeji45lmkd/james-patterson-94-million-2/. He’s earned $94 MILLION THIS PAST YEAR PUBLISHING FOURTEEN BOOKS, outdoing Stephen King! I’m not a huge fan King either but by the gods at least he actually writes! At least he isn’t paying anyone to do it for him!
He doesn’t care if the books are good or not; so long as there are misguided parents out there looking for something un-challenging and unoriginal to get their kids interested in reading, he’s as happy as anything. And so long as this man continues to pollute our bookstores with his garbage, the Nation of Literature will continue to toil, slaving away on the keyboards and bearing their souls to the uncaring world, while the Spoiled Despot languishes on his throne of Broken Words being fed grapes by whipped and malnourished Muses.