Boycott James Patterson - I always wanted to be a gastronomer Blog at - 251699

I always wanted to be a gastronomer

Boycott James Patterson 
Sep. 27, 2011 8:47 am 
Updated: Oct. 18, 2011 3:34 am
Ok, now that I've successfully wandered off the reservation, I've freed my muse to wander at will.
It all started innocuously enough, a couple of off subject novels, a few co-authored diddys, then slowly but surely over time, Patterson has become a publishing empire. In my nearest Chapters, (think Barnes and Noble), Pattersons interests occupy a full 5 foot rack, 8  rows tall. He now has his own section. There's Fiction, Mystery, Romance and..... Patterson. This in and of itself isn't a huge problem, the guy has branded himself and it's worked. The output from Pattersons publishing method is profound. I'm guessing that a new Patterson branded  book is released about once a month, maybe more. When you consider that most authors publish around once a year, Pattersons novel mill style becomes astonishing and it's working. As mentioned, Patterson Branded stuff now occupies an entire section. Nearly everything on the shelves bearing Pattersons name now, has an unknown co-author listed, Maxine DePaetro etc...(by the by, DiPaetro is becoming fairly well known, just by virtue of being a Patterson co-author)
I have visions of Patterson going to work each day in a shop filled with desks and busy author wannabees, carefully looking over the shoulder of each and suggesting a phrase here and a turn of events there. I betcha I'm not too far off. The result of this is that where once Patterson penned stories about his hero Alex Cross, he now releases co-authored stories of love and romance, science fiction, fantasy etc. To what end I ask? Is he just using his name to help new authors into the game? If that was the case, then why is Pattersons name HUGE and his co-authors tiny? I do not think it's all about being magnanimous. I am starting to believe that for Patterson, it's an attempt by him to see how big he can get, how much publishing power and clout he can amass.

So? You so far might be thinking so what? I'd likely think the same thing if it wasn't for one little thing. The novels are bad.

I'm a prodigious reader, at least compared to the population at large and it's hard to keep my shelves stocked with stuff I haven't read without buying Patterson branded books. For a long time, I didn't try to avoid them but what's been happening is that every time I'd read a Patterson branded novel, I'd feel cheated. Like I ate a twinkie I thought was a carrot.  (There's the food reference!) I've been a regular buyer of almost all things Patterson and slowly, with this massive publishing ability he's assembled, the books being churned out are formulaic and empty. I bought one of his latest co-authored efforts, Daniel X. Patterson claims he wrote it for teens. I thought, so what, the Maximum Ride novels bear the same claim and they've been sort of ok (more on this later). So I bought it and, like the Maximum Ride novels, its a cool sci fi concept, a likeable character with a good voice and I finished it in 45 minutes.
Yup, 3/4 of an hour. Am I such a speedster? Naw, I read pretty fast but 45 minutes is a reflection of the books contents. It was nothing, a cheap fast read with barely enough content to make a story, formulaic and flaky. Further, this sort of novel has about as much chance at succeeding with teens as uniform haircuts. As written I'd qualify it as a pre-teen novel, barely that given how scanty it was.I paid a full 10.00 for the paperback. I can buy a 1400 page novel for about the same price and get hours of reading enjoyment out of it. Pattersons Daniel X (co-author Michael Ledwidge) contains 269 pages. Of that 269, only 213 are part of the novel, the balance is an excerpt from a NEW Patterson branded effort. So, 213 pages of novel, but wait, there are 90 chapters. Yes, you heard right, 90 chapters. You might be thinking, wait a minute, thats about 2 or 3 pages per chapter and thats exactly right. I we filled up all the blank paper in this novel, we'd have perhaps a 120 pages. This is typical of what you will get when you buy any Patterson branded novel now. I should say though, I'm so ticked at the guy, that I don't even look at the new Alex Cross solo efforts he's published, so they may in fact be as good as what he originally wrote.

Again, in and of itself, this cheap hack of a novel isn't enough to villify Pattersons publishing empire. The problem is, this effort is merely one of that entire rack in my nearest Chapters. An entire rack filled with cheap garbage. As an avid reader, I will often come to purchase anything by a trusted author without consideration. It's a Stephen King novel, I buy it, Lee Child, etc..Patterson was on that list too but no longer. I've a limited budget for buying novels and I've nary a dime to waste on cheap junk which, Pattersons novels have become. Yet, he's managed to displace 20 or more other authors in my nearest Chapters. Ban him why? Because the last thing in the world that we want is for other novelists to imitate this style, branding themselves and monopolizing entire sections of a book store with an output so marginalized, so diluted that it's a ripoff for anyone who buys one. Imagine the Baldacci section. I'm a big Clive Cussler fan and he too is already well on his way to following in Pattersons footsteps and he too is starting to get a bit shallow but sells so well, that he's published anyhow. (truthfully though, a shallow Cussler isn't completely unusual) It's a terrible trend and despite how nefarious it sounds, I really think that we as consumers have a responsibility to say NO to this junk. Ban this seller, stop buying his junk. A guy puts out one novel, well, he's Dean Koontz, we forgive him and we move on.  If he puts out 20 novels, hes James Patterson and I'm all done going aww that's ok. Especially when I stare at that big rack in my local Chapters and imagine the wealth of authors that aren't there because Pattersons brand is working so well.

There, I feel better.
Sep. 27, 2011 9:55 am
I used to be a big Patterson fan, but have been less so since every single book has been "co-authored" by someone else. I'll still read them when I get to them, but I don't find them as good or as gripping. I too don't really get some of the different genres stuff he's been churning out. I most like the Alex Cross and Women's Murder Club series (at least I did at the beginning of both those series') and some of the other thriller/suspense ones are good too, but a lot of them aren't so good anymore. I really didn't like that mini series with the flying children... that was just, odd. You know, I haven't read anything Patterson brand in awhile because I haven't gone to the library in awhile! I've only purchased one or two of his books, and that was in a pinch when I really needed something to read on a boring day at work or something. I officially like John Sanford much better... I always did like him too, but even after a bunch of novels in the Prey series, they're still all really good.
Sep. 27, 2011 9:57 am
LOL, glad I'm not the only one that's noticed that. I just assumed the well known author was slapping their name on so the little known author could get published. I cruise the thrift stores for books, too cheap to buy brand new :)(:
Sep. 27, 2011 10:58 am
Sounds like he isn't doing his co-authors any favors by publishing all that fluff. Though I'm starting to notice that the fluff sells well and anything deeper that than tends to collect dust in the store till some bookworm like me discovers it. That's if it gets published at all. Maybe we can get the stores to have a "pop" genere section like the music stores so people who aren't interested in that style can avoid it.
Sep. 27, 2011 11:39 am
I sell used books at a flea market on the weekends. Week in and week out, the most popular author is James Patterson. I absolutely cannot keep his books around except for the older original ones (the names that were verses of nursery rhymes). One interesting thing that I found to be true is that the one book that was most recently published with ONLY his name (I cannot recall the title but I think it was a Cross book) was trashed in the reviews. Some are saying that he absolutely doesn't write anymore and shouldn't considering the outcome of that one. I do still read them except the "teen" novels but luckily I do not pay full price for them. I wouldn't/couldn't do that.
Sep. 27, 2011 11:40 am
And there is on average one published per month with his name on it.
Sep. 27, 2011 4:05 pm
I read his last Alex Cross book this last weekend. Took 1 day to read it.. and you are right, about 120 pages of actual words. The story was good but very dissappointing that it was so short. I do buy all my books from a used book store.. even the newest releases very gently used are sold at 1/2 the price on the back of the book, so now they are normally $5.00. I also love Lee Child and his Jack Reacher novels.. I've read every one of them and enjoy them so much. I also love the Camel Club books by David Balducci.. well written with great stories. Thanks for a great blog!!!
Sep. 27, 2011 9:14 pm
Hey Alex, hmmm you like Camp eh? Try Ridley pearson, not the sherrif series, Virgil Flowers or Lucas Davenport stuff, Sandford/Camps equal.
Sep. 27, 2011 9:17 pm
Cat, I buy 90% of my books discount or used, just a few left I'll buy new. Amanda, arrg to the fluff, arrrg. Madriele, I find that hard to believe. I mean, he sucks. Are you selling online?
Sep. 27, 2011 9:22 pm
Cindy, I'll turn you on to a new author writing stuff kinda like Lee Child, a new anti hero. The author is Noah Boyd, 2 books so far, The Bricklayer and Agent X. Also, that kinda action stuff, you might like the Swagger series all penned by Stephen Hunter, absolutely top flight writing.
Sep. 28, 2011 7:25 am
While I totally agree with your assessment, can't help wondering why no one mentioned the public library? I gave up buying books long ago. I go through 7 or 8 a week ranging from mystery to hard core sci-fi. A few vampire/werewolf, a few romance, some dragons and elves, and some just plain weird ones. When hard core sci-fi was the only thing out there, that's what I read, writers then turned to fantasy and I went along. When I got all those read, I turned to mystery, and along the way got sucked into vampire books. If it's fiction I read it(with the exception of historical, dry, kings and queens type literature, unless there are dragons or magic involved).
Sep. 28, 2011 11:41 am
@Sassyoldlady- I adore my local library. I too read anywhere from 3 to 8 books a week so it was absolutely necessary for me to start borrowing books rather than buying them. Only reason I didn't mention it earlier is because my mini rant was refering more to poor writting than purchasing price. :)
Sep. 28, 2011 11:53 am
Randy, this blog further cements your status as one of my favorite fellow Canadians. I think I have 3 Patterson books in my vast collection; all of them are Alex Cross novels. I was worn out after the 3rd... even then they were getting too formulaic for me; kind of like the average Hollywood movie these days. (same story, just insert different characters - boring!) Have your read any Ken Follett? He continues to surprise, even after umpteen novels. Pillars of the Earth = best book ever.
Sep. 28, 2011 12:45 pm
I have never been a Patterson fan, although I did enjoy the original books about the bird children (I think the first one was called The Lake House?)...funny how Alex mentions that's the series she didn't care for. I never could get into the spin-off ones...the Maximum Ride series and I attempted to read one of the Alex Cross books, but couldn't get into it. I, too, have wondered at the apparent popularity of Patterson. At my library, the "Best Sellers" section ALWAYS has at least eight to ten different Patterson titles. Now, an author I do wish would turn out books a little more often is Dan Brown. I discovered Mr. Brown quite a bit later than other fans. In fact, I didn't even begin reading his books until the movie, The Da Vinci Code, was coming out. I read that book, then backtracked and read Angels and Demons, then read his other books (Deception Point and Digital Fortress). I craved another novel by him and, when I found out he was getting set to release The Lost Symbol, another novel about the main character in Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code, I was ecstatic. My mother bought the book the day it came out and I insisted on being allowed to read it first. I finished it in three days, I was so hooked. Now, once again, I can't wait for another Dan Brown book to come out!
Sep. 28, 2011 3:56 pm
I so agree with you! Robert Parker was very terse, no wasted words there, but his stories always satisfied. I'm with Sassy my local library is my second home. Ridley Pearson doesn't publish often enough. I have also gotten into both Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, both singly and together as well as most of the authors mentioned. The whole trend seems to be shorter books these days. It is rare to get one longer than 425 pages and I think this limits an author's ability to develop a plot. Great blog! I literally eat fiction up.
Sep. 28, 2011 8:38 pm
Nancypants, lol, Follet is one of my top 10 guys. I read Pillars, gosh, must be 18 years ago, recommended it hundreds of times. WWE is supposed to be a follow up but its not. Despite being somewhat lighter fair, it's a fun romp.
Oct. 12, 2011 2:11 pm
So stop buying them and reading them already. Thanks for the warning, but I never did "get" his stuff anyway. My favorite of old was John D. McDonald and the Travis McGee series. Miss it alot.
Oct. 18, 2011 3:34 am
Thanks for the rant. I concur. As a member of a writer's workshop I am certain some very talented authors are going unpublished because of the repeat pulp that is out there. Members of my group have found major publishers will not even read a first manuscript unless you can tell about drafts of additional novels. Harper Lee basically just gave us one novel. Aren't we glad she wasn't trying to get published now.
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