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Friday, January 29, 2010

The Anti-DFW

The New York Times recently ran an interesting (and long) piece about James Patterson, the massively popular author of about a million titles. You can find his books at Wal-Mart, Kroger, Target...hell, you can find them anywhere. The article is enormously informative and well-written but one can't help wondering as they read whether there isn't something rather obscene about Patterson. Why does he have to publish 9 books a year in just about every possible genre? Why does he have to take up so much of Little, Brown's* (his publisher's) time when there are certainly other authors on LB's schedule that could have potential to be money-makers as well? And is there not a little irony in the fact that the very publishing system that worked so well to Patterson's advantage is the very one his sort of Wal-Martified, big, big, big blockbuster style of writing and marketing is dismantling at frightening speed? What do you think?

You can read the article here.

*On an interesting note, the very year that Little, Brown published Patterson's first novel with them, Along Came a Spider, they were currently working with another author on his future magnum opus. That's right, in 1993 Little, Brown was helping David Foster Wallace hone his 1700 page manuscript for Infinite Jest to a more manageable 1100 pages. Little, Brown is also the publisher of Catcher in the Rye. Go fig.