The ten highest paid authors in the world.
(hint, together, they made $270 million in twelve months…or $2.25 million PER MONTH…each….)
10) J.K Rowling, $10 million
9) Nicholas Sparks, $14 million
8) John Grisham, $15 million
7) Janet Evanovich, $16 million
6) Dean Koontz, $18 million
5) Ken Follett, $20 million
4) Danielle Steele, $32 million
3) Stephen King, $34 million
2) Stephanie Meyer, $40 million
1) James Patterson, $70 million
Patterson’s latest contract, which he signed last fall, has him delivering 17 books by the end of 2012. And for that unbelievable feat – because gosh, how can someone who writes longhand write 17 novels in two years? – he’ll be paid $100 million.
And here’s what he had to say to The Guardian (UK) a couple years ago: “I’m certainly not a world-class stylist. But the storytelling is pretty cool….”
The storytelling is pretty cool.
That is a top-shelf wordsmith right there, baby, top-shelf.
How, you might wonder, does he write so many books?
He doesn’t. Sorry to burst the bubble of any fans who read both him and me (and I suspect there are damn few of those, but you never know….) Mr. Patterson pens nearly none of the words in his books.
He laid it out for The Guardian. He told them he works with “…collaborators in a back-and-forth process whereby he supplies detailed plot outlines, then edits drafts written by others.”
In other words, “Here’s my idea, you write it, I’ll change a word or two, put my name on it, and cash the check.”
And so all of the collaborators get to be, fleetingly, James Patterson.
This shit makes me crazy. I have never read an interview with him or article about him or summary of a speech he’s given in which he talks about craft (and please correct me if I’m wrong…cuz I’d surely love to hear his philosophy of literature). Not a word about craft or style, just about – and I kid you not on this – market penetration and display advantage.
And you want a lesson in no press is bad press? That everything is usable somehow? There was a review in the Chicago Sun-Times that included this: “James Patterson has mastered the art (if you can call it that) of writing mindless, page-turning bestsellers that sell millions of copies, then disappear as quickly as last night’s fast-food meal.”
Here is the quote as it (still) appears in his promotional material: “Patterson has mastered the art of writing page-turning bestsellers – Chicago Sun-Times.”
This man is ruining publishing. Not literature because there will always be actual writers, people who give a shit about the written word and don’t spend every waking moment figuring out how to commodify literature and then wring every possible cent out of it, but publishing. He’s leading publishers down a path whereby they expect every writer to be James Patterson.
Luckily, most of us aren’t that fucking idiotic.