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The Literary Rants: James Patterson’s Bookshots

December 28, 2016
If you like James Patterson, you'll never run out of his books to read.

The good news is that James Patterson fans will never run out of books to read.

If there’s one thing the world doesn’t need more of, it’s new James Patterson books.  Patterson, the prolific author with lots of help (meaning “lots of co-authors”), put out at least 15 new books in 2016, and that’s just the start.  Now he has a new line of co-authored novellas called Bookshots.

Bookshots are short books, maybe 150 pages, and they’re cheap.  Just like other Patterson books, it’s not clear how much of each book Patterson actually writes.

In a way, these Bookshots look a lot like Goosebumps, meaning these books are thin with cheesy covers.  I have no problem with Goosebumps because my daughters used to read them, but Bookshots aren’t necessarily in the YA section.  In fact, the Bookshots I’ve seen take up a bunch of space in the Fiction/Literature section of my local B&M Booksellers, meaning that James Patterson books are taking up more and more shelf space.

I have to give James Patterson credit; when he starts a project, he goes all-out.  He isn’t content in glutting one genre.  He’s determined to branch out into every direction he can.  Pyramid schemers are probably kicking themselves for not thinking of this first.

Other more-talented authors could do what James Patterson is doing.  If Stephen King chose to put out 20 books a year and create a pulp/novella category, he could put James Patterson out of business.  JK Rowling could do this too.  Thousands of amateur writers are trying to create their own fantasy worlds, and Rowling could make all of them best-selling authors by putting her name on their books.  Even George RR Martin should hire some co-authors to finish his Game of Thrones series before HBO does.

These authors (and many more) have probably have thought about doing what James Patterson is doing, but only James Patterson has decided to actually go through with it.

I know that since I’m an aspiring author, I shouldn’t criticize another author, especially since my writing has its own flaws.  I’m a polite guy, and I usually consider other people’s feelings before I get critical of them, especially other writers, but I’ve decided that if I’m going to criticize another writer, it should be James Patterson.

For one thing, James Patterson doesn’t care what I think.  I don’t have to worry about hurting his feelings or his business because I’m nothing to him.  Even if he did get annoyed with me, he could tell one of his co-authors to destroy me for him, and even that would take more effort than a guy like me is worth.

Maybe these Bookshots are a blessing in disguise.  If I absolutely had to read another James Patterson book, I’d rather read a really short book than a long one.  And if I absolutely had to spend money on a new James Patterson book, I’d rather spend $4.99 than $19.99.  So maybe James Patterson really is looking out for his fans.

Sometimes I get become sad when I finish every book a great author has written, and I know there’s nothing left by that author for me to read.  I’m not calling James Patterson great, but at least with Bookshots I know I’ll never run out of James Patterson books to read.

*****

Just like a Bookshot, my ebook is short and cheap.

Unlike most Bookshots, my ebook has only one author.

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10 Comments
  1. Great post! I read a Patterson book for the first time this past fall, and it may be a cold day in hell before I ever read his (?) work again. Bleh.

  2. As you know, I pretty much share your opinions on Patterson. But I saw him speak at a conference recently, and I have a hard time disliking him anymore because he came across as such a funny, nice, regular guy, who also was well-read and could speak intelligently about writers who are much better than him, and who he admits are better than him. That doesn’t help his cause as a writer, of course, but after hearing him speak, I think he’s more of a smart businessman than a writer. He talked about why came up with “bookshots.” He said there wasn’t enough innovation in bookselling, and he said there ought to be a market for novellas in our fast-paced world where people have less time to spend on things but more choices to spend it on than ever. He said why should we only be selling short story collections and novels when the novella is a perfectly legitimate art form, too. I think he has a point, even if he’s not much of a writer.

    P.S. Been waiting for your post on Bookshops since they first hit the shelves. Knew it was coming sooner or later!

    • “P.S. Been waiting for your post on Bookshops since they first hit the shelves. Knew it was coming sooner or later!”-

      I just noticed them a few days before I wrote this post. It was a “What the heck?” moment.

  3. I don’t think you should be bad-mouthing James Patterson. At some

  4. I read an article by James, he maintained he wrote the outline of every novel while his co authors write the work to his outline and turn in the chapters to him for approval. Shrug. Oh and if you take his masters class you can compete for a slot as a co author on his next book. LOL

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  1. The Literary Rants: James Patterson’s Bookshots — Dysfunctional Literacy | Slattery's Horror Weblog

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