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Why Do So Many People Read James Patterson Books?

January 26, 2020

Even James Patterson hasn’t read all of these books.

This is a legitimate question (I think), and it’s bothered me for years.  James Patterson puts out at least one book a month, most of them with a coauthor.  Most of the books have bad dialogue, no sense of setting, huge plot holes, and one-page chapters.

By most standards of writing, James Patterson’s books are filled with bad writing.  Despite all of this, every Patterson novel becomes a best seller.  He even teaches a masterclass about how to write fiction, and I think people pay money for it.

This shouldn’t happen.  James Patterson should be shamed for writing so many books (I usually call them “rough drafts”), and publishers should be shamed for releasing these rough drafts to the public.

I don’t even believe in shame tactics.  I think shame tactics are used by people with weak arguments.  But if I were to ever use a shame tactic (and I won’t), it would be on James Patterson and his book publishers (but NOT on the people who buy his books).

Somewhere along the way, there should be a hiccup in James Patterson’s book sales.  At least one of his books should bomb, but they never do.  Why is that?

Why do so many people read James Patterson books?

I think I finally have the answer.  And I explain it in the video below.


I don’t want to bash James Patterson all the time because that can get old.  He’s not the only author who might be scamming readers.  Here’s an author who struck it big with a debut novel a couple years ago but turned out to be (in my opinion) kind of shady.

Famous Author Lifestyle Strategy: Lie about Having Cancer

When The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn came out last year, I was immediately suspicious of it.  The novel was promoted as “the next Gone Girl.”  A bunch of other extra promotion was going into the novel, way too much for a first time author.  The final straw was Stephen King calling the book “unputdownable.”  I’d been burned by King’s overly positive reviews of mediocre fiction in the past, and I knew something was going on.

Then in an interview, I discovered that AJ Finn’s real name was Dan Mallory and that he’d actually worked as an executive editor for the publishing company that was putting out the book.  No wonder The Woman in the Window was getting so much publicity, I thought, nepotism.  Journalists didn’t seem to see anything wrong with that.  I understood; if journalists voice their concerns, they won’t get future interviews.

Despite all the super-hype for a first time novelist (I’m always suspicious of super-hype), I felt I needed to read at least an excerpt of The Woman in the Window.  Maybe the novel really was that unputdownable.  It happens, though I can’t think of an example offhand.  Usually a novel that is that unputdownable takes a while to get noticed.  Still, I decided to read the first few chapters (without spending any money).

Read more here!

Writing too much about James Patterson or the author who lied about having cancer or other authors who lied/cheated to get book deals can get negative.  I don’t want to be negative all the time.   Even though writers can get frustrated by aspects of publishing, now is a great time to be a writer.

5 Reasons Why It’s Great To Be A Writer Today!

He’s grinning because he hasn’t noticed any of his mistakes yet. (image via wikimedia)

It’s easy for most writers to be negative.   It’s tough to make enough money to earn a living.   We’re never satisfied with what we’ve written.  No matter how many people read and respond to our work, it’s never enough.  But even with these challenges, it’s better to be a writer today than it’s ever been.

1. Writing is physically easier than it’s ever been.

Authors used to have to physically hold a pencil or a pen and physically write out each word on a sheet of paper.  Even worse, back in the really old days, writers had to dip quills into ink and then got beaten by monks if they made a mistake.

I’m not sure that ever really happened because there’s no ancient video footage of monks beating writers who made mistakes.  If there’s no video footage of an event, I’m skeptical that it ever happened.  Then again, back in the 1970s I saw nuns rap student knuckles with rulers, so if  nuns in the 1970s were doing that, I’m pretty sure in the really old days monks did much worse to young writers who made errors on their parchments.  After all, nothing inspires perfection like the threat of violence.

Read more here!

What do you think?  Why do you think so many people read James Patterson books?  Do you think James Patterson is scamming readers?  If lying about cancer is bad, what kind of a lie is okay for a writer to tell the public?


  1. Emmarrr96 permalink

    I’d never really considered this before, but you’ve got some interesting points. James Patterson novels were some of the first books I read when moving from YA to adult fiction. I think it’s a mix of the super short chapters and fairly colloquial language that makes his novels such easy reads. Easy reads will always brings readers in no matter how good (or bad) the plot line is!

  2. Maybe because they’re the literary equivalent of junk food?

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