James Patterson Isn’t the Only James Patterson

Wait, what did I just say? Hehe. I’ll explain.

What do you think of when you think of James Patterson? I think of several things. Alex Cross. Michael Bennett. Young adult. Ghostwriting. Ridiculous criticism.  MILLIONS. And also, “all the books.” If you know anything about James Patterson, then you should understand why I think of those things. Pretty straightforward. The difference between myself and others is that I have no issue with the way he does things. He’s figured out how to make book publishing an overly profitable business for A LOT of people. He now publishes his young adult series under his own imprint. But I’ve learned something during my 4+ months working in a bookstore. He’s not the only one, he just does it better than everyone else.

John Grisham. David Baldacci. J.K. Rowling. Rick Riordan.

What do all of these authors have in common besides being major bestsellers? They’ve all written/write young adult and adult fiction. And this is certainly not an exhaustive list. Now I bet you’re thinking, “But that isn’t why I criticize Patterson, I criticize him because he doesn’t write his own books.” Right. Except you only know that because he’s allows you to know it. What you don’t know is how many authors don’t. Right? You can’t sit there and say with any amount of certainty which authors do and don’t write their own books. You can guess and you can assume, but you can’t really know for sure because you’re not in the room when those books are being written. So the ghostwriting criticism is flat out dumb. And there can’t be too much criticism about publishing for teens and for adults because there are SO many other authors doing the same.

Patterson doesn’t need me to defend his work or methods, but I’ll continue to do so for as long as he keeps entertaining me with his Alex Cross novels. Because they’ll never be the greatest books written, but they’re more entertaining than so many other series I’ve read. That’s gotta count for something.

PS: His various young adult books can’t be kept in stock at my store. Too many people coming in for them. So while so many people criticize him he’ll just keep on writing books that entertain readers of all ages.

What do you think of authors writing in different genres and not doing so under a pen name? I have no issue with any author who’s able to do it well, because it can’t be as easy as they make it seem.

J.K. Rowling Isn’t Finished With Children’s Books

I think J.K. Rowling has now written five adult books, right? Three in her detective series and two standalones. I think. Well fear not, she’s not finished writing books for younger readers just yet.

Her newest book has just been released, and she stated in a radio interview that her focus is on other things and projects at the moment, but a return to children’s books is definitely in the future. I know what you’re thinking. “I WANT TO GO BACK TO HOGWARTS.” I think only a handful of people know if she’ll be returning to the best school of witchcraft and wizardry around, and I don’t think they’re saying.

What do you think? More books from Hogwarts in our future? Or maybe books completely different from her original series? I honestly have no idea, except that she’s more than earned the right to do whatever she wants to.

There’s a new Harry Potter Book

No, there is not an eighth book in the series that you don’t know about. There isn’t a spin-off for one of the characters. And there isn’t another book that takes place at Hogwarts that has nothing to do with Harry and company. But there IS a new book. It is a fully illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. And it looks great!

I first saw the book on display at my store maybe last week? And I didn’t know what it was. I thought it was some kind of condensed, lower reading level edition. Then I opened it up and realized that it is the ENTIRE book! I didn’t buy one. And I’m not going to because I have the whole series already and I don’t need my copy to have fancy illustrations, but I bet you know someone who would appreciate how nice this book is. I think it’s the sixth best selling book on Amazon right now. And it’s sold out. But if you want to get a look at these pretty books, then go into your neighborhood Half Price Books and take a look!

What do you think of the first book in the series being fully illustrated after almost two decades?

PS: The reason some of my posts focus on what’s happening at Half Price Books is because I see so many things during the course of the week that I think are perfect for the blog. No one is paying me to write these. Like I found out yesterday that Rick Riordan has started a new series. I find things like this out all the time. Sometimes I share them with y’all and sometimes I don’t.


On this day in 2014 I published A New Writing Project?.

 

Is Sexism Alive in Publishing?

Now, before you all yell and scream at me, or roll your eyes thinking I’m about to rage in feminist fury… Don’t.

I’m not accusing. Yet. I honestly want your opinions.

Recently, I was talking with another writing/author friend of mine (who has one book published), and is feeling pressure from her publisher to market more. She’s also verbalized some concerns that she is not getting enough support from her publisher and the market since she is female and her MC is male.

I know that J.K. Rowling’s publisher asked her to go by her initials because they didn’t think boys would want to read a book written by a female. Especially with a male lead.

Has anyone else noticed this? Are there certain genres that are more accepting of male versus female writers? Or vice versa?

I know this thought has entered my mind a few times. It seems to me (and I know this is probably me being ignorant on the subject) that young girls are fine with reading books with male MCs, but young boys aren’t as open to reading books with female MCs.

I’ve actually heard a 9 year-old boy confirm this theory.

I know this isn’t true for every age range and genre, and I certainly don’t want to make generalizations about one gender over another, but does it go so far as to be true in publishing houses, agencies, or any other aspect of the writing world?

What are your thoughts? Have you noticed any trends?

Toodles!

~ Amy

Killing Main Characters

I don’t know about any of you, but I used to despise authors who killed off main characters. How could they, right? Especially if those characters are part of a series and the readers get so emotionally attached to them. It seems despicable!

I remember when a friend of mine went BERZERK after reading a certain modern series where the main character dies at the end. She was so utterly disgusted with the author, I thought to myself, “I’ll never kill off one of my main characters.”

But now, as a writer, I see the benefit and difficulties of a potential main character’s death. And, as a medical professional, I also realize how ridiculous it is for an author to work so hard to keep a MC alive. I can’t help but roll my eyes in disgust when I read about horrendous wounds and injuries and atrocities that happen to a MC and, miraculously!, they survive! I mean, how do authors get crap like that past an editor and publisher?

Coming from working in a hospital in downtown Detroit, let me tell you, that is not what happens. When people are wounded or blown up by a bomb, they either don’t make it, or they’re scarred or disabled for the rest of their lives. Unless you write fantasy or magical realism where there literally is a magical cure for an injury… THERE IS NO MAGICAL CURE!

So, yeah, now I’m plotting and planning the deaths of a MC or two in a few of my books, and it is not easy. It requires so much work to justify their deaths to the readers. I believe some authors are afraid to cause an uproar in their fan base and lose money, but if it fits the story, then kill them off!

Let’s be real, if J.K. Rowling had killed off Harry, there certainly would have been riots in the streets. But she still had the authorial right to kill him if she wanted. Life happens. And in books, life should still happen.

Am I right? What do you think? Keep or kill MCs? Why?

A

UK Poll: Author is most desired profession

YouGov recently conducted a poll in Britain to figure out what the people believe to be the most desirable jobs. And author came out on top. To say that I was surprised by this would be a slight understatement. I’m not going to sit here and act like I’d have any idea which jobs would or should be considered more desirable than any others, but author? Really?

But I will offer up my little explanation. You know that whole “everyone has that one book in them” crap that I really hate? Yeah…let’s talk about it. The people who keep floating around that little saying have probably never come close to writing a book. They probably don’t even have a story idea, but they have this belief that their book will happen. Okay. Good luck with that, I say. But I think people who don’t write view being an author as easy. They just favorite authors who are famous, rich, and well-known. But they don’t see all the other traditionally published authors who still have day jobs.

I don’t consider myself an author, so I won’t sit here and tell y’all how ridiculous that thought process really is, but I did write a book. Yeah it’s not great and after all my reading there were still typos and things I wish I’d have changed…but it is a book. And it was pretty damn hard to write that thing. I’ve made between $500-$1,000 from it. And there was nothing glorious about any part of the process. But no one saw that. None of the people who read it. And none of the people who have come across it on here or on Amazon saw the process. But y’all know. Because y’all write.

So sure it’s easy to say that being an author is the most desirable job when all you see is the money EL James and JK Rowling have managed to make from their books and adaptations, but those two are hardly the expectation and one would do well to remember that.

The second and third most desirable jobs were librarian and academic, respectively. You can view the full list of results here.


I’m starting a new thing on here. The first sentence of every post from here on out will be “On this day in 2014 I published ‘insert title of post from the corresponding day.'” I’m doing this because I have new readers every single day and they only see my new stuff when I have some old posts that may interest them as well. This will be the first. On this day last year I published Tenth Chapter Benchmark. It’s about my own writing!

 

What’s Your Problem With James Patterson?

James Patterson

I’ve written about James Patterson in a number of posts because it doesn’t get any better than him when it comes to selling books. But I’ve also mentioned that his work is scrutinized well beyond the work of others, and I just don’t get it.

How often do you read blog posts about how much that particular person hates JK Rowling or Stephen King? Really doesn’t hardly happen. Or how about how that person will never read any books written by a particular author? That happens, but one wouldn’t expect to be talking about the bestselling author in the world. If you don’t like his books, then okay. No one is holding a gun to your head telling you to read them. But I’m thinking there’s more to it than that. Which really makes no sense to me.

Writers, readers, and other prominent authors seem to feel the need to criticize Patterson for everything he does. Again, this goes beyond the books.

Do you HATE that he sells millions of books every year and you don’t?

Do you HATE that his name is in several different genres?

Do you HATE that he earns nearly $100 million every year?

Do you HATE that you can’t break into traditional publishing and he runs the damn place?

Do you HATE that you’re so obviously a better writer than he is?

Do you HATE that he’s assisted in his writing by other writers?

Or do you just not find his work appealing?

Seriously, answer those questions. Because we both know that it won’t just be about the books. It never is when it comes to Patterson.

But let’s slow down a bit. James Patterson won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel back in 1976 for his novel The Thomas Berryman Number. Guys, you don’t win Edgar awards by accident. So to sit there and say that he’s the worst writer blah blah blah is just a matter of your opinion. Second, so many people seem to pay so much attention to how he uses other writers. Why? What do you care how he writes his books? You don’t even know how your favorite authors go about writing their books or their process or much of anything besides their release dates. But James Patterson working with several other authors suddenly makes him a terrible person, right? Even though there’s no doubt in my mind that every one of those authors has made A LOT of money by working with him. Oh, but writing isn’t about money, right?

Third, James Patterson releases books in multiple genres. Oh no, the world is going to end. He’s no good for writing books that can be read by just about anyone, but it’s okay if JK Rowling writes whatever she wants because she gave us Harry Potter. Yep. Shut up. There’s not even an argument with this one.

It boils down to the fact that James Patterson is undoubtedly the best at what he sets out to do, sell books. I’m not going to say he’s the best writer writing today, because I certainly don’t believe that to be true, but the criticism he receives is so often about something other than the books. It’s about James Patterson the person or his philosophy when it comes to writing or how much money he makes every year.

He collaborates with other authors. Get over it. He releases several books a year. Get over it. He has more money than you do. Get over it.

By the way, I only read one series he writes. His original. Alex Cross. A series HE writes.

Ever Get Tired of Reading the Same Genre all the Time?

No.

That was my response yesterday when Jess asked me this question. My reasoning for it is simple. There are great books released in every genre every year. Which means there are always good books out there to be read, no matter the genre. I’ve stated so many times in the past on this blog that I mostly read crime fiction. I don’t think it’s better than any other genre. I don’t think the authors are inherently more talented. I simply enjoy good detective stories.

This is why I want to write crime fiction. Because of what I’ve read. Because of the authors I’ve come to read so many times. For instance, James Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I know he’s always getting criticized for how his books are written and released, but I’ve never not been entertained by one of his Alex Cross novels and I think I’m ten books in. Robert B. Parker has probably influenced every crime writer out there today, and you can definitely see his influence in their work.

See, I don’t have an issue with someone who reads five different genres or dozens of authors all the time. But I think I do have an issue with someone asking this particular question in a manner that suggests one genre isn’t worthy of being read all the time. Because that’s absurd. No one says anything to those readers who only read classics. Or to all those readers who have a never ending YA TBR list. So don’t sit there and ask me how come I only read mysteries. The funny thing is that I’ve read a few different genres and authors in the last two years. JK Rowling. John Green. Anne Frank. Michael Lewis. So even though I might say I mostly read mysteries, I also dabble in other genres along the way.

So tell me, do you ever get tired of reading books within the same genre all the time? You know my answer.

My 2014 Reading Biography

AKA the books I read this year.

Honestly, I’m not sure that “reading biography” is a thing that people say, but I saw it on another post and I’m stealing it. How about we make it catch on and then eventually everyone who reads this blog will be able to say they had a hand in a new tag/meme on WordPress. I can see it now.

“Hey guys, this is my reading biography. As started over at Write me a Book, John!”

Maybe? Anyway, this is going to be a much shorter post than I’d have hoped at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure you know by now that my goal each year is to read 50 books. I think it’s a nice round number that’s definitely attainable, considering I read 44 a couple years ago in just seven months. Guess how close I got? Just guess. I’ll wait.

Hurry up.

Okay. Time’s up. I read…seven books! SO close to my goal! Not. It was a terrible reading year. I mean, how can I even say I’m a reader with that kind of number? It’s really disappointing and there’s no explanation. I’m just a loser. Here’s the mediocre list anyway. And I’m even going to post the date I finished each one so you really get an idea how bad it really was.

1. Valediction (Spenser #11) – Robert B. Parker – January 1

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – March 7

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – JK Rowling – March 13

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – March 26

5. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10) – James Patterson – April 12

6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green – June 12

7. The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly – June 21

Pages Read: 2193

Reading Time: 36:07

Series Books: 4

Authors: 7

Amazon 100 Books: 4

That’s it. That’s all there is to know from what I read in 2014. This means I’ve read a whopping 22 books since January 1, 2013! What am I doing!? No. 2015 will be better. I know it.

How was your 2014 reading year? It couldn’t have been any worse than mine.

More Adaptations From the Work of JK Rowling

British writer JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series of books, poses during the launch of new online website Pottermore in Londo

Isn’t eight Potter movies enough? Along with the upcoming Potter spinoff? Obviously not. But really, is there any person out there who doesn’t want all her work adapted in some form? I don’t think so.

It was just recently announced that her first two Cormoran Strike novels will be adapted for TV by the BBC. I read crime novels all the time, but I haven’t read either The Cuckoo’s Calling or The Silkworm just yet. I’d like to get through that other series she wrote first. And I’m only one book in. The good thing about these books being adapted is that they’re not going to the big screen, but instead they’ll be adapted for TV. The major differences between a TV and theatrical adaptation are obvious. Try telling the story in roughly two hours or do so over the course of an entire season. I vote TV.

Also, her book The Casual Vacancy will be adapted into a miniseries set to air in February. I think.

And since this is turning into a JK Rowling news flash, did y’all hear (which I’m sure you have) that she’s releasing 12 days’ worth of stories for Christmas on Pottermore? Well she is. So get to reading them.

Are you excited for any of her upcoming adaptations?