In literary circles, there is probably no author more loathed than the U.S. thriller writer James Patterson, who freely admits to writing his books “ which he pumps out at a rate of eight or so a year “ with the assistance of a large stable of co-writers. Not that Patterson gives a fig. His books have sold 130-million copies worldwide, and now, according to The Independent, a survey has found that U.K. libraries lend more of his books than those of any other author.
Titles by the author were lent more than 1.5 million times between July 2006 and June 2007, an annual survey found. Such is his popularity that he has ousted the children’s writer Jacqueline Wilson from the number one spot, according to the Public Lending Right figures.
His primacy in the world of book lending is bound to reignite the debate on the “consortium style” working practices of some popular writers, where teams of co-writers help with the process of putting together a novel.
When Random House took over as his publisher last year, Patterson was referred to as a “company”, according to Joel Rickett, deputy editor of The Bookseller. The publishing house also claimed that he has had more number one bestsellers around the world in the past five years than Dan Brown, J. K. Rowling, Tom Clancy and John Grisham combined. Mr. Rickett said while his collaborative way of working may be frowned upon by some, it was a more common way of working in the thriller genre.
“If you compare his way of working to other writing teams such as those in television, it’s not that unusual. He appears to have a keen awareness of brand and there’s a certain amount of cringing in this country but it is really about establishing a name that readers can trust”