Re: RARA-AVIS: Re: A fun fact...

From: Patrick King (
Date: 26 Jan 2010

  • Next message: Debbi Mack: "RARA-AVIS: Re: A fun fact..."

    James Patterson is more than an author. He's a brand. People look at the name, they think "good book" because they've been subject to brainwashing, er, marketing. That's the simple and awful truth of the matter. Period.

    And it's the only reason really great authors like Reed Farrel Coleman, Alex Carr, Christa Faust, etc., etc., (I could go on and on) aren't household names. Because they aren't being adequately supported by the publishers in their marketing efforts. Period.


    For me, Debbie, your theory just doesn't follow. A book is not Coca Cola. It's not even a record. A books is something you sit down and you read. Either you like it, or you don't like it. One may learn to accept a poor quality beer. One can even accept vat brewed coffee from Dunkin Donuts and if they're told often enough, "it's the best coffee," they may even tell that to you while they're drinking the diluted crap. But a book is private and personal time. Whether you're reading hard bound, paper back, or electronic, you have to sit down by yourself and read it, or get together with friends and read aloud. We all do that, right? You don't read while you're driving, or ironing, or exercising because if you do you'll probably hurt yourself and you certainly won't take in all you're trying to read.

    James Patterson's popularity relies on what's between those covers. There are 300,000,000 people in the US, alone. If a writer can glam onto 1/300 of those people, that's a successful writer. When a writer's work attracts that with no help, that's when the publisher starts to publicize. They figure if a million people like what in the book, there's another ten million who just haven't heard about it yet. Even here, we're talking about 11,000,000 out of 300,000,000. That IS success.

    Democracy is a failure and here's why: go into any classroom in any grade school or high school anywhere and look at the students' grades. The smallest number are A & B students. Next to them are F & D students. The largest number are always C students. Whenever we look at the popularity of anything recognize that this is a choice made by C students. These are people who are not too ambitious. People who follow the crowd. People who choose sensation over content. The thing is, popularity generates money. The more popular a thing is, the more of it those C students are willing to buy. It doesn't mean it's better or even good, just that it's popular. It appeals to a lower common denominator. When you find something that works in a market, then you publicize it. Try publicizing something that has not worked. It has been done and failed every time. You can't cram something down people's throats they don't already want to eat.

    James Patterson is popular because simple people like what he writes. You and I agree that it's crap. But we are not as popular as he is and that's because we are not writing to that audience. We are writing to ourselves and we are the ones who are reading our books. If you want popularity, analyze what Patterson, and Stephen King, and J.K. Rowling, and Dan Brown do, and do likewise. If you publicize a book before it has an audience to back it up, you waste both money and time. When Patterson puts out a bad book, you'll hear it round the world, and his publisher will pull back. Ann Rice was once as popular as Patterson, remember? C students want to read about vampires, not Jesus. At some point, I suppose, a popular writer may decide she's made enough money. No amount of talk shows or publicity can sell a book very few people want to read.

    Patrick King


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