Most Borrowed Author in Britain

For the second year in a row James Patterson has been announced as the UK’s most borrowed author. Interestingly, all is not as it seems: in calling Patterson “less a novelist than a literary factory”, The Guardian notes that he actually employs a large number of writers to do the majority of his writing.

Patterson and the writers he employs are happy to keep the fans happy, with the Patterson name emblazoned across at least eight books in the last year, in genres from thriller to romance to misery memoir. Other writers’ names regularly appear on the cover – often in much smaller type – but he denies that he sometimes has no involvement at all in the writing. Last year he said: “I get all this baloney about well, what does he do? Does he even look at them? Well yes, he does look at them.”

Amongst a couple of other facts, this one I found most interesting:

His ability to know what pushes readers’ buttons may be explained by the job he gave up to concentrate on a full-time writing career: chief executive of one of the world’s best known advertising firms, J Walter Thompson.

As Richard notes, Time ran a profile of Patterson a couple of years ago outlining his methods in more detail—a method somewhat akin to Damien Hirst’s work philosophy.