One of my favorite authors is so big and in such high demand that he doesn’t even write his own books anymore. There is a whole team ghostwriters that help him do that.
Another author I have grown to admire bangs out a best seller every 45 days. Works eight hours a day, even on vacation.
That’s right, no need to re-read. Links to the articles where they say as much are pasted below. But let me ramble on…
One is disciplined, hard working, and dedicated to writing for her audience. She is the queen of Romance.
The other is an advertising and marketing powerhouse. Has a whole wing of his publisher at his personal disposal. Genius, pure genius.
I love their work. Entertaining, page turning, good reads. Guilty pleasures- dare I say.
But, do their characters stay with me? Do they love writing their stories as much as I do my own? How can they, 45 days and ghostwriters?
Do you have to sell-out to sell a book? I mean, after reading a James Patterson I am in awe of the sheer brilliance and excitement. After a Roberts, satisfied for the HEA.
Recently, I have noticed a pattern. Their books read like a carbon copy of their previous works. The formula? The expectation? The characters all seem the same. The scenery and names just change.
Patterson's ghost writers are trying to emulate his style. I read some from a writer's POV. I noticed the voice differences from the earlier Alex Cross books, which I absolutely love and adore. In some of these co-written stories Patterson's voice is muddled, and it would be with two authors. But muddled in a bad way.
The three Nora Roberts I read back to back were really all the exact same book. The same exact plot really, a murder/bad guy, group of friends/siblings, main love interest and other secondary love plots, bad guy caught, HEA. Like, Barbie, same gal, different outfits and careers.
At some point if I am successful enough will I do the same? Will I have to? Will I churn out the same stories?
I want a writing career, not just publish a book. I love the craft, my characters, and the world I have created.
With a team of ghostwriters and the four-five day clock ticking, it all seems so impersonal. Much like the boring work I do day to day to pay the bills.
What will become of me if I am lucky enough to be in their position?
Now when I posted these articles to a crit group a while back, a few fellow aspiring authors came to the defense of their idols, the ones I question above. I get that, really I do. But it doesn’t get rid of the utter disappointment of it all.
Maybe Patterson is right; it all comes down to entertainment. Quick reads are quick reads. But maybe they are for that alone, for me to quickly read and put aside.
I want to write is what sticks, what stays with a person. I remember the characters I fell in love with and still love now. Looking back, some of those authors aren’t/weren’t as successful by industry standards. But by mine, they are and always will be.
Maybe that’s the writer I want to be, we’ll just have to wait and see.