James Patterson Defends Collaborative Writing

By Dianna Dilworth 

James Patterson is one of the bestselling authors of all time. According to Forbes, Patterson earned $90 million on book sales in 2014 and more than $700 million over the last decade.

Patterson’s success stems from publishing numerous bestsellers a year with the help of a team of writers, a practice that he has been criticized for as focusing on quantity versus quality. In an Adweek interview Patterson defended the practice of working with multiple writers to flesh out his books. Here is an excerpt:

“It’s an interesting thing in that I don’t think people get it,” he says. He thinks of himself less a mass-market taskmaster as chief of an art studio that produces frescoes. “You go around to the cathedrals of Europe and you start looking around and realize there were 20 painters working on this,” he says.

Patterson, who came up in advertising co  “In advertising, obviously, it tends to be teams,” he says. “People think it’s, like, so strange, but it really isn’t that strange. What I do is write a 60- to 80-page outline. I mean, last year I wrote two books by myself, and then over a thousand pages of outlines. And the outlines are a lot of the imaginative work. Not all of it, but a lot of it.”