When I quit my job at Half Price Books recently I had a tough choice to make. I could either buy all of the books I wanted before my employee discount was no longer valid or I could just forget about them. I of course chose to buy.
This is the result. There were so many I couldn’t get them all in the picture for the thumbnail. Ha!
Now watch! It’s super quick!
Sometimes people say things that make no sense. Like comparing the work of two authors who have no business being compared. I think it’s a little ridiculous to say that genres limit creativity by placing labels on one’s work.
No one is saying that certain genres need very specific stories or characters. I mean, just look at young adult. Sure we have an expectation of what to expect when starting a new young adult book, but that doesn’t mean every book is the same. Which goes for every genre.
The fact is (to me) that we need genres. Let me make a comparison here. Imagine if we didn’t have genres in music. Then we wouldn’t have radio stations genre-specific. And maybe that’d be interesting to some, but not to me. Imagine a Madonna song followed by Kendrick Lamar and then Blake Shelton. It would be odd.
Now let’s get back to books. Imagine going into a bookstore and there is not a single label or sign anywhere in the store to tell you which section you’re in. Why? No genres. So the entire store is alphabetized by author. The store is one big blob of books. Business books. Young adult. Mystery. History. Art. All shelved together with no “label”.
Think about this. How many times have you read a book, series, or author and immediately wondered what to read next? I haven’t done it much recently, but I have done it. So you play around on Amazon or Google or maybe even on the author’s website trying to find similar works. That’s what genres help with. I once randomly grabbed a book at Barnes and Noble by Robert B. Parker. I’d never read any detective fiction before. In subsequent years I found Spenser, Elvis Cole, Alex McKnight, Charlie Hood, Alex Cross, and Harry Bosch. These characters are not the same and they’re not directly influential of one another, but they do fall under the same umbrella of detective fiction.
There’s nothing limiting about genres. If you want to write something that blends several different genres together in the pages of a single book, then go ahead. But newsflash, it’s already been done plenty before you and those books are all categorized somewhere.
Do you think genres are important? Or are they just stupid labels to you?
Wait, what did I just say? Hehe. I’ll explain.
What do you think of when you think of James Patterson? I think of several things. Alex Cross. Michael Bennett. Young adult. Ghostwriting. Ridiculous criticism. MILLIONS. And also, “all the books.” If you know anything about James Patterson, then you should understand why I think of those things. Pretty straightforward. The difference between myself and others is that I have no issue with the way he does things. He’s figured out how to make book publishing an overly profitable business for A LOT of people. He now publishes his young adult series under his own imprint. But I’ve learned something during my 4+ months working in a bookstore. He’s not the only one, he just does it better than everyone else.
John Grisham. David Baldacci. J.K. Rowling. Rick Riordan.
What do all of these authors have in common besides being major bestsellers? They’ve all written/write young adult and adult fiction. And this is certainly not an exhaustive list. Now I bet you’re thinking, “But that isn’t why I criticize Patterson, I criticize him because he doesn’t write his own books.” Right. Except you only know that because he’s allows you to know it. What you don’t know is how many authors don’t. Right? You can’t sit there and say with any amount of certainty which authors do and don’t write their own books. You can guess and you can assume, but you can’t really know for sure because you’re not in the room when those books are being written. So the ghostwriting criticism is flat out dumb. And there can’t be too much criticism about publishing for teens and for adults because there are SO many other authors doing the same.
Patterson doesn’t need me to defend his work or methods, but I’ll continue to do so for as long as he keeps entertaining me with his Alex Cross novels. Because they’ll never be the greatest books written, but they’re more entertaining than so many other series I’ve read. That’s gotta count for something.
PS: His various young adult books can’t be kept in stock at my store. Too many people coming in for them. So while so many people criticize him he’ll just keep on writing books that entertain readers of all ages.
What do you think of authors writing in different genres and not doing so under a pen name? I have no issue with any author who’s able to do it well, because it can’t be as easy as they make it seem.
I’d never heard this particular term until I got on WordPress. But to me auto-buy authors are the authors whose books you buy without thinking about the series or reviews or anything. You just buy the book because it’s something new you haven’t read from one of your favorite authors. If I’m using this definition, then I have none.
I don’t buy books as authors write them. And I don’t think I own every book written by any particular author. I started most of the series I read long after they initially began. Even my favorites like Harry Bosch and Alex Cross were started more than a decade after the first books in the series were published. But I understand that if you’re caught up with an author’s series, then you’ll likely pre-order or buy their new book on release day. I can understand that. I think it’s a little different story when people do that for every James Patterson novel because you’re talking multiple books a month rather than one or two a year.
The one thing I do have in common with everyone else and their auto-buy authors is that if I’m reading a series I enjoy, then I won’t be checking to see what the next book is about before buying it. So I guess I auto-buy the next in the series? Which is what I imagine most people do. What if you read Half Blood Prince and didn’t much care for it, was there any chance you weren’t going to read Deathly Hallows? No. Of course not.
Do you have any auto-buy authors? I think I auto-buy series, but not authors.
I told you guys yesterday about how impressed I was during my first experience at Half Price Books, and I promised to show y’all which books I came away with. It looks like I make good on my promises. Sometimes. Ha. Anyway, I’m just going to show you the books now. Normally when I glance over book haul posts I see long lists of covers and descriptions of the books included. I’m not going to do that because those are almost always ultra popular YA titles that everyone knows about. I’m pretty sure you’ve never even heard of half my books, so no point in me acting like everyone will know them. To the books!
I know you can see the titles just fine, but I’ll tell you the book titles anyway.
Mary Mary (Alex Cross #11) by James Patterson
The Strain (The Strain #1) by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan
LA Requiem (Elvis Cole #8) by Robert Crais
Fahrenheit 451 by Rad Bradbury
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Dracula by Bram Stoker
I have two interesting points about these books before I leave you alone for the rest of the day. First, I’ll be making videos for three of these titles. And second, three of the books are actually new! I bet you can’t even tell which ones aren’t. Remember what I said about the books available at Half Price Books?
Have you read any of these books? Tell me about the books you’ve added to your collection recently.
On this day in 2014 I published Writer’s Privilege is a Real Thing.
I don’t know what the rest of the world is doing today, but here in the US it’s Father’s Day. Or is it Fathers Day? Anyway, I figured I’d write a relevant post about it. So we’re talking dads in books. Let’s get to it.
If you don’t know, I’m reading To Kill a Mockingbird for my next video. I’ll be finished with it today once I’m home from work. Which means I’m not going to tell you anything about what I think of Atticus or the book here, except that I think he belongs on this list.
He’s a detective in DC. Then moves on to the FBI. Then I think he goes back to detective work. I think. I’m only about halfway through the series and James Patterson releases them too fast for me to keep up with. But I’ve never read a single page of one of the Cross novels thinking that his family wasn’t his top priority. Reading about him and his family is just as entertaining as reading about the criminals he goes after.
He’s not actually a father. But during the course of one of his books he takes a kid under his wing, and never forgets about him. And they develop this really interesting understanding between each other that I don’t think I’ve seen in other stories. Paul (the kid he takes under his wing) eventually knows when Spenser has something on his mind without needing to ask. He knows when to press him for information and when to back off. He knows as much about Spenser as Spenser is willing to let anyone know. Which is really cool because Spenser doesn’t go around giving out information about himself unnecessarily.
I think that’s it. I just discovered that most of the characters I read aren’t fathers. I guess having kids isn’t interesting enough to be in books. Who are some cool dads you’ve read about in literature?
And happy Father’s Day to all you papas out there.
This should surprise no one who knows anything about Patterson.
He writes in several different genres and releases more than 10 books a year. In 2014 he sold 20 million books and released 16 new titles. The guy is a juggernaut in the world of publishing, and I’m pretty sure his publisher will do anything he asks them to in support of his work. The new imprint will be called ‘Jimmy Patterson’, which is perfect because its focus will be on children’s books.
The goal of the new imprint will be to release about a book a month, with a focus on middle grade and young adult fiction. And the best thing I’ve read about this new imprint is that Patterson has stated very clearly that it isn’t about selling more books, (and making more money) it’s about getting kids reading more. He wants to write and publish books that make the reader want to keep turning the page, and then grab another book once they’re finished. Normally I never believe anyone as prolific as he is when they start talking about money, but I really believe it this time. I can’t speak about how he writes his children’s series, but I know that he writes very short chapters in his Alex Cross series that force you to keep reading because you know in two or three pages you’ll be done with another chapter. If his children’s books are written in a similar manner, then I can definitely see kids reading and wanting to read more.
What do you think about Patterson launching his own imprint? I like it.