Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Author" only in name

Yesterday I did something I never thought would happen: I passed on the chance to buy a James Patterson novel at a heavily discounted price. The reason? I've been turned off by him after hearing he doesn't write his own stories. What he does is have co-writers write first draft stories then he rewrites it to his own style. OK, so MAYBE he does some writing. But those aren't his stories. They are only fan fiction pieces featuring his Alex Cross character.

Written by somebody else. Yet it gets published under HIS name.

My reaction: WHAT THE FUDGE??

Unfortunately, this is not unusual in the book world. Tom Clancy doesn't write his stories; he's got a team of monkeys hard at work for him, keeping his success alive and well. Wouldn't be surprised if there are other so-called "authors" out there doing the same thing (William Shatner comes to mind).

This MAY pass as "the way things are" in the book world but my opinion is, these people have sold out. They're not REALLY authors; they only have their names on a book. It's like with V.C. Andrews; even after she died, new books by her kept coming out with her name as the author. The only difference is, the REAL author was mentioned INSIDE of the book. NOWHERE in a James Patterson novel do I see him thanking or recognizing his co-writer (at least, not in the ones I have).

What does this say about the REAL bona-fide aspiring authors struggling to get their books written and sold? What does this say about the authors we love to read who get paid millions only to have their name placed on a book? Oh, so they DID do some writing. Good for them. They didn't write the WHOLE BOOK. They didn't devise the idea. They didn't apply BIC every day to write their first drafts. They had a team of monkeys doing all of that for them.

Meanwhile, real honest-to-God authors laboring at the end of the food chain, struggling to feed their kids and get recognized, are writing their books BY THEMSELVES. Some MAY have a co-writer, who of course they acknowledge. Some MAY have editing help. And some are DEFINITELY getting their ideas from other writers they work with. But NONE of them are being paid the budget of a major Hollywood movie to have their name put on a book they didn’t write. Why? Because they don’t sell out.

The so-called “authors” who have sold out only care about their books-in-progress long after somebody else wrote the first draft or when it comes time to sign a contract. These people aren't real authors. A real author would write their own books their own selves. These people are just fakes and I will not read them. I prefer to read books ACTUALLY written by the person who ACTUALLY sat down to write it.