January 13, 2012
Enquiring minds want to know, right? So my enquiring mind wants to know why there are so many bestselling authors (Patterson, Evanovich) who are co-writing books these days? Perhaps I've been oblivious and this arrangement has been around for a long time. However, doesn't it seem strange that a highly prolific author needs and/or wants to work with another writer? What is up with that?
This trend smacks of to me of "I'll lend your novel some 'cache' by attaching my name to it"-ness. It's a kind of backdoor approach to elevating the status of less than well-known authors, a coattails approach to marketing, if you will, that obvious has a financial incentive for the branded author as well as the collaborator. Readers who are devoted fans eagerly await the next installments of their favorite series or just the newest work of a favored author to hit the stands. (I stand accused of such a crime myself). I have a niggling feeling that our loyalty (and gullibility) is being used for nefarious, pocketbook-inspired purposes. I mean, seriously, does Evanovich need yet another book on the bestseller list? Isn't she busy writing her own projects? Does she really need to collaborate? Is the creative well running dry? Oh yeah, I'm talking to you too, Patterson.
On the optimistic other hand, maybe this is a case of apprenticeship and collaboration. Out of the kindness of their hearts (and a bit of a publisher's nudging) these powerhouse authors are training the next guard, passing the torch - readying them to take over the adventures of beloved characters. Who knows, maybe these authors are poker buddies or tennis partners or just good friends who all enjoy writing bestselling novels together. Yeah, that must be it.
Whatever it is, I've got my skeptical eye on this trend and I'm waiting to see where it's going to lead.