Charles here – and make sure you read Rick’s entry (below) before you read mine. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Rick, my friend, I love ya but I must respectfully disagree. Not with everything you wrote – I agree that some of Patterson’s work makes me queasy and that there are all sorts of ethical questions about signing your name to someone else’s work. No, what made me jump in my seat was this:
“Is making a gagillion dollars a year that important? This isn't sour grapes here. If someone offered me the same deal, I would not take. I might kick myself later, but I have more pride in my writing than that. Patterson's books are the equivalent of fast food. That's not what I'm interested in producing. Most writers I know are the same way.”
You can go ahead and count me in the minority.
As I have written in this blog many times, I’m not writing books for the money. If I were I’d be sadly disappointed. We have discussed – too often? – the lack of financial rewards this passion has allotted, but come on Rick, a gagillion dollars? Hell, I’ll sell out for a lot less than that. For few hundred thousand, I’ll be your prose-pumping whore. Sure I take pride in my writing, but my pride can be bought, and rather cheaply I think. To know that I could quit my job, spend more time with my wife, more time reading and trying to play the saxophone, and all I had to do was crank out (or better yet, tell someone to crank out) mindless drivel that would then be affixed with my name – and a stunning author photo shot by Annie Leibovitz – I’d be insanely, uncontrollably ecstatic. Fast food reading? For the right price (again, shoppers, shockingly cheap), I’ll pump out fat-laden, sodium-heavy, nutritionally-null junk food books that make Patterson’s look like high literature.
As the man says, we all gots to work, and if I could make much, much, much more writing trash than writing books I’d be proud of, I’d do it. That’s not saying I wouldn’t still write for me, but if I didn’t have the time and could only pump out crap, that’s what I would do.
What’s that, gentle reader? This isn’t true for you? You wouldn’t sell out for your art? You wouldn’t sign your name to something you’re not totally proud to call your own? For any amount?
Well, it’s easy to say when no one is asking you to.
But if they did?
Here’s my wish – may one day my name be invoked on countless blogs as that ‘pretty good writer who produced several decent reads and then sold his soul for the big seven-figure payday.’
I could live with that. Quite well.