James Patterson is annoyed at being called prolific. “I love that word, ”he said sarcastically, though it’s hard to find a better adjective to describe the more than 300 books he has written since 1976 (averaging nearly seven a year). Most have been bestsellers, making him one of the richest living authors, earning around $ 80 million in a year, according to the most recent estimate by Forbes. His first novel, The Thomas Berryman number, won him an Edgar Award. In 2019, he won the National Humanities Medal.
Patterson, 74, has donated millions of books and dollars to schools, military bases, libraries, independent bookstores, and literacy organizations, including a 2018 partnership with the University of Florida to help educators to increase reading levels statewide. He’s even created an industry within the industry with his BookShots: short novels designed to reduce attention span. Within his army of negroes and co-writers – the well-known secret to keeping Patterson’s production pace – are high-level collaborators like President Bill Clinton (who once gave Patterson a Monopoly: socialism board game) and Dolly Parton (she calls him “JJ” or “Jimmy James”). Parton’s novel, Run, Rose, Run, will be released in March.