Patterson and Cussler to merge?
Lawerence Block just put up very interesting blog post about an announced merger of two of the major deities of popular fiction; James Patterson and Clive Cussler. You can read his post HERE.
It doesn’t into a great detail, but the deal is said to include ALL rights, in ALL media, to both author’s past, present, and future works. If you are fans of these writers, that about the volume of work that is…and what it will be. I’ve read that Patterson has no less than 15 books coming out this year alone. Granted, he has a large stable of co-authors he works with that have enabled him to keep his name on the new release rack constantly, but it’s still something to behold. Cussler doesn’t have nearly that kind of productivity, he does have quite a library of his own and a very large fan base to go with it.
So when I read this post, I tried to find out the specifics. The post doesn’t cite a specific source and, oddly enough, I haven’t found anything on either author’s website, and my google searches have been fruitless so far.
Still, it got me to thinking and it came down to two questions: What does it mean? and What is it mean?
Since I haven’t found anything else about this yet, a lot of this is speculation on my part.
WHAT does it mean? – It seems like two of the biggest names in popular fiction are seeing the changing landscape of publishing. Perhaps it’s the outdated business model, or the excruciatingly slow pace the big six publishers are adapting to the changing marketplace. Whatever the driving factor is, it appears TO ME that even though these two writers – who have the most solid standing, and theoretically, the most pull with their publishers, are seeing the need to take total control of their careers. LB’s post doesn’t say so, but in MY own opinion, it can only mean that they plan to self-publish going forward.
What does it MEAN? – Again, in my own opinion, it has to mean that they see some sort of major crisis or collapse on the horizon and they are preemptively jumping off the sinking ship. And if the biggest of the big names are getting nervous, and leaving the “protection” of the big six, how long does traditional publishing have left?
The post mentioned opposing views from two officers in the Author’s Guild. One called the deal “exciting”. The other said it was “Appalling”.
Someone else mentioned in the post said to blame Amazon. I got a chuckle at that.
It was also suggested the Department of Justice might not even sign off on the merger, I presume, over monopoly concerns. I don’t see the problem there. While these are giants in the industry, they are not the WHOLE industry. If I am correct, and they are simply kicking the trad-pub chauffeur out of the driver’s seat and taking the wheel of their careers and their own futures, then there can’t be a monopoly. They are still competing in the same marketplace, with the same competition. Today’s readers eat up material from their favorite author faster than trad-pub can get it to them. The merger will allow them to feed their audience’s need without being chained down by some outdated, and useless, publishing schedule.
I guess the biggest opposition to this merger is the same as the opposition to the new era of publishing: The middle man is no longer calling the shots.
It sounds like I’m just bashing traditional publishing, and suggesting that Patterson and Cussler are dissatisfied with their publishers. Well, that’s not entirely the case. I have no clue as to how JP and CC feel about their publishers. They’ve obviously had highly successful relationships with them. However, trad-pub still operates like its the late 80’s, in most cases, and in today’s world that is just bad for readers, writers and themselves – and if this merger is actually happening for the reasons I believe, then I have one last thing to say:
The prosecution rests.