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An industry with the loyalty of Iago

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Iago.jpgThe New York Times magazine recently ran a profile of James Patterson, the world's best-selling author, in which his former publisher at Little, Brown, Sarah Crichton, "says she was continually surprised by the success of Patterson's books. To her, they lacked the nuance and originality of other blockbuster genre writers like Stephen King or Dean Koontz."

Lacked the nuance and originality of Dean Koontz?  That's like saying he lacks the grammatical competence of Sarah Palin. 

Whatever the legitimacy of the criticism (and I don't know because I haven't read Patterson), I have to wish - however naively - that publishers were more publicly supportive of their authors.  

Of course, authors can generate terrific material insulting their publishers (for example, Lord Byron's "Dear Doctor, I have read your play").  But such artistic impishness doesn't strike me as being as shockingly discourteous as Critchton's remark.  John Murray, after all, made money off Byron's poem mocking him.

(Gilbert Stuart's portrait of Iago from the Victoria & Albert museum)

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