Author James Patterson has sold an estimated 300 million books, including 98 No. 1 New York times hardcover fiction bestsellers -- a Guinness world record, as well as 19 consecutive No. 1 New York Times bestselling novels. In 2013, one in five hardcover suspense/thriller novels sold was written by Patterson.
Another significant figure for Patterson however is 680,000: the total number of books he has donated to American soldiers, 180,000 of which were shipped in care packages to injured veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families, as USA Today reported recently.
I spoke with Patterson about his initiative to contribute books such as "Kill Alex Cross," "Don't Blink," "Cross Fire," "10th Anniversary," "Worst Case," "Guilty Wives," "Now You See Her," "Kill Me If You Can" and several other titles to soldiers, in conjunction with the Coalition to Support America's Heroes and Feed the Children.
He said that he felt compelled to do something for our servicemen and servicewomen in part due to what he heard from a close friend of his who served in Vietnam, and whose son served in Iraq. Patterson learned that many soldiers overseas were demoralized due to the lack of attention given them by Americans.
"It became very clear to me that a lot of these kids feel that nobody is really thinking about them when they're over there, that they're kind of forgotten," Patterson told me.
"Not a lot of people are thinking about them and trying to do something to help."
Patterson believes that the books he donates provide an escape for troops under extremely stressful conditions, and serve as much-needed entertainment for troops in desert and mountains areas, where there effectively is no other entertainment.
We discuss Patterson's initiative beginning at around 0:58 below. During the interview, we also had the opportunity to discuss several other topics of interest including [relevant start times bracketed]:
- Patterson's initiative to encourage America's youth to read, and his website ReadKiddoRead.com [4:27]
- Patterson's insights on effective storytelling [7:00]
- How to influence the culture [8:25]
- Patterson's Advice for aspiring writers [9:12]
- What Patterson feels has enabled him to sell more books than anyone else [9:50]
- A preview of his next book, "Burn" [11:17]
- And much more
Note: The links in this post will give you an option to elect to donate a percentage of the proceeds from the sale to a charity of your choice. Mercury One, the charity founded by TheBlaze’s Glenn Beck, is one of the options. Donations to Mercury One go towards efforts such as disaster relief, support for education, support for Israel and support for veterans and our military. You can read more about Amazon Smile and Mercury One here.