Why I think Bookshots by James Patterson failed…

In June 2016, James Patterson launched an “amazing new imprint” with his publisher, Little Brown & Company, called “Bookshots”. Bookshots is an imprint that publishes thriller and romance novellas, marked as “Full-length novels without the filler. To be specific, the Bookshots website states, “Bookshots are all-new, original stories by James Patterson (and his co-authors) that feature a complete, cinematic storytelling experience in 150 pages.” They inclue some of Patterson’s most famous characters, such as Alex Cross and Lindsey Boxer from The Women’s Murder’s Club. Bookshots had two separate “sections” to them. Bookshots, which was made for Thrillers, and Bookshot Flames, which was meant for romance stories. You could also read Bookshots on the go with the Bookshots website and Bookshots Mobile Apps.

Some people thought that this “revolutionary new idea” would take off…Until they went with the other crowd of people that already read novellas and novelettes.

As a result, Bookshots failed. As of February 2018, there hasn’t been a single Bookshot published, and you can’t purchase ANY of the stories on the official Bookshot app or dedicated website.

So, what was the downfall of Patterson’s Bookshot Imprint? I believe there was one main factor, but a lot of other smaller factors

  • CoAuthors

James Patterson is known for “co-authoring” with other authors. In reality, he is having his co-authors write the books FOR him for a price and including them on the final product. This greatly impacts the main reason for the failure. Each author has their own writing style, and can’t ALL mimic Patterson’s style.

  • Distribution

Patterson stated that these Bookshots would be in stores like CVS or Walgreens, alongside the magazines. Well, that never happened. My guess is that the idea was not good enough for retailers such as CVS or Walgreens, because there are already small, short books sold there.

  • Kindle AND paperback prices

$4.99 for a paperback and $3.99 for a kindle IS a good price….but considering one can get a Kindle for $40 and buy novellas, novelettes, or even full-length novels from other authors for a lot cheaper was another factor.

  • The content

In my opinion, Bookshots’ final nail in the coffin was how the stories played out. The Trial AND Cross Kill both had characters that were assumably “resurrected”. The books had little character development and very, VERY quick plots. If you look at a Bookshot title on Goodreads, they range from 2 – 3.5 stars. I have YET to find a five star Bookshot title.

My conclusion is that the Bookshots imprint and “brand” was an abandoned idea that MIGHT have gone somewhere. If he ended up making new characters and making a series instead of stand-alone novels (Like what he did with the Bookshots “Diamond Trilogy”), and NOT use ideas from an existing series, this might have been a hit.

Published by Bestselling Author Ian Schrauth

Ian Schrauth is the bestselling author of "The American Way" and the young author of many other books. He lives with his mother in St. Louis, MO where he enjoys talking to his friends on Facebook, going to the library, blogging, and working as a Software/Web Developer. He was born on 3/19/1997.

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