Fast-Paced Best Seller: Author Russell Blake

My writer friend (He said I could call him that if I buy him some tequila.) Russell Blake is in the Wall Street Journal.


Fast-Paced Best Seller: Author Russell Blake Thrives on Volumes


Alexandra Alter
Updated Jan. 7, 2014 10:34 p.m. ET

Yoon Kimn wishes Russell Blake wouldn’t write so much.

Ms. Kimn, a 46-year-old IT consultant who lives in Coram, N.Y., is addicted to Mr. Blake’s fast-paced mysteries and conspiracy thrillers. In the past two years, she has torn through all 25 of his books. But it is hard to keep up. Mr. Blake has been publishing a new novel roughly every five weeks. In December, he released two new books: a hard-boiled noir detective novel starring a struggling Hollywood private investigator, and a thriller about an ex-Mossad agent on the run.

Author Craig Osso writes thrillers under the pen name Russell Blake.

“I wish he would slow down,” says Ms. Kimn, who says Mr. Blake’s frenetic publishing schedule leaves her little time to read other authors. “I have so many other books I want to read.”

Some novelists are obsessed by plot pacing and character development, others by a literary turn of phrase. For Mr. Blake, it is about speed, and volume. Mr. Blake, who self-publishes his books, has released 25 books in the last 30 months.

He wrote one of his best-selling books, the 229-page thriller “JET,” in just 16 days. He churns out 7,000 to 10,000 words a day and often works from eight in the morning until midnight. He spends many of those hours on a treadmill desk, clocking eight to 10 miles.

“Being an author is like being a shark, you have to keep swimming or you die,” he says. “People don’t want to wait a year and a half for the next book in the series, they want instant gratification.”

The hours and miles are paying off. Mr. Blake discovered that one way to sell a lot of books is to write a lot of books. He says he has sold more than 435,000 copies of his books, at around $5 to $6 each, and under Amazon’s self-publishing program, he keeps 70%.

The author has released 25 books in the last 30 months.

He signed a deal to co-write thrillers with the blockbuster novelist Clive Cussler. Their first book, a collaboration that will be published under both authors’ names, is due out this fall.


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