It almost amuses me how Edward Wyatt's profile of Janet Evanovich and her family marketing machine doesn't really get to what's likely the bottom line: that as the marketing hoohah has increased (and so too have her sales) the quality of the books have dropped off rather sharply.
But then, does it really matter when the publicity works so well?
Slouched on a sofa in a faded T-shirt and jeans, a tousle of dyed-auburn hair trending gray at the roots, Janet Evanovich looks less like the chief of a budding media empire than a mother trying hard to be her daughter's best friend.
And there, next to her, is the daughter, Alexandra, whose dyed platinum-blond hair befits her stint as a freelance graphics designer for a heavy-metal band's fan site and her love for her red Ducati motorcycle, looking nothing like a corporate marketing guru.
Yet the two women are all of those things - best friends, metalheads and meticulous businesswomen. Together with Janet's son and husband, both named Peter, who handle everything from investments to the packing of signed books for shipment to stores, they make up the family enterprise known as Evanovich Inc.
And they have transformed Ms. Evanovich, 62, from a failing romance writer who once burned a box of rejection letters on her curb into a mini-industry whose success is beginning to emulate the sprawling domains of authorial heavyweights like James Patterson.
And as for criticisms about her work, Evanovich gets a bit petulant:
"I'm a writer, but this is a business," she said. "You have to look at it in the way you would look at any business. You have to have honesty to the product. You have to meet consumer expectations. You give them value for their money and give them a product that they need. I don't see anything wrong with all these things. And I don't think it's a bad thing to meet consumers' expectations."
For a different viewpoint on Janet E, look no further than Sarah Strohmeyer's tale of mentorship and inspiration with a nasty, nasty twist.