The 75-year-old made the comments in a recent interview with The Sunday Times, saying he thinks it is hard for white men to get writing opportunities in various fields.
He is quoted as saying it is “just another form of racism”, adding: “Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males.”
Following the remarks, Patterson faced a backlash from the public and fellow authors on social media, with some noting he earned, according to Forbes, 80 million US dollars (£66.3 million) in 2020.
Business magazine Forbes also classified him as “America’s highest paid author” in 2020, having sold nearly five million books in the US between June 2019 and 2020.
Responding to the backlash, Patterson posted a statement on his Twitter, saying: “I apologise for saying white male writers having trouble finding work is a form of racism.
“I absolutely do not believe that racism is practiced against white writers.
“Please know that I strongly support a diversity of voices being heard — in literature, in Hollywood, everywhere.”
Patterson is one of the world’s most successful authors, having reportedly sold nearly 450 million books.
His best known work is The Women’s Murder Club series and his Alex Cross series, which follows a black detective who deals with threats to his family and the city of Washington DC.
He currently has two books on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover fiction, including the 22nd book in his Women’s Murder Club series with his co-writer Maxine Paetro.
Also on the list is his new thriller Run Rose Run, written with Dolly Parton, which is being adapted for the big screen – with the country singer due to star.
The author has also previously collaborated with former US President Bill Clinton on two political thriller novels.
He recently penned his first memoir, titled James Patterson by James Patterson.