JROTC volunteers pose with books donated by author James Patterson. (Kelly Rader)

Eat your heart out, aspiring novelists: James Patterson is donating more books than you can ever hope to publish. The mystery author — best known for his Alex Cross series of occasionally D.C.-based thrillers — is shipping 200,000 of his hardcover novels, including several new titles, to service members and vets, via partnerships with several military aid groups. Are you publishing geeks are wondering: Did they have to do a special printing? Nope! When you’ve sold 260 million books, that’s just the kind of stock you have on hand, we’re told. Do all these freebies push him further up the best-seller lists? Nope, doesn’t work that way.