Monday, October 18, 2010

Celebrity Writers? Are you kidding me?

Tyra Banks, Snooki, Rick Springfield, Forrest Griffin, Justin Bieber, Lisa Rhinna, and Hillary Duff.  What do these names all have in common besides the fact that they're celebrities? They're either published or about to be published authors. That's right. They're using their names to cash in on getting a book deal, and the publishing industry is letting them. Actually, the public is letting them too. Because these people are famous, we want to devour everything they have to offer us, whether it makes sense or not.

As a writer, I find this deplorable. Every day that I hear about another celebrity getting a book deal, I die a little inside. I'm a little more forgiving when it comes to autobiographies, but I have absolutely no tolerance for singers, dancers, actors, athletes, etc, penning fiction novels and expecting us to read them and like them. Explain to me how Tyra Banks being a supermodel and talk show host and reality host makes her qualified to write young adult novels. Why would we want to read a book about a spray tanned heroine and her catty conquests? I'm talking to you Snooki. Rick Springfield is one of those in the autobiography category. Though I said I'm a little more forgiving of this, I find myself wondering one thing. Um, how long has it been since Rick Springfield was relevant and interesting?  And don't even get me started on You Tuber turned boy wonder Justin Bieber.  What business does a sixteen-year-old have writing about his life thus far?  None!

Whenever I go off on this rant, my husband always tries to reign me in by telling me it's part of the celebrity culture and I just have to accept it. Of course he's right, which I find as irritating as I find the concept of celebrity turned author. In this business, the unknown aspiring author will hear no a thousand times more than she'll hear yes. Writing articles on spec and begging agents to read our work only to be shot down is all part of that thing called paying our dues. Not only are celebrities not paying their dues, but they're shutting out fledgling authors who may have true talent. No wonder the rest of us can't get invited to the party.

I'll close with this.  I'm sure there are some celebrities turned authors that do have literary talent. I'm thinking of Jaime Lee Curtis and her great children's books here.  However, it's my firm belief those are the exception and not the rule. So famous people, if you're listening, please do the rest of us a favor and stick to what you're really good at. If you do, the rest of us born to write may have a shot at getting that publishing contract you took from us.

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