Is everyone in the country a writer? The reason I ask is because every single contributor to programmes such as ‘One Hundred Greatest Comedians/films/cartoons/albums/pile creams/stool softeners etc. etc.” is listed as a writer as well as a musician/broadcaster/pornographer or whatever else they’re deemed to be.
This fascination with being called a writer has extended into celebrity circles but it has intruded way beyond the ghost written columns in magazines and newspapers that are attributed to ‘celebrities.’ Now we have a new breed of impostor. The celebrity novelist. I’m speaking of people like Martine McCutcheon, Katie Price, Penny Smith and the host of others who are published and marketed by publishers as if they were real authors. They’re not.
This has nothing to do with the quality of their work it’s the fact that, in a lot of cases they didn’t even write the book (stand up and take a bow Jordan) or more to the point, the fact that they have never served the proper ‘apprenticeship’ that real authors have. Celebrity authors don’t spend years writing a novel and then face the pain of rejection. They don’t suffer with their personal demons as they pour out their stories and characters. They don’t have the pressure of wanting to succeed and of craving the chance to see their name in print.
Here’s how it works for real writers. You write something and get it rejected about ten times so you write something else and get that rejected so you keep going, sending off manuscripts, articles, short stories and Christ knows what else until finally a publisher gives you a pittance for your first bit of work and you’re delighted. You then try and build on it, offering more manuscripts, articles and short stories and getting more rejections. But all the time you’re learning your craft, discovering where you went wrong, listening to the odd piece of advice that someone deigns to give you. If you’re incredibly lucky you get your novel in print, if you’re really privileged you make a living out of writing. Whatever happens, you spend most of your time on your knees praying that someone’s going to like what you’ve done.
Here’s how it works in ‘celebrity’ land. A publisher approaches a ‘celebrity’ with a huge advance and promises to publish their ‘novel’. There you go, as simple as that. A ghost writer is then hired to flesh out the meagre ideas that the ‘celebrity’ has and the ‘celebrity’ then goes on to reap the financial benefits. Simple isn’t it? None of the heartache a proper author suffers. None of the worry. None of the fretting over whether you’ve done something right or wrong in your book. Just sit back and count your money. The plethora of ‘celebrity’ autobiographies was bad enough but this wave of ‘celebrity’ authors is a worrying trend. The only comfort is that no matter how many manufactured tomes these people have published they will never ever be writers. No matter what their agents, Hello magazine or their publishers tell them. Sorry to break it to them.
I’m just grateful it’s not fashionable or trendy to be a surgeon. Turning up for an op to find Timmy Mallet or Christopher Biggins holding the scalpel might be a bit worrying. Mind you, I’m sure Jordan wouldn’t mind dressing up as a nurse as long as it got her some publicity. And who’s that working the anaesthetic? It’s none other than Peaches Geldof. And, if they messed up I’m sure those cheeky chappies Ant and Dec could double as porters to remove the body before the trolley was sluiced down by a former Big Brother winner (probably not Nadia judging by recent stories).
So, please don’t be fooled. When you walk into a bookshop walk past the over laden tables at the front covered with the latest ‘celebrity’ novel on display.
The real writers books are kept in the back of the shop.