Thursday, February 01, 2007

Celebrity Children's Authors

I tried to respond to MotherReader's post on Bloggers Against Celebrity Authors, couldn't get the response to load, and then lost the whole thing. Life has become so difficult--and slow--since I moved over to the New Blogger that I decided that responding here would be more energy effecient. I know I can get this thing to work. (She says now, anyway.)

MotherReader says in her post "...for every book deal these celebrities strike, thatís less of the kid-lit pie for another author trying to get a break." I don't know that that's the case. I don't know that it's a sure thing that fewer noncelebrity authors are published because of celebrity authors. A lot of noncelebrity books get published every year.

Presumably celebrity authors get better deals than the rest of us, but it's not like we'd get those deals if the celebrities weren't there. Established "big name" children's authors don't get those kinds of deals, forget about new authors. Only someone like, say, J.K. Rowling gets those kinds of deals and that's because she's a celebrity author.

The kind of publicity celebrity authors get doesn't take away from our publicity, either, because we'd never be offered that kind of publicity. The Today Show is never going to call most of us. That's not a complaint, it's the way things are.

Celebrity authors don't cut into our pie. They have their own pie.

Do celebrity authors write a lot of crap? Very possibly. But go into any bookstore or library. Sad to say, celebrity authors do not have a corner on the crap market by a longshot.

Are celebrity authors exploiting the children's market, which has become much desirable in recent years? Maybe. But what about authors of adult literature who move into the children's market? Aren't they exploiting it, too? Should we unite against people like Joyce Carol Oates, also?

If you don't want to go nuts in the book business, you have to accept that it is a business that maintains itself by sales of books. Some authors are going to sell more books than others. Lots of times that has nothing to do with the quality of the books. Lots of times it has to do with the public and what it wants to buy. Sometimes the public wants to buy books written by someone whose name it recognizes, who has accomplished something it likes in some other field. The public has the right to do that.

You can't move the river, folks. Getting upset about celebrity authors is like getting upset because it's hot in the summer or cold in the winter. What's more, most celebrity authors don't last much longer than the seasons. Which, actually, makes them like many real authors.

NOTE: This post was revised, mainly for style.



Blogger fusenumber8 said...

Dunno, man. Julie Andrews Edwards has her books in tons of libraries, and they don't seem to be moving. I'd love to think that all celebrity authors are as fleeting as the wind, but the simple fact is that some are (for better or for worse) here to stay for a while.

3:47 PM  
Blogger Chasing Ray said...

I especially like your comment on Joyce Carol Oates. As it happens I'm reading a new YA mystery by Robert B. Parker (of Spenser for Hire fame) right now. So far it's pretty good, but I'm not far enough in to give a real review. (I do love his Spenser mysteries though.)

So is it okay for adult authors to move in on the YA/children's field (Isabel Allende, Michael Chabon, Oates, Parker, etc.)? Are we annoyed just at celebrities for going into the YA world? After all, they have been writing stupid memoirs/autobiographies forever.

Also as bad as Madonna is, Jamie Lee Curtis is fantastic. So now are we just mad at bad celeb writers? (Which gets back to your whole thing on there's lots of bad writers out there, period.)

8:14 PM  
Blogger MotherReader said...

Meant to comment yesterday, but got distracted. Stupid work.

I know that complaining about celebrity authors is a futile as getting upset about the weather, but I'd also write about the cold winter on my blog, so it's all good. The whole BACA thing is fun way to complain.

I will say, though, if you're determined to read celebrity authors just to be contrary, then I suggest you start with Madonna's Lotsa de Casha. If you can make it through a book about giving up one's wealth that was written by one of the richest women in the world without blowing a gasket, then more power to you.

Oh, and I have no problem with adult authors writing children's books.

10:22 PM  
Blogger gail said...

I read a few pages of Madonna's first book while standing in the aisle at a Sam's Club.

10:48 PM  
Anonymous ginny said...

i get the feeling that they choose childrens or ya because they think it will be easy. it's not.

publishers see dollar signs, not talent.

and from personal experience working in waterstones i know that celebrity fiction does not sell well in general (there are a few exceptions, for instance jordan's fiction is massivley popular for some reason that is beyond me)

madonna was panned by all and sundry for her incredbily bad bad bad writing. i would have cried if i wasn't so mad.

that said, there are some good writers, i think someone mentioned jamie lee curtis, who was very good.

but unforuntaly she seems to be the exeption rather than the rule.

12:02 PM  
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1:39 AM  

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