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Celebrity Authors

Love 'em or hate 'em, celebrities generate some serious book deals in the publishing world. And though memoirs had previously been the publishing route of choice, plenty of celebrities have tossed their hats into the fiction ring.




For the everyday writer who toils away tirelessly and queries relentlessly, visiting your local gossip site trustworthy news site and discovering someone who already makes more in one day than you'll likely make in a lifetime just inked a three book deal can be . . . disheartening. Those who find celebrity book deals as a sure sign of the Literary Apocalypse feel most celebrities have no place trying their hand at writing and are simply taking away a book deal from someone likely more worthy. The opposing argument believes the bottom line speaks for itself: books attached with celebrities tend to sell. More money in the publisher's pockets mean more money for more book deals.

Regardless of which side of the fence you take up residence, the most important question still remains (one I must confess I can't answer as I haven't read any)

Are the books good?

 

Have you read a celebrity author? Was it worth it? How do you feel about celebrity book deals?



Sorry Snooks. I don't think I'll be starting with yours.




Amanda Hannah

Amanda grew up on a big farm in a small town with one stoplight, one school, and a handful of imaginary friends.She would’ve gone to college forever, but eight years and five majors tested her advisor’s patience. So she moved to Germany to explore creepy castles before landing in Spain where she’s perfecting her Flamenco.

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24 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of the books listed my friend read most of model land and really hated it! But I just finished Beneath The Glitter by Elle and Blair Fowler who are Youtube Beauty Vloggers and I really enjoyed it!

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  2. The only celebrity book I've read was "Shopgirl" by Steve Martin, which I did enjoy. Otherwise I tend to avoid the celebrity books, especially in YA/children's lit; it always comes across like they think it's so easy to write for that market.

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  3. I've picked up L.A. Candy in the bookstore, read the first two paragraphs and promptly put it down. Legit or not, it is just frustrating when celebrities are able to do in minutes, what others may never even get to do just because of their name.

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  4. I'm all for more money toward the bottom line, but I do think that celebrity books vastly minimize non-celebrity authors and reduce the value associated with books in the whole. Beyond that, the celebrities themselves tend to be counter-productive ambassadors in the media limelight. Do we really need a mega star asserting that there were no good books for kids so she just had to write one?

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  5. I get that branding works for celebrities. They're also taking over designers' jobs in creating perfumes and models' jobs on magazine covers.

    I wish publishers would spend more time backing sure things in the form of amazing writers instead of celebrities.

    We also need to take a hard long look at ourselves as a culture for buying into the whole marketing idea that celebrity trumps talent.

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  6. I know somebody who has ghost-written celebrity books. Most don't write the books themselves (there are exceptions, of course, like Steve Martin and Carrie Fisher).

    I guess you could look at it as giving some "real" authors a gig, though of course they don't get recognition or rake in the big bucks.

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  7. I haven't read any either and I don't really want to. Although, I gotta admit, I recommended Chris Colfer's MG fantasy to my daughter before I realized who it was by. She didn't read it though.

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  8. I tend to avoid celebrity books that aren't memoirs. Snookie and Lauren Conrad are a no. I might pick up Hilary Duff's books. I defiantly want to read in the Land of Stories though.
    In high school I read "Grace's Turn" by Christy Carlson Romano (from Even Stevens). It was about a girl who came back to school after going to summer theatre camp and got the lead role in the musical. It's about how her new found success causes rifts in her relationships.
    What drew me to it was not the celebrity name, but the actual story related to me in high school. I think that's the key. I can't read about privileged people hanging out on the beach or working in fashion. I have to relate to the story in some level to read it.

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  9. I'm going to echo Annie and say that Shopgirl was awesome.

    To be honest, whenever I get depressed about my writing, the first thing I do (and really helps) is go to Amazon and read the first chapter of the Kardashians' DOLLHOUSE. That pointless dribble always helps me remember what I'm working on isn't THAT bad.

    Guys, seriously. I recommend this wholeheartedly.

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  10. I love them all. Anything that brings more people into the bookstores--and people who might not normally buy books--is great. That said, I haven't read any of them, and I probably won't. My rule of thumb: if I think it might be ghostwritten, I don't read it. The best work will be books the author proudly put her name on.

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  11. The good is what you pointed out: that (for some reason) celeb books sell an insane number of copies, and that gives publishers money to take a chance on other books. But it's unfortunate that these are the books that are selling like hotcakes, because from the few I've read they're actually quite terrible. I do agree with what Mike said, that anything getting people reading and buying books is good, but I wish it meant that those people would continue to read YA and see what amazing books are out there, but I don't think that happens in most cases. In fact sometimes I think it can be detrimental because the general public looks at these celeb books and thinks that they're all the particular genre/book type has to offer.

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  12. Yeah, I'm always hesitant about these books...it's pretty clear that 99% of these are ghost written (I think the exceptions fall outside of the YA category).

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  13. Depending on the celebrity, I often think the books are ghost-written so I don't have an interest in reading them. I thumbed through Modelland in the bookstore. The names of the characters and locations were so ridiculous, it hurt my head. If an unknown writer had written that book, I doubt it would be published. Even the cover sucked. It looked like something a middle school kid might draw.

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  14. Amber Tamblyn wrote two books of poetry which were great. I think Ethan Hawke's books have gotten pretty good reviews. It depends on the "celebrity" to me.

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  15. It's good that they bring more money into the industry so that more unknowns (who actually write their books) can get published. But when I saw that Elle and Blair Fowler were releasing a book...well, that gave me a major case of "I don't want to live on this planet"!

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  16. I've never read one that I liked, outside of a few autobiographies. (Ellen, Tina Fey. The naturally funny ones.) Most other ones just seem to... well... suck.

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  17. I have a general policy of avoiding celebrity authors. However, I'm planning to make an exception as soon as possible for Chris Colfer because I love him and his book sounds adorable.

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  18. I think the deciding factor on which celebrity books are worthwhile and which are just cash grabs comes down to the celebrity's attitude about the book. Most of them just seem like extensions of their brand that only exist because an agent or publicist suggested it. Some truly seem to be a passion that that person would be writing even if they never got famous.

    It's come up several times already, but Chris Colfer's Land of Stories series seems to be one of the latter. There's a ton of evidence that he's been working on it since well before getting cast in Glee and always dreamed of getting it published. If his household name status helps him achieve that, I really can't begrudge him the opportunity.

    Modelland, on the other hand, appears to be the former. I've never heard any talk of Tyra Banks gushing in interviews about how she just had to write a book and it's filled with so many of her branded slogans ("smizes" and the like) that it's hard to imagine it as anything other than another thing to put her name on.

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  19. Well I had a whole long paragraph typed out and my computer decided to do something funny and erased it...crap.
    Anyway, I've never read any books by celebrities (other than nonfiction/memoirs). That being said, I would never refuse to read a book solely because a celebrity wrote it. Like Sarah mentioned above me, being famous for something other than writing doesn't mean a person isn't a good writer or not passionate about their craft. But it's obvious when a celebrity has a book published simply because they can, or because they think it will get them more money/publicity.

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  20. There's no way Tyra Banks' book was ghostwritten. Or if it was, Ms. Banks needs to get a refund STAT. I'm all about is the book good or not, and by "good" I mean, "Did I enjoy it" because we all know that quality is subjective. I'm really not concerned with who wrote it or how they got their contract.

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  21. I resented that Chris Colfer was the big star at ALA for his first rather mediocre book when other authors with amazing track records were relegated to side shows. If you want to see Chris Colfer, go a fan convention. ALA is for books and authors, not TV stars. Tried the read the excerpt from his book on its website and gave up after one paragraph.

    Madonna's book, something about roses, is also unreadable. I donated it.

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  22. I'm incredibly judgmental when it comes to books written by celebrities. I've picked them up, attracted to the cover, and then put them down as soon as I caught the author's name. Some of them, I just can't believe were actually written by them, but by a ghost writer instead. I feel like for me, it would depend on the writer. I noticed someone mentioned a book by Steve Martin -- he started his career on stand up comedy if I'm not mistaken, so I would expect him to know how to write something. Other people... I'm not so sure about.

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  23. I read and really enjoyed Playground by Fifty Cent. I'm surprised the book hasn't gotten more attention because it is so good and speaks so well to teen boys.

    Edi
    http://campbele.wordpress.com

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  24. I try not to judge a book by it's author, but many of the celebrity books wouldn't have appealed to me no matter who wrote it.

    Chris Colfer's book I'm willing to try just because the premise is interesting.

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Item Reviewed: Celebrity Authors Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Amanda Hannah