Books, Fancy

Author Celebrity-ship and the New Author Challenge

jk-rowling-cuckoos-calling-reviewRecently Jodi Picoult was quoted in an article about the dramatic change in sales of The Cuckoo’s Calling when it was revealed to have been written by J.K. Rowling (as opposed to newbie author Robert Galbraith). Picoult said, “The message is that it’s very hard to publish in this market as an unknown – which is a crying shame.”

The article goes on to state that Picoult leverages her popularity to assist new writers by, “tweeting their maiden book launches and writing blurbs for their book jackets.”

Another writer is quoted as saying, “[J.K.] Rowling is not just a writer, she’s an institution, an ethos. She’s a magnet.”

It is nothing new, but it does rather feel like the publishing business is hurtling speedily toward a culture more like that of Hollywood. With the increasing expectancy that writers will step out from behind the screen/typewriter/pencil and paper to engage their audiences both physically and online, there is the potential to veer toward the deadly (or at the least unhealthy) superficial drive for physical perfection, and wild inequalities of income.

But my escalating struggle with the culture of the celebrity is not the main point here. I would also like to point out that I adore Jodi Picoult’s work (I would, and have, followed her to any subject matter – a very rare occurrence).

With the above musings in mind, I have decided that I’m going to undertake a New Author Challenge, to actively add unknown/new/alternative authors to my to-read list. 

I have heard of two recently, without digging too far:

Jam SandwichesA fellow Kiwi, whose book my boss is so sure I will like! that he (yes, the boss, not the author) has offered me a money back guarantee to try. I would never offer a guarantee on a suggestion, but that is pretty high praise! 
Jam Sandwiches, by Greg Fowler find here

I haven’t read it yet, but one of the people in my book club has written a book! As he is only in his early 20s, it’s amazing – I have many unfinished, unedited manuscripts just sitting, collecting electronic dust on my computer.
Brouhaha! by Johnny Shortall find here


Can anyone recommend any others for my New Author Challenge?


3 thoughts on “Author Celebrity-ship and the New Author Challenge”

  1. You refer to Hollywood as if Harry Potter was not developed specifically to be a book to film. Many of the characters in Harry were created with specific actors in mind, such as Maggie Smith’s. Her character being able to morph was a play on her name and inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s famous role as “Maggie the Cat” in Tennessee William’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

    I created the pen name of J.K. Rowling as I created Harry Potter and have been in the entertainment biz since the early 80’s creating such characters, films and television shows as Indiana Jones, Beetlejuice, Remington Steele, Crocodile Dundee, Miami Vice, Jack Ryan and Firestarter.

    1. Hi Amy, thanks for your comment, I adore Harry Potter (and J.K. Rowling) – both the books and the fillms. I was referring to the culture of Hollywood, so its about how we react to them as opposed to criticising their success. I was more talking about what it would be like if our authors were to become hounded in the ways actors are. If they were to be stalked on their way to their children’s schools or if their weight/personal appearance was commented on regularly.
      The New Author Challenge was my way to remind myself to take a chance on unknown authors because we must be missing awesome work if we only go for what we know. It’s awesome that Jodi Picoult takes time to promote new authors, I honestly don’t know where to start to easily find new authors!

      1. Most of what you see in the press or I should say what seems to be paparazzi chasing actors is mainly set up by their agents or the actors themselves. It is a way to keep them promoted and on top.

        I found this out when I landed in Dublin and while waiting to show my passport watched Joe Elliott of Def Leppard be swarmed by the paparazzi. A girl on the road crew asked if Joe had called them and set it up.

        At the time, Def Leppard was not a household name. Due to my discovery the budget for Def Leppard’s promotion was increased. This budget increase allowed them to make music videos, tour, and for layouts in all the right magazines.

        Much of the industry is now one large media conglomerate where the television, film, music and media (including newspapers and book publishing) are all owned under one umbrella. These include Vivendi, BMG and Disney.

        Your challenge seems to be noble unfortunately unless they have the blessing of the media industry and a large budget it could seem fruitless.

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