This post wasn’t actually planned but I felt like I really needed to write it! So, I went to see Dawn O’Porter talking about Paper Aeroplanes and Goose last night (more on that next week, hopefully!) and she was in conversation with Jo Elvin. A really important point came up in the discussion: about Celebrities writing. There wasn’t a huge thing about it, but they mentioned an article written in the Guardian, titled “should celebrities stop writing?” You can read the article here.
I was really interested in it so I looked it up and found it this morning. I’m really mixed about it. The article discusses how celebrities are not giving publicity space to smaller authors who don’t have the fame they do to give them leverage. But whilst they collect so much evidence, of sorts, against celebrities writing books, there are way too many good things that haven’t been touched on so much. There have been articles about this kind of thing before- A Huff Post writer wrote recently about JK Rowling, and how she should stop writing books and give other authors the limelight (it was a pretty spiteful sounding article, but I won’t talk about that too much now!). I just want to point out some of the great things that are caused by publishers selling books by celebs. This isn’t an angry response to the article- I don’t want to write things like that because I’ve seen that happen before and they could cause arguments and things- but I just want to point out how celebrities can help the Children’s fiction market… and, really, all fiction markets.
-Money will boost the industry
If a celebrities’ book makes lots of money, then it’s helping publishers, a lot. I don’t know completely how everything works, but I do know that money made from bigger books in a publishing company can help other author’s books with funding. It means publishers can have more money and then they’re able to publish books by people who aren’t famous, too.
-More people will start reading
I’ll use Frank Lampard as an example here! I haven’t read his new book, Frankie’s Magic Football, and I’m not sure I ever will, but despite having some bad reception from people, it’s going to encourage so many more kids to read. Let’s say a seven or eight year old is a football obsessive, but hates the idea of reading for pleasure- then let’s say they discover that a footballer on the team they support has written a book, about football. It’s likely the child will pick the book up. Maybe said child won’t like it- but there’s a possibility it’ll be well received and loved. Then, maybe that seven year old will discover more books from that- and now you have another child who loves reading! 😀 The same goes for celebrities who write for adults.
-Celebrities can be amazing writers, too
I can’t really say huge amounts on this, because I have not read that many books from celebrities. But I’ve seen a lot of talk of celebrities who have written books being dismissed, that they’re only doing it to increase publicity, that someone’s ghost writing for them so they have even more money, etc., etc. I don’t know if some of them are true or not, so I’m not going to agree or disagree with them. But I do know of some amazing authors who happen to be famous, and on TV, etc., too. Dawn O’Porter’s Paper Aeroplanes was a fantastic and realistic debut. It would’ve done brilliantly whether she was famous or not. David Walliams’ voice in his writing is so memorable. I’ve read a couple of his books and I love them, they have a modern classic feel to them! I’m not saying every celebrity is going to be a mind-blowingly awesome author, but I am saying that generalising celebrities, in my opinion, isn’t cool.
So, those are my main points! If you have any other thoughts I would really love to hear what you think. Just to point out- this in no way is a post attacking the Guardian article- I’m just adding my opinion to the debate, in a way- I thought this would be an interesting point to make as some people do overlook the positives in this topic!