Selling the Man (or Woman)

I read an interesting article in ‘The Age’ recently about the strange cult of celebrity which has risen up around writers. You can have a squizz at it here.

You could argue that there is a strange cult of celebrity around practically anyone (with a large enough voice and publicity machine) for no very good reasons, but in this case I’m fascinated by two ideas: firstly that people are genuinely interested in writers as people; and secondly that part of this interest seems to focus around the writing process itself.

I don’t know about you, but what interests me about my favourite authors are the things they write, rather than the people behind the stories. I’m happy to hear a tidbit of two if there is something genuinely fascinating about them, but if they are normal, middle class people, with a normal family and a nine to five job, well, that’s fine, but I’m much more interested in the strange and exotic fruits of their imagination. Frankly, even if they live in a commune, work as a bear trapper and moonlight as bellydancers, I’m still only going to be impressed by their writing if it strikes a chord with me. That said, I suppose one of the reasons many writers blog is presumably to feed the thirst for more information. šŸ™‚


The second issue, that of trying to find out what “is the mysterious alchemy that transforms a hazy idea into 300 pages of gripping prose,” seems to be grasping at straws a little. It’s a kind of magic, and the best part about it is that it is a magic that’s unique to every individual. I understand that Thomas Wolfe wrote his work standing up, leaning his paper on the top of the fridge, but funnily enough, that’s not going to work for everyone. The wonderful thing about writing is that it is something wrestled from your own subconscious, and we need to find ways to make that wrestling as productive as we can.

I’d love to hear what you think about this. Are you curious about the people behind story? Does knowing more about them make you more likely to read their work? And have you found inspiration in hearing how others go about it?


5 thoughts on “Selling the Man (or Woman)

  1. Not at all, unless the writer’s life has a major influence on their stories. Oh, and I do like hearing about their process of writing, knowing they go through everything I go through is…comforting

  2. I always like to see a picture of the author. It makes them real to me.

    Not sure what’s up about the celebrity-itis, some people who are famous have zero accomplishments. Sad.

    I always care more about the story than the writer’s life, but I especially like epilogues that tie all the loose ends up.

  3. I heard at a writing conference recently that people used to buy a book. Now they want to feel like they know the author. I’m guessing it has something to do with the escalating lack of boundaries and privacy, but it is why authors have to have blogs and twitter and FB–so their readers feel like they are getting more than just a book, they can have a relationship with the author. (Or so I’m told).

    Honestly, I don’t buy books from horrible people, or those whose politics are abhorrent to me. There are too many wonderful authors to support, and not enough time to read all the great books written by wonderful human beings.

    I hope you and the kiddle are well!

    • Hi! Yes, I think you’re bang on the money about it being all more about transparent relationships in these days of social media.
      The Beast is well – six months today! Active sort of chap. If I’m really lucky he’ll have three 20 min naps during the day, so my blogging time is sadly limited though!

Please let me know your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s