I’ve used this analogy before in my reading series: two people are standing in a book publisher’s office. One is a relative unknown who has just penned what could be the latest literary classic, and the other a celebrity-of-the-week who has documented (with help, I might add) their lives, loves, and drama with plenty of name-dropping. The analogy’s point is that, more often than not, the celebrity is the one who gets the deal, sending the talented unknown back into obscurity.
Naturally, this happens because the celebrity’s book stands a better chance of selling based on name alone without requiring a heavy amount of promotion on the behalf of the publisher. It makes good business sense but results in retail bookshelves lacking of potentially timeless literature.
The latest celebrity to enter the writing fray is Justin Bieber, with his autobiography entitlted Justin Bieber: First Step 2 Forever: My Story, released October 22nd to collective screams from his fans and overall moans from his detractors. Normally, as a Canadian author who can only dream of lifetime sales that match Bieber’s first-day sales, the idea that a publisher would invest in the worldly musings of a 16-year old would cause me great dismay.
Not this time.
Bestselling books by celebrities actually help the publishing industry to survive. The idea of books (ghost)written by the likes of Bieber, Paris Hilton, and Tyra Banks may seem laughable at first but are actually sound short-term investments that bring in a welcome infusion of revenue into a suffering industry. And that goes for non-celebrity penned franchises as well, such the Twilight books and the Harry Potters of the world. The publishers needs them because the stronger the industry is, the more hope there is for the rest of us.
So, write on, Bieb. And when’s that book by Snooki coming out?
PS: Thanks to author Patricia Storms who help inspire this article.
Richard S. Todd is a Canadian author and blogger. Visit him online or at www.richard-todd.com.
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