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Books by celebrities

(79 Posts)
Beswitched Wed 24-Mar-21 11:11:53

My friend's daughter is a very talented writer. She has written a Children's book and has had a few requests for the full script from agents. However it never gets further than that. She accepts she's lucky to even get that far and rejection is part of being a writer. She can't help feeling bitter, however, when she sees celeb after celeb publishing mediocre books and getting loads of publicity.

I find it depressing as well. There are so many good children's writers out there but you have to wade through so much dross to find them in bookshops.

Penygirl Wed 24-Mar-21 11:18:25

I agree, it seems that once you become a celebrity there is no end to your “talents” yet people with a particular flair for one thing can’t get a look in. I hope you friend’s daughter has success soon.

timetogo2016 Wed 24-Mar-21 11:27:58

It`s because they know so called celebs books will sell,even the likes of Katie Price.
I hope your friends dd gets the break she deserves.

geekesse Wed 24-Mar-21 11:28:55

The majority of celeb books are written by ghost writers. They sell, and are therefore worth publishing, because of the bizarre attraction many people feel for celebrities.

Publishers always want to publish books that will make a profit. It’s a sad fact that most people would rather buy a mediocre book by someone whose name they recognise than a brilliant one by someone whose name they do not recognise.

Jill Paton Walsh, who was known only as a children’s writer, couldn’t find a publisher for her third adult novel, ‘Knowledge of Angels’, because the previous two did not sell well, so she ended up self-publishing. It was shortlisted for the 1994 Man Booker prize, and is still in print today.

Perhaps your friend’s daughter might consider self-publishing?

Beswitched Wed 24-Mar-21 11:30:38

Yes, I sometimes wonder how Darcey Bussell, for instance, would like it if JK Rowling or Julia Donaldson went around implying that anyone could be a prima ballerina and they might try it themselves some day. I am sure she would be aghast and insulted.
Yet she has no problem putting her name to a series of mediocre stories as if no innate talent is required to write a good children's book.

Kate1949 Wed 24-Mar-21 12:13:09

It's ridiculous isn't it? We were discussing this today when another celebrity popped up on TV promoting a book. My DH said 'Its a wonder there's any shelf space left in the book shops'.
Apart from autobiographies, we have celebrities sharing their 'struggles' with us or 'helping' us with bringing up our children.
As for children's book. I have seen these by Dermot O'Leary, Holly Willoughby, Rochelle Humes, that TV doctor Ranj, Alesha Dixon, Paul Mccartney, Frank Lampard to name only a few.

BlueBelle Wed 24-Mar-21 12:25:40

I totally agree it’s very very annoying and good luck to your friends daughter
The other thing that really annoys me is the tv celebrities who get jobs for their children
If they re talented let them work their own way up the ladder much as I like Bradley Walsh and Martin Kemp there sons are everywhere now and experts in what ever programme they are presenting
Give someone else a chance surely they earn enough money to not hone in on every area it’s like a blooming take over of a few popular celebrities

Peasblossom Wed 24-Mar-21 12:39:57

Yes most of them are ghost written. I used to do it!

I like writing but not the pressure of being an author and all the other stuff that goes with it, promotion, signings, talks and when is the next one ready.

Publishers now are only interested in what will make money and sadly, celebrity sells.

eazybee Wed 24-Mar-21 12:41:57

One only has to look at the number of books 'written' by celebrities virtually untouched in charity shops to realise what a waste of paper and space they are.
Publishers often commission them because they know they will sell, particularly at Christmas time.

EllanVannin Wed 24-Mar-21 12:52:26

My guess is that these so-called " celebs " couldn't write for toffee ! There's very little between their ears so if you think they've sat down and composed their " life " story you've been well and truly taken in.

Millie22 Wed 24-Mar-21 13:03:57

It's because they have no other work while in lockdown so they 'write' a book. Charity shops are full of them.

Beswitched Wed 24-Mar-21 14:28:14

The world of publishing has sadly changed. There used to be lots of small independent publishers with a genuine interest in finding and nurturing new talent.

Now most of them seem to be large outfits run by business and marketing people who have no interest in good writing and just want to make money.

I am also wary of celeb cookbooks. They seem to be full of glossy photographs and recipes for standard fare such as shepherd's pie, roast chicken and pavlova which supposedly are based on the ones their gran/mum/Mrs Brown next door used to make.

GillT57 Wed 24-Mar-21 15:06:55

My real bete noir is David Walliams. Apart from the fact that I find him a little bit creepy, I am really annoyed that he has suddenly become a best selling children's author, at the expense of talented, but unknown authors. The fault, as always, lies with the buying public, and even though I agree they generally end up in charity shops, they were sold once and contributed to the author's 'popularity'.

G1asgowgal Wed 24-Mar-21 15:15:36

I think they should publish under another name. Then we will see how good they really are when they are not relying on their so called celebrity status to sell books.

Personally I can’t bring myself to read a book by Fern Britton or Anton Du Beke. They may well be very good but I have tried and not got past the first chapter. I just keep seeing them and not their characters. Stupid but there you are.

Kate1949 Wed 24-Mar-21 15:20:15

And they all appear on each other's programmes promoting their books. It's annoying.

Callistemon Wed 24-Mar-21 15:37:01

Beswitched I wonder if she has tried Austin MacAuley Publishers? Someone I know has recently had a book published by them.

Beswitched Wed 24-Mar-21 21:03:13

Thanks for that. I'll give her that information ?

Witzend Thu 25-Mar-21 08:44:03

‘Celebrity’ books are very often ghost-written anyway, by a highly competent someone else.
I do seem to remember Victoria Beckham, after the publication of some book about her, saying that it was the only book she’d ever read!

I hope your friend’s dd will keep going, OP. During the course of my former work I met and became friendly with a number of published authors (I don’t mean self-published) who’d had stacks of rejections before their ‘first’ novel was accepted.

Stephen King had 16 rejections before his ‘first’ was accepted!
The thing to do is to take on board any positive criticism and act on it, and keep on honing her craft. Above all, never think that she can’t revise or prune anything of superfluous words.

I know personally of a case where the author did a substantial amount of rewriting for the agent who took her on. The novel was eventually the object of a two-week bidding war between two major publishers, and even after that, her editor wanted yet more revisions. But she admitted that it was better afterwards - sometimes it takes a fresh eye to see what could do with tweaking - the author is so close to it, it can be hard to see these things.

Paperbackwriter Thu 25-Mar-21 10:43:18


My real bete noir is David Walliams. Apart from the fact that I find him a little bit creepy, I am really annoyed that he has suddenly become a best selling children's author, at the expense of talented, but unknown authors. The fault, as always, lies with the buying public, and even though I agree they generally end up in charity shops, they were sold once and contributed to the author's 'popularity'.

I don't like his books at all. Having said that though, his publications aren't at the 'expense' of other authors. His massive sales and the profits they make help publishers to take risks on lesser known and debut authors. In a culture where far too many people expect their entertainment (books, films, music) to be pretty much free, it is very hard for an author's work to earn out on any advance they are lucky enough to have. Without people like Williams (and in her day, Katie Price whose books were written by a terrific, and sadly no longer with us, author) there would be very little funding for the profession at all. So I guess we have to live with it.

rowyn Thu 25-Mar-21 10:44:18

Heartily agree ! Have always refused to buy books by 'celebrities', who are just cashing in on their status.
However, I was given Richard Osman's book at Christmas, and thought it had some chance of being enjoyable after reading the blurb, and knowing that at least he is intellectually competent.
Was totally and utterly disappointed. Dreadful style of writing, loose and poorly constructed plot, and not even funny, in spite of what some famous people had said (lied?) on the cover!

Paperbackwriter Thu 25-Mar-21 10:44:31

I should add, good luck to your daughter. If agents have requested to see full MSS, she must be doing something right. Has she tried Caroline Sheldon?

WoodLane7 Thu 25-Mar-21 10:46:47

Actually many of the celebrities who have supposedly published books haven't at all - book companies pay them shedloads to have their name associated with it; in reality they have had no input whatsoever - I got this straight from someone who works in the industry so pretty sure the info will be accurate. Think it might be a case of who you know rather than the quality of what you produce...

inishowen Thu 25-Mar-21 10:48:33

My daughter is a talented writer. Some years ago she submitted a story to a magazine and heard nothing back. Recently she was reading a new best seller and found bits taken from her story. Now, how did that happen? She has emailed the author but guess what, no reply.

b1zzle Thu 25-Mar-21 10:48:35

You only have to put these so called celebrities in the chair of Mastermind to discover how little they really know.

And these people write books?

Nvella Thu 25-Mar-21 10:49:03

I agree with a lot of these messages but I would say I have been pleasantly surprised by Graham Norton’s books. They are really ok!