Linda La Plante was inducted into the “hall of fame” as part of the Crime Thriller Writer Awards and used the opportunity to lay about her into today’s big-shot publishers on the subject of chiclit as it is called and celebrity publishing. It would seem that today the way to hit the best-seller list, unless you are extremely lucky, is to have a name of sorts; be it politician, sportsman, X Factor participant, film star, model or celeb no matter how minor or obscure. So I presume if any of my work (thirteen published so far and more in the pipeline) had been published under the name of David Beckham or Wayne Rooney or Geoff Boycott or even a sportsman wife or girl friend, it would be up there in the top ten. As it is I see on Amazon for example that ‘Dead On Time’ in the popularity stakes comes in somewhere around the million and a half mark. It was evidently an impassioned tirade from Miss La Plante saying that publishers should stand up to the celebrities and cut the dross But the best seller list is dominated by memoirs and novels “written” by celebrities who are sometimes paid enormous advances, £1million is not unusual, and squeezing out genuine talent whose work might have some literary merit. The word “written” is in inverted commas because most of these books are not written by the supposed author anyway but are ghosted. And just who are these celebs who are making fashionable literary waves read by millions? I know I have been out of circulation some considerable time but in the article I read I wouldn’t know any of them, not from Adam as they are mostly female, but from Eve.
Martine McCutcheon has her debut novel published and when asked in an interview how she found the experience of writing replied, “Yeah, it were great!” Sharon Osbourne (who is she?), Coleen Nolan (who is she?) and Cheryl Cole are all bringing out novels. I recognise the last name because in my doctor’s waiting room there are various magazines like OK, and being the wife of a famous footballer who has been playing more than the football field, the trashy mags have been full of her divorce proceedings. Isn’t that sad? Then there is Kerry Katona, who the hell is Kerry Katona? The rot was evidently started by the model Naomi Campbell who admitted at the time that she hadn’t even read her own novel. Last Christmas the entire top tern for non-fiction was taken up by celebrity memoirs, all written by ghost writers. Now it looks as if the entire fiction list will be taken up by celebrity novels all written by ghosts. Well good on the ghosts, if they’ve cornered a lucrative market. I hope, I’m sure they are, making hay while the sun shines which still doesn’t solve the problem of where does the good writer fit into all this money making machine and brouhaha? Now I suppose I ought really to be just a wee bit jealous of all that unwarranted success but somehow I can’t find it in me to be so. I doubt in my entire life I have earned what an international footballer makes in a matter of months. Admittedly theirs is a very short life but I have been into all that before. It’s strange to think also of the teenage multi-millionaires in the pop world and in film: £12million, £14 million, £20million and counting, so much money that it is generating itself and here I sit wondering if the bills can be paid this month. Again I suppose I ought to feel just a twinge of envy but how many of these kids are going to find satisfaction in the future when they need never work again in their lives? So no, I don’t envy them. Sure it would be nice at my age not to have to scrimp and save and worry but what the hell, it’s been a long and very fulfilling life and more than that one cannot ask for.