On my previous blog a couple of years ago, I posted an occasional series I titled “Guess Who’s Writing a Memoir?” Generally these were C-list, D-list, and even lower celebrity memoirs. I regularly read Publisher’s Lunch in the years that I was working on my memoir and trying to get it out there in the world. I received rejection after rejection only to learn that someone like Howard Stern’s sidekick “BaBa Booey” or Jackass’ Stevo-O were getting book deals while I toiled away. I would turn to my husband and say, “You’ll never guess who’s writing a memoir.” And the series was born.
I still read Publisher’s Lunch and remain entertained by some of the memoir deals that come through.
For today’s edition, can you guess who is writing a memoir based on the following information? This is a quote from the “author”:
“Oh, my story is insanely insane. I think I could do a hell of a book. I could make (Motley Crue’s) ‘The Dirt’ look clean if I wanted to. Or it could also be a photo book of all the early … pictures that chicks from the Internet cannot get enough of, the pinups and stuff. Every time I put one of those on my web site, the Internet shuts down. I’d want to write it by myself; I look at Duff McKagen’s book, Dee Snider’s — they wrote those by themselves and they’re amazing book. The main thing is it has to blow me away before I release it. It has to give me goose bumps or I won’t put it out.”
Amy Kortuem said:
This is awesome, Rachael. I have no idea who Sebastian Bach is (and he’s certainly not the Johann whose music tortured me for 15 years of piano lessons)…but I’m sure he has an interesting story to tell. I just hope he (or his ghost writer) writes it well.
I hate the “when bad things happen to rich people” and the “here’s the story of my fame without any deeper content” kind of memoirs. Even worse are the “here is my famous person problem and how I overcame it” – which are usually not the biggest problems and only interesting because that person was famous. Know what I mean?
“Fame without deeper content” is exactly the way to categorize these types of memoirs. They are able to get sales on name recognition only.
Though I will be the first in line for Morrissey’s memoir, which is supposed to come out in December! I may be biased (heck, I am biased), but I like to think that he has the literary credentials to pull it off.
Richard Gilbert said:
Well, your next post in this series has to be Salman Rushdie. Come on, Rachael!
Well, at least we expect someone like Salman Rushdie to publish a memoir! At least he has literary credentials!
Shaina Olmanson (@FoodforMyFamily) said:
Tracy Lee Karner said:
Absolutely no idea. Honestly, I don’t even know who most of the famous people are today–don’t know their names and don’t recognize their pictures. I took a picture of a hairstyle into my stylist one time (I just liked the cut) and she said, “so, you want to look like Katie Holmes?” I’d never heard of Katie Holmes. I wasn’t aware, actually, that I mostly read dead writers and watch dead actors (although I have heard of Motley Crue).
I think mostly, people pay money for a book if it entertains them. Certainly America has a fascination with fame (and the corresponding name dropping) and so these books have value to a publisher. But publishers invest in the quantity of the author’s fame; the quality of the writing is irrelevant. People who buy those books aren’t really readers, are they? Those books are more like concert souvenirs than like literature.
But I don’t think “readers” agree with publishers’ choices. I think publishers are missing a whole market segment, mostly because they’re no longer marketing to that segment. The expect the writer to do the marketing out of her meager earnings–she can’t afford to, and so it never really does get “marketed” in the way that Motley Crue gets marketed.
And good-book marketing is a bugger to figure out these days–what works? Who knows? I think most of the publicists are just whistling in the dark.
I’m like you, Tracey – no idea who many of the current celebs are, plus so many famous-for-being-famous! My son was once friends with a young man who was a dead-ringer for Tom Cruise – so when I saw Tom Cruise for the first time on Oprah, I thought “He looks just like (my son’s friend)” instead of the other way around!
But back to the question – long hair, no rings, slender, black leather – hmmm, I’m still wanting to say Steven Tyler, maybe Madonna?
A previous poster got it right!
It’s true that these books sell. Publishers would not continue to publish them if they didn’t. I really like your comparison to concert souvenirs! That is said so well.
I also think publishers like these books because they don’t really even have to market them. They just have to announce that they are available and the books sell themselves. They don’t have to put any work into cultivating new audiences who may not have heard of these “authors.” Whereas that seems all I’m doing these days! I need to get my name out to people who don’t know who I am. But one way to do that is to go through the people I do know 🙂