View Full Version : I Can Only Inhibit My Success?

11-13-2006, 10:28 PM
have any of you read and enjoyed a book that you later found out was written by a complete a**hole? have you ever flat out refused to read a book just because you did not like the writer, or been more forgiving of someone of likeable character who wrote a book that would have been mediocre in your eyes if it was written by someone you didn't see yourself getting along with? i'm not really talking about someone who has done/said things that are morally and ethically wrong or criminal; the personality of the writer came across as so unpleasant to you that it clouded any "objectivity" for recognizing good work?

i have been reading up on AW about good books, even great books, who get rejected because the agent/publisher just did not know how to sell the idea. that's one thing. but then i read about authors who refuse to do interviews and stay completely out of the public eye, and for some of them, it forms a type of mystique that actually enhances the ideas they write about, or at least reception to those ideas. it makes me wonder if i could really just concentrate on the idea for my book, get feedback on how to hone and improve the story as a whole (such as in SYW), and then just avoid any type of publicity (if such publicity is actually requested?) like the less people know about me, the more receptive they would be to my ideas and stories, because then they wouldn't realize i am often characterized as being a b***h in the purest form;) ? is it simply that well-liked social beings are not just better received, but also get away with more crap, and loners like me only have to make sure that the focus stays on the book and the craft and little else? am i alone on this fear on your work possibly being rejected by the public because of you as a person?

11-13-2006, 10:44 PM
Just a thought, it seems like staying out of the public eye and developing mystique is a good way to stay completely unknown. It's only if people care that the mystique develops. So my advice:hype yourself unrelentingly until you hit the bestseller list and then withdraw from society. Preferably go live some weird place like a cave or a henhouse.

11-13-2006, 11:59 PM
Are you published? If not, you are jumping the gun. If you think your personality will conflict with your success as a writer then change. I believe everyone should try and improve themselves, especially when they affect others in a negative way.

It is obvious that ‘well-liked social beings’ are accepted more so than a b**** or a*****e. Do they get away with more crap? I say no, because the writing and/or story have to be good for an agent, publisher and the public to accept it. Now, if your personality prevents any agent from wanting to work with you then you have a problem.

I don’t fear my work will suffer because of who I am; I fear rejection because my writing isn’t good. You are in control of your life, and it is up to you to make a change or live with the fear and/or consequences. My two cents.

11-14-2006, 05:44 AM
For me, art is art no matter the creator. I won't refuse to watch a movie because an actor said stupid things on the record. I won't refuse to read a book because the author lives in a Montana cabin and has never been seen in daylight.

I judge the product, not the producer.

Histry Nerd
11-14-2006, 06:49 AM
I'm with chaostitan. I'm still mad at the Dixie Chicks for their boneheaded comment, but I love their music.

If I started selecting my entertainment based on my personal views of the artists involved, I'd never be able to watch network TV again. Or listen to rock music. Or go to movies. Of course, that would leave me more time to write....

But if it worries you that people seem to perceive you in that way, and you think it's worth the effort, you might consider changing your behavior. Not for your readers, or your income, but for yourself.


Jenan Mac
11-14-2006, 07:27 AM
For me, art is art no matter the creator. I won't refuse to watch a movie because an actor said stupid things on the record. I won't refuse to read a book because the author lives in a Montana cabin and has never been seen in daylight.

I judge the product, not the producer.

For me though that depends on the medium. If I'm reading a work of fiction about fictional people, the face of the author isn't intruding everytime I read "wow, that's an incredibly ugly suit," Pete commented. Same thing if I'm looking at a painting of a tomato, or a Souza march. But movies are a bit different, because it's kind of hard to miss the creator when his face is part of the creation-- and it's the same face you saw on the Entertainment News the night before babbling stupid crap.
And I'm partly face-blind, so I'm assuming it's even worse for people who can tell that Mel Gibson doesn't look like Tom DeLay.

11-14-2006, 09:40 AM
I have absolutely no problem with reclusive authors. That's the way it should be, I feel. What I don't like are writers who seem to be hungry for the spotlight. For some reason they make me cringe. One example is Salman Rushdie, who is very busy playing the celebrity author game. Perhaps thats why I can't bring myself to read his books!

Re reclusive authors: if you do this deliberately to create a "mystiqur", ie as a publicity gag, it just won't work. Genuinly reclusive authors are by nature shy. That's quite common among writers; writing is an art that appeals to introverts.

11-14-2006, 01:04 PM
I judge the product, not the producer.

I agree completely. I will admit though, that it does turn me off from an artist's work if he goes around acting like a loony. Which is why I stay far far away from celeb gossip and try not to find out too much about an author's personal life. It just ruins the whole thing for me. I possibly know less about the authors I like than I do about the ones I don't.

I suspect I'm in a small group, though.

11-14-2006, 05:58 PM
I try to "judge the product not the producer" but sometimes it's hard. There was a certain cartoonist I use to think was really funny until I met him at conference and I found him to be pompous and arrogant. I can't even read his comic anymore. The same holds true for a couple of writers I’ve met.

Overall though I must say a vast majority of the cartoonists and writers I’ve met are really good people. So the producer’s personality hardly comes into play when I am judging the product.

As for avoiding the public eye, I tend to do it because well, in real life I’m pretty boring.

Kate Thornton
11-14-2006, 07:33 PM
Sigh. Get out there and sign books. Get known as a pleasant author who is happy to spell someone's name right or inscribe a book to Aunt Dora. Get known as a pleasant author who is happy to help out the staff at the bookstore where the signing is, or bring some cookies to the library where the panel or talk is. Get known as the author who cares about literacy and literacy projects.

If your work is good enough to get published, get out on tour and sell the stuff.

But be nice to the hands that feed you - or develop some good acting skills if you're just a real a$$hole to start with. Once you have completed your work, it's a business. Use your business manners if you want to succeed.

11-14-2006, 10:28 PM
Thank you for your responses.

11-15-2006, 02:52 AM
I think it was Writers Digest that featured a "virtual book signing" thingy that was the brainchild of Margaret Atwood, a prize-winning author who is shy to the point of phobic. An author can sign on a screen in their secluded cabin and it's transmitted somehow to the bookstore and the reader's book.

Weird, huh?

I also heard from agents at a conference that, esp. with women's or chick-lit, they pass the author's photo around at the table to see how well they can "market" the author. Those not pretty enough or whatever...well...you get the idea.

So just be gorgeous, photograph well, a brilliant and personable communicator, and you'll have no problem! :D

11-15-2006, 07:04 AM
When done well, I think both being in the public eye and being reclusive can be effective. It just depends on what the author writes, and that authors personality. Do whatever comes naturally.

William Haskins
11-15-2006, 10:43 PM
we live in a culture that seeks to pimp out everyone as a celebrity of some sort or another.

it's up to the individual to decide where the line is between doing the necessary publicity to keep his or her publisher happy and becoming a dancing monkey.