Unexpected Authors

I am a longtime devotee of the Bachelor/Bachelorette dating shows, and mostly unashamed to admit it. A lot of the appeal for me is the shows’ host, Chris Harrison: though his job is to keep a straight face while the season’s star agonizes about being in love with too many people at once, he has a sense of humor about it. And he also blogs about each week’s episode and lets more of his snark out in the process. So I was delighted to discover that he wrote a romance novel. I can’t wait to get a copy and see if his long experience with reality TV romance gave him an advantage when creating a fictional one.

chris harriso

And it got me to thinking about others in the entertainment industry who have written an unexpected book. Of course celebrity memoirs are nothing new, but now several young comedians are coming out with essay collections. In addition to Lena Dunham’s much-heralded book out last year, Aziz Ansari has a book on modern love coming out this summer, and I can’t wait for Anna Kendrick’s recently-announced collection . Then there’s David Duchovny’s picture book, Molly Ringwald’s book of short stories, and can’t forget BJ Novak, who’s written one of each. Don’t even get me started on cookbooks!

Obviously publishers love celebrity authors – an author with a built-in fan base, media accessibility, and experience promoting their projects aggressively? SOLD! So it can feel like an unfair advantage to the unknown authors toiling patiently to get the attention of an agent and then a publisher, with nothing to offer but an incredible idea and an irresistible manuscript. On the other hand, more than a few celebrities have experienced embarrassment when a novel with their name on it just doesn’t stand up to the scrutiny of true bookworms – naming no names, but it rhymes with Byra Tanks!

 As a reader, what do you think about celebrity authors exploring other genres? Are you more or less likely to buy a book with a Hollywood name on the cover? Sound off in the comments – and let me know if there are other truly great or so-bad-it’s-good celebrity books I should know about!


4 Responses to Unexpected Authors

  1. Jenny says:

    I was unreasonably excited to hear about Anna Kendrick\\\’s book. I LOVE her Twitter feed. She\\\’s hilarious and insightful and irreverent. I really hope that translates to longer work.

  2. Chris says:

    I tend to skip celebrity books because of several reasons. One, they aren’t written well. The experience of reading a bland book is frustrating. Two, it seems unfair to struggling disadvantaged writers. And three, they usually have ghost writers or co-writers who do not receive any credit.

  3. sharon says:

    Good point, Chris, ghostwriters open up a whole nother kettle of fish, and can really make the difference between a revealing celebrity book and a forgettable attention grab (which Miriam talked about a little bit in today\’s post! http://www.dystel.com/2015/05/so-this-happened/ )

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