Last night, while flipping channels, I watched snippets of the American Country Music Awards show. I’ll say it: I’m not a huge fan of country. There’s an undercurrent of anti-intellectualism, mocking higher learning, that distresses me. But during the last year, I’ve begun to listen to more of it because of the marvelous story telling in those three-minute vignettes.
On the glitterati stage Sunday night, musicians sang. Fans packed the cavernous MGM Grand, their hands held out as if the air around the performers was holy. They screamed, applauded, swooned and gave standing ovations.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have that response when we had book signings? Can you imagine fans so enthusiastic they’d wait days to buy a ticket to a reading?
Most of the writers who’ve earned similar followings were entertainers — singers, actors — or televangelists/preachers, before they ever decided to pen a book. And most of what they write is, ostensibly, nonfiction.
Why don’t novelists earn this kind of rabid devotion? Is it that we’re behind the scenes — that we eschew being recognized — that we’re creators rather than performers?
(Well, hells bells, I’d love the chance to perform!)
Maybe I’m being near-sighted here, but I can’t name a darn mystery author, one who solely writes mysteries, who’d pull in those numbers to a live gig. Not even in Europe, where book events tend to be better attended.
Is it that books take more effort to access than sitting back and listening to music? Is it the media exposure factor, that novelists simply aren’t seen enough to make an impression? Is it harder work to sing or act than it is to write a novel (Hell, NO!) Are fiction writers doughy and repugnant (not!) so that large numbers of people wouldn’t want to see them in the first place?
I don’t buy it. Anyone who goes to mystery conventions knows that we’ve got one heck of a talent pool. And I’m not just talking about words on paper here.
Maybe some writers would hate to be that popular. I sure wouldn’t. And I’d love to see that kind of rock star craziness — flicking the cigarette lighters, swaying to the sounds of an author reading a great chapter — for novelists overall. Imagine if our signings generated the kind of super-heated buzz of a Garth Brooks concert, if scalpers routinely haunted the fronts of bookstores because all the tickets had sold out.
What’s your take?
Why aren’t novelists rock stars? (Or are they?)
Would it be horrible to be that famous? Would it be horrible for readers if authors WERE that famous?
What is fame in the first place? Does it matter?
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sometimes it’s just great to be mama bear here at Murderati. Last week, I was so upset about Ken’s departure . . .
This week, I’m overjoyed to announce that beginning June 17, author extraordinaire Tess Gerritsen will join us on alternating Tuesdays.
. . . Tomorrow, we’ll have L.J. Sellers as our guest.
Pretty wonderful, huh?