The lustre of celebrity memoirs, possibly the most reviled literary genre in history, is fading as publishers voice their alarm over returns from books that have been “authored” by star names to whom they have paid vast advances.Hachette UK is saying it intends to focus on more traditional titles. Tom Weldon, the deputy chief executive of Penguin UK, said, “Sales are down by around 25 or 30 per cent this year, more than the decline in the book market overall.” But Weldon then went on to say, “I don’t think the category is dead. It is worth noting that the biggest selling authors this year will be Ant & Dec, while Jeremy Clarkson, Chris Evans, Frankie Boyle and Peter Kay will also be in the top ten.”
Am I totally clueless when I ask, Who, the heck, are those people? Celebrities? I’ve never heard of a single one of them. Admittedly, I’m not terribly hip anymore, but, seriously, celebrities? I will cut Weldon some slack. These names may be immediately recognized in Britain. You don’t have to search very hard in American bookstores to find D-list celebrities with books out either.
As always, there’s debate. Liz Thomson of BookBrunch said:
Most of us are aware of our limitations and have sufficient humility and commonsense to say no to things we do not understand and cannot accomplish with dignity and honesty. Not so the many celebrities who put their names to novels they have not written, and to ghosted memoirs about their vacuous lives.The author of the TimesOnline article countered with:
For the time being, at least, reports of the death of celebrity memoirs may have been exaggerated.What do you say? Do you love celebrity books? Do you care if a celebrity book is written by a ghostwriter? Do you think celebrities getting millions in advances and appearing on major talk shows is good for smaller or new writers because it keeps books in people’s minds and wish lists? Or do you think it hurts the ordinary writer because in these tight times there’s not much money and room left over for publishers to take a chance on a new writer?