Some authors become celebrities, but those who don’t want to be a celebrity can usually still avoid most of the limelight while still becoming famous. Some celebrities become authors, but most of them really, really, really shouldn’t. Some celebrities really do have interesting lives that are worth reading about in a memoir or biography. How can you tell? The best way is employ a slight twist on the old adage, “Never Judge a Book by the Cover.”
I, actually, am a huge fan of judging a book by the cover. At least if I like the cover, I’ll like enjoy seeing it sitting there on my coffee table, waiting to be read. At least if I like the title, I’m likely to actually remember what it is when want to tell others about what I’m reading. For authors, and especially celebrity authors, the way to judge is to judge who comes to meet them.
The four biggest celebrity events that I’ve been involved with at Blue Willow are as follows:
Lauren Conrad – She has somehow become wildly famous by being on a reality TV show. As opposed to living in reality. The world of YA fiction was not improved when she got published. That being said, when she came to Blue Willow, her handlers treated her like a diva, but we all really felt like she was more of a diva in the making. She was so young and unworldly, albeit very rich and famous. The fans who came to see her were also young and unworldly. They were thrilled to just be meeting a real star, since Houston is neither Hollywood nor NYC we apparently have a dearth of real stars around here. So her books may be as shallow as her life, but at least you know what you are getting and she isn’t trying to stretch beyond her meager talents. Even though I like to escape reality by reading, I like to escape to a diffent place than wide-eyed adolescents who like to watch reality TV want to escape to, so I will not be reading her books.
Chelsea Handler – She writes about being drunk and doing stupid stuff and, for the most part, the people who came to see her were drunk and stupid. I don’t think Handler herself is drunk and stupid, I think she just knows how to convert drunk and stupid into money. I like to think of myself as smart and getting drunk is not so much fun now that I’m not in college so I do not want to read her books.
Laura Ingraham – Makes her money by sounding very angry and unhappy and critical. And, for the most part, the people who came to see her were angry and unhappy and critical. This was not a pleasant event. Since I am generally not an angry and unhappy and critical person, I do not want to read her book.
Condoleezza Rice – She is a class act. The people who travel with her are class acts. The people who came to see her were, for the most part, pleasant and respectful. Even though we ordered extra books we still sold out and people were disappointed, but they still seemed pleased to have gotten the opportunity to see her and hear her in person. After a photo was taken of Dr. Rice with the staff of the bookstore she said, “Now it’s time for some handshaking” and she shook each of our hands and looked at us as individuals and said, “thank you.” You have no idea how rarely that happens, at least by the initiative of the author. I may have issues with the political party that she has aligned herself with, but I’ll be reading and recommending her book.