I believe that the biggest fear for writers is the effect that putting themselves out there in the public eye will have on their lives.
Well I do think that you are “jumping the gun,” so to speak. Take a thousand books, on any subject, in any genera that makes it into print. One hundred, or less, will meet with some notoriety. The other 900 will sell under a 100 copies and wind down into obscurity. Frankly it is all in the marketing of the work. Only a dozen or so will make it out there.
Writers for the most part are very private people who work on their projects at odd hours and work alone. They are in their own world at this point, before any thoughts of notoriety or fame are ever considered a possibility.
This leads to a misleading notion that writers are odd-balls; I however would rather think that we are original thinkers breaking the boundaries of the status quo rather than shouting mindlessly from the sidelines of life.
It all really starts with the reading public asking “Who is this author?” And you ride on the celebrity of your work, not your own celebrity. There are only two choices at this point. Sell yourself along with your work, much like JK Rowling, or stay out of the lime-light and hide behind your work, and remain a name, a mute, a photo on a book jacket.
Let us say, just for a grin, that your work starts to sell nationwide and then worldwide. You pick up publishers and a good book agent, and the royalty checks put you into a new tax bracket. But something happens to you that you totally were not expecting, and if you were, you have lived in fear of -- the public “book signing.” Now this is a face-to-face way of selling a book or two. But if your book agent sets up this “book signing,” it becomes a mass media event possibly covered by the news. Now this will lead to more “public appearances.” Now you are out there.
Now do not get me wrong, fame is a good thing if you want to make a living writing, and at some point that is what we all want as writers; our names selling our work, no matter what we write. Now this brings up an observation.
“The Genera Lock”, let us say an author has success, in a particular genera; fluke or not, the reading public does not take well to an author changing genera, or changing gears, so to speak.
Stephen King is best known as a horror writer. Many of his works have been made into successful movies. But did you know that this author has written other books? Dose the pseudonym Richard Bachman ring any bells; Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981), The Running Man (1982) and Thinner (1984), all by Richard Bachman, or Stephen King under another name. Why does he do this? When your name becomes a trademark, then you are forced to use another name to write in other genera, “The Genera Lock”.
The thing is that success in any endeavor brings changes, unless you become publicly invisible. Then again they, your adoring readers just might do an exhumation “Dig you up” to pay you honors after you are past caring, like Edgar Allen Poe. It is for that reason that if I think that my work might draw that much attention, I am opting for burial at sea; try pumping an ocean dry to get me to do a public appearance.
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