Monday, August 30, 2010

Becoming a Fan Favorite (The Talent of No Talent and Ass-Kissing)


I'll try to be as objective as possible in writing this bit.

As a writer I can't help but notice the career path of some other authors. And if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know my general opinion of other writers.

One thing that has baffled me is the (relative) popularity of writers who have no talent at all. Now, I will admit that "talent" is a subjective topic. It's largely a matter of opinion, but just bear with me. I've been writing for a long time and I've been critically following genre literature for decades. In the days when I wrote an opinion column about weird fiction, I was generally respected for my commentary, opinion though it was.

What I've realized is that some writers caught a certain wave at a particular point and were able to ride it for a long time, thus building up a loyal fan base. Perhaps they wrote a serial killer novel when such books were new and fresh and they were lucky enough to have their work appear on the shelves at just the right time. Or maybe they wrote a zombie novel back in the days when there was a desire for these things and not a lot of supply. They could have penned a vampire novel or a time travel romance or even a vampire-time-travel-romance or...well, whatever the flavor-of-the-year may have been when there just weren't a lot of that particular sub-genre to be had.

Then they flogged that horse to death and hopped on another mount and flogged that one.

It happens. I could name a number of such writers, but to be diplomatic I'll refrain from mentioning names.

The second part of the puzzling success of such no-talents lies with their abilities to network and to schmooze. An integral part of the networking lies in the talent to speak to other writers and editors and critics without saying anything at all to piss off any of them. Basically, this is borne out by keeping opinions completely private, or voicing only popularly held opinions. Dishonesty and boot-licking is at a premium and in display. And, of course, once the fan base is established, the author must dance like a fool or stand in one place like a vegetable to keep from saying or doing anything at all to displease that (probably) tenuous following.

It's all part of creating and keeping the "brand". This is exactly how a certain writer I sometimes encounter on the Internet referred to himself. He's a "brand". And, in a disgusting sort of way, I reckon that he is, indeed, a brand. His work is bland and vacuous, his only political statements are inanities like 'support the troops', 'I love Jesus', and such, and he never misses a chance to kiss the right ass.

Okay. I failed utterly in trying to remain objective. I couldn't do it. It's just too damned hard to remain objective when witnessing this kind of prostitution. Oh, well. I did try.

It's when watching such examples of calculated idiocy that I despair, just a bit How to do this when you hold many unpopular ideas and embrace philosophies that are at odd with the mainstream?

I guess I'll find out as the months progress. I'll do my best, but I won't kiss any ass. It just ain't in my nature.

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