Friday Fiction: A Secret to Getting Published

Want to become a best-selling author? I have the secret to unbridled success! Become a celebrity first. 

Of course, celebrities have long been known for publishing memoirs, autobiographies, and tell-all books. But in recent years, a large number of the famed and fortuned has dabbled in the world of fiction – with mixed results. Some of these authors are genuinely creative individuals whose ability to convey a story on the screen translates well to telling a story on the page. Others are less . . . well, gifted, shall we say. 

But when I see the words “New York Times Bestselling Author Nicole Richie” on the cover of a novel, I have to wonder if my efforts at publication should have included being born to a pop singer icon. Nevertheless, here are few authors who have entered the world of fiction: 

Carrie Fisher – Best known as Princess Leia in Star Wars (although my favorite role of hers was Marie in When Harry Met Sally), Carrie has authored several novels including Surrender the Pink, Delusions of Grandma, and Postcards from the Edge. 

Fannie Flagg – In case you’re not old enough to recall, Fannie Flagg was an actress in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Her acting credits include three appearances on The Love Boat as three different characters! But her writing career has overshadowed her acting with books like Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man. Her most recent release is I Still Dream about You. 

Gene Hackman – This actor’s credits are too numerous to name, although I probably became aware of him when he portrayed Lex Luthor to Christopher Reeve’s Superman. He co-wrote three novels with Daniel Lenihan but has set out on his own for his latest release, Payback at Morning Peak. 

Jimmy Buffett – The singer who has inspired a lot of tequila consumption through his hit, Margaritaville, is also an author of three novels – one co-written with Helen Lansford. The other two are Where is Joe Merchant? and A Salty Piece of Land. 

Kirk Douglas – The unmatchable Kirk Douglas is not only an amazing actor, the original Spartacus, and father to actor Michael Douglas, he is an author as well with three novels to his name: Dance with the Devil, The Gift, and Last Tango in Brooklyn. 

Meg Tilly – Best known for her role in The Big Chill, Meg Tilly was also Sister Agnes in Agnes of God. She still acts from time to time (e.g., Mother in Caprica) but is now the author of Singing Songs, Porcupine, and Gemma. 

Nicole Richie – Yes, this daughter of former Commodore Lionel Richie, then reality TV star (The Simple Life), and BFF to Paris Hilton has penned two novels:  The Truth about Diamonds and Priceless. 

Pamela Anderson Known for being C.J. in Baywatch, Lisa the Tool Girl in Home Improvement, and wife to Tommy Lee and Kid Rock, bombshell Pamela Anderson has written Star and Star Struck. 

Steve Martin – Almost a modern-day Renaissance man, he tells jokes, acts in movies, plays incredible banjo, and writes novels. Formerly a “wild and crazy guy” on SNL, Steve Martin has penned The Pleasure of My Company, Shopgirl, and An Object of Beauty. 

Tyra Banks – Supermodel, talk show host, and America’s Next Top Model producer, Tyra is coming out with her own novel in September titled (of course) Modelland. 

William Shatner – Captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek, T.J. Hooker in the series of the same name, Denny Crane in Boston Legal, and many more TV series appearances are in William Shatner’s bio. Beyond those achievements, and his Priceline gig, he has authored over twenty books, including the popular science fiction Tek and Quest for Tomorrow series.  

I haven’t read most of these, so I am by no means recommending that you pick up these novels– except for Fannie Flagg who is wonderful – but I find it interesting that these celebs are channeling their creative juices into writing fiction. So maybe I should rethink my plan and try to get on a reality show! However, I don’t have any crippling addictions (my love of Coca-Cola doesn’t count); I’m not a rich, single gal looking to date 20 men to find a hubby; and I don’t want to race across the world in record time. Oh well. 

Just so you know, I did not include any celebrities whose books listed a second author, although certainly some of the titles above could have been ghost-written. And I plan to cover celebrity children’s book authors another time. If you want to see more information about celebrities who write, check out the following websites: The Millions: Celebrity Book Club, Culture Mob: Celebrity Authors and the Books They Write, and Celebrity Cowboy: 40 Celebrity Book Authors 

Have you read any of these books? How do you feel about celebrities taking up their pen?  Do you feel they have an unfair advantage? Or do they have something unique to offer given their background and creativity? Do you know other celebrities who have written novels? Do you have ones to recommend?

11 thoughts on “Friday Fiction: A Secret to Getting Published

  1. Really good post, Julie. I was unaware most of the celebs had written books. Did you know actor Ethan Hawke has a couple of novels? They were pretty good, too.

  2. I loved 'Postcards from the edge" and "Delusions of Grandma" which contain the phrase "Instant gratification takes too long". Brilliant. Meg Tilly is in my neck of the woods soon for a writing conference, but she's also back on the stage in a production of "Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf". I think the point is that celebrity can help with a book deal, as your fame is an instant hook for customers. But fame doesn't make you a good writer…

  3. I have to admit I think these actors definitely have a 'leg up' when it comes to getting published. However I have read most of Fannie Flagg's novels and loved them and also read Ethan Hawke's book which I enjoyed. But not being a celebrity I am doomed to go the "normal" route and either self-publish or find an agent.Patti

  4. The secret to getting published? Be one of these folks' ghostwriters – I bet most of them have one. Or, do it yourself, as I'll soon be doing.I read Shatner's Tek way back when and I remember liking it, but don't remember anything else about it.

  5. I had no idea about most of these. And I've read none of them. I may have to try a couple based on the comments though. I think as long as it's a good book then there's absolutely nothing wrong with them using the platform they already have to sell it. What gets me is when they just do one more thing to make money and don't care about the writing. Of course if they want to pay me to do some ghost writing for them….lol

  6. I did know that Ethan Hawke had written some novels. There are quite a few celebs who have tried their hand (or their ghostwriter's hand) at fiction.I have loved the Fannie Flagg books I've read, and I also enjoyed Carrie Fisher's Postcards and Surrender the Pink books.If I were a celeb, I would do exactly what they're doing – use my platform to transition into something else I want to do!I have heard the Steve Martin novels are good. Never read a Shatner. Does he have a lot of breaks when he writes too? Hee, hee.

  7. Interesting compilation of book-writing celebrities. No, I must say that I am not a fan of celebrities in general, so I tend to shy away from their books. That is a bit judgmental on my part, I know…maybe, I should give Fannie Flag's a try based on your recommendation.

Comments are closed.