Nevermind Triple-Threat Entertainers – Try Being an Author!
They sing! They dance! And of course they can act! Folks make a big deal about entertainers who are considered “triple threat” and actors feel compelled to succeed at all three if they want to be even considered for theater jobs. Authors, unfortunately, face the same unrealistic expectations.
Most writers start out as readers and reading is not an activity that requires interaction with other human beings. In fact, it’s much better without interacting with other human beings. Sure, cuddling up to read aloud with a loved one can be special, but most of the time, reading is a solitary activity.
So these readers grow up and work diligently to hone their writing skills because they have been so inspired by incredible book experiences that they want to create the same magic for other readers. Writing, of course, is also not an activity that requires much human interaction.
Once their book is completed, all an author needs is readers. And that’s never been more difficult for these folks who excel at solitary pursuits.
Word-of-mouth today is done mainly through social media. To do that, one has to know how to be social, which is not often in a writer’s skill set. Authors might be able to muster up the creativity to write socially-appropriate comments on Facebook or Twitter, but now apparently videos are all the rage. Videos! Not only does one have to research, write and edit a book, now one has to sing, dance and act on video as well!
That hardly seems fair. It’s not like triple-threat actors also have to be writers. Except – wait - it turns out actors do write books as well. Or at least “co-write” books. And having celebrity already built in is a huge boost when trying to sell books. If an author’s platform features an audience they built through their TV or movie jobs, that usually predicts decent book sales and publishing is just another business, after all.
Writers who have been only writers are being forced to step up their game and somehow become celebrities. They need a face that looks interesting, a voice that sounds intelligent and wit that responds quickly for podcast interviews in order to generate enough buzz to find readers.
Yes, some writers are really good at this. Kudos to them! But honestly, they are exceptions to the rule. Most authors are not celebrity-material, nor do they really want to be. They just want to create fascinating worlds in their heads, translate those worlds into words, and share them with readers. Which seems to be an unreal expectation.