Friday, October 3, 2014

A Vote for the Hometown Boy (or Girl)....

I posted a question on my Facebook page this morning: would you be more likely to buy a book if the author happened to be from your hometown/state/country? Would you be more likely to spend your money on tickets to a movie if any of the actors/writers/directors were from your city? And for those of you who are fans of TV talent competitions like The Voice and American Idol--would you be inclined to cast your vote for a contestant from your area, even if they weren't the most talented participant in the competition?

 
This is something I've given thought to, off and on, for years now. During my years in conventional publishing, I knew several authors who spent a great deal of time and effort going to local distribution centers to put a "Local Author" sticker on the covers of every book before they were sent out to retail outlets. I never did it myself--none of my favorite authors are from St. Louis, and I don't believe it matters much. 

But maybe I'm wrong.

 
Last season on The Voice, there was a contestant from St. Louis. Our local NBC affiliate urged viewers to throw their support behind her. I don't watch reality shows (except for Total Divas), so I don't know if she deserved to win--she didn't win, in the end--but I can't say I would ever vote for a contestant from my neck of the woods if I thought another contestant was more deserving of the win.

 
Yesterday, I heard a local TV reporter make a reference to Gone Girl--part of which was filmed here in Missouri--as "the biggest movie of the year." Seriously? In a year that included movies like the latest Transformers movie, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy (yes, I know director James Gunn is from St. Louis, but I'm fairly certain his talent didn't come from having been born here)?


Gone Girl is adapted from a bestselling novel, so it's likely going to be a hugely successful movie as well--but the biggest movie of the year? Not likely.

So...what do you all think? Are you more likely to buy a book or see a movie or support a performer who happens to be from your area?

PS I have a new excerpt up at Sam's Story and will have a new one from my memoir early next week....
 

23 comments:

  1. I always check out books with local author labels on them whenever I'm browsing. I like to support local authors if I can. Of course, a lot of the time I don't like the story, genre, writing style, etc.

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    1. I'll buy books by friends. I belonged to a writing group years ago...we'd all show up when anyone in the group was doing a booksigning, and we'd buy books, even if the book(s) in question were in a genre we didn't especially like. If I don't like the genre, I'll know someone who does. Books make great gifts.

      I have a friend who brought a box of books by one day for me to sign for members of her church. I was really touched by their interest. The only members of my own church who have read my books, to my knowledge, are those in the church's writing group. It's a small group.

      As a matter of fact, one woman gave me a very clear brush-off when I mentioned I'd just published a new book. To be fair, she didn't really know me very well. I wasn't asking her to buy it--that's not my style (I find the whole Buy My Book campaign strategy tacky). I just mentioned it in passing. This woman now attends another church. Out of the blue one day, I got a voicemail message from her, suggesting we meet for coffee. (Told you she didn't really know me--I never drink coffee!)

      The entire time we attended the same church, she never invited me to lunch, coffee, or anything else--but suddenly, she wanted to get together. I waited for the reason--there had to be one, and there was. Following her invitation, she explained that she had a friend who wanted to publish, and she thought I'd be happy to put my own work aside and work with her friend.

      Oh, sure.

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    2. It sounds horribly tacky - but I would quote her your hourly rate for consultation. Mine is $1000/hour, because of what it would cost me to be available, coherent, and functional for an hour - the minimum amount of time to talk to 'a friend who wanted to publish.' Then mention there are many people who charge less, and tell her to google 'developmental editor'.

      She doesn't even know how incredibly rude and inconsiderate she is for asking. She would never ask a lawyer or a dentist for a free hour of their time. Maybe she is the kind who brings up her symptoms when meeting a doctor at a cocktail party.

      Several times I have OFFERED a FRIEND (or acquaintance) a bit of advice, to encourage them to consider writing their own experiences or fiction. They never take me up on it - when they realize it takes a lot of time and work.

      Sorry to sound grumpy so early in the day! I just got myself up at 6 am to reset my internal clock - so I can get my own writing in before STUFF starts happening and my brain stops working.

      Alicia

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    3. I don't think you're being grumpy at all, Alicia. In fact, I think you've come up with the solution for all of us who have been placed in such an awkward situation.

      I've lost track of how many people have come to me expecting me to just drop everything and help them get published, review their books, give them endorsements, etc. If I said yes to all of them, I wouldn't be able to write anything of my own, because there would be no time left.

      Years ago, when I was unable to write and couldn't go out and get another job because I was, for the most part, housebound, caring for my mother after a series of strokes left her completely disabled, I had to go to a local food pantry for help. The woman who ran the pantry, with complete disregard for my privacy, promised her husband's secretary, an aspiring writer, that I would help her get published. She didn't even ask me if I was willing--she just gave me the secretary's phone number and informed me she was awaiting my call. When I didn't follow orders, the pantry manager confronted me in front of everyone one day. As if having to go to a food pantry wasn't already humiliating enough.

      Then there was the brother of a longtime friend, who had what he thought was a great idea for a book and told me he wanted me to write it and when it sold, I would get part of the royalties. He was a real nuisance for a while, until I spelled it out for him: he'd have to write his own book, but I would critique it for him if I received payment at the time I did so. In cash. Never heard from him again.

      I've been going through some medical issues that have made me much less prolific than I was early in my career. Every minute I take away from it for someone else's writing career makes completing my projects that much more difficult. Do they care? In most cases, no.

      My brain stops working without warning. Few people get that about epileptics.

      Your suggestion makes me think of something my agent told me a long time ago, when I gave an endorsement to a friend's book. She said an author's name has a dollar value--the more successful the author, the more valuable the name. She explained that most bestselling authors get so many requests for endorsements, they limit themselves to only doing it for friends. I was disappointed at not being able to get endorsements from some of my favorite authors, and responded with gratitude to those who did say yes.

      I think most people who aren't writers--or are beginning writers--don't realize what a demand they're placing on an author's time when they make their requests. (I would love to see any of them ask their doctor for free medical advice!)

      There has been only one instance in which I regretted not being able to help someone get their book written. The request came from a dear friend who does a lot of work with refugees, and she wanted to publish the story of one family she'd assisted in order to raise money for them. I knew it was a worthwhile project, but I also knew I'd never be able to finish it in the mental condition I was in.

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. No, for me it doesn't matter where the writer comes from, if the first page of the book isn't well-written and interesting. Gotta grab me, or back on the shelf it goes.

    That being said, local organic garlic IS important to me, but that's a whole different can of worms.

    Have a Frightastic Weekend :-)

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    1. And bread. Don't forget bread.

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    2. Fresh baked from home, only.

      But seriously, I really do mean the garlic thing. I won't purchase non-local.

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  3. There is a series of books for children based on the deserts animals, like "The Three Javelinas", you get the idea I love when I find they have been signed especially by a local.
    But that is a different type of book from what you write.
    I will look at a local book but If I wouldn't read it I will not buy it.
    Your not a local writer for me but I have three of your books.
    Interesting stories and good writing is important, something that you do !

    cheers, parsnip





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    1. Thanks, Gayle!

      If it's a local author you like, that's a real bonus.

      You have three of my books? I wish I could give you a big hug!

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  4. I think the only books that come from locals here are from political wags writing about ye olde political scandal or biography of Lord Harper.

    Other than that, Alanis Morisette is a local.

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    1. That sort of thing makes sense, as does supporting authors you like who just happen to be from your area. I like several local authors who are no longer doing any new books. I have managed to get some of their old books in Kindle format, which makes me very happy!

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  5. I've just been over to Sam's Story and feel like I may have missed a few, but how do I link back to them Norma?

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    1. Look on the sidebar over there. There should be an archive list. If that doesn't work, I'll give you links. Thanks, Grace!

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  6. Steve, my husband, made me laugh the other day with a news snippet he read on-line. It answers your question about Gone Girl. Affleck is doing full frontal nudity and talks about his....a...er...package proudly.

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    1. I heard about that--I saw one of his interviews!

      I guess on such a large screen, it must look impressive....

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    2. hahahahahahaha, Norma your so funny.

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    3. Isn't that what everyone wants for their movie dollars? To see a bare butt--or other body parts--on the big screen?

      Just what we need--an IMAX sausage fest!

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  7. I don't know what to think. It's a mix of this and that. Peeps didn't seem to care when I did my book signing if I was from Florida.

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    1. That's usually the attitude here. They don't even care if you live in their neighborhood. The only thing they care about, if you work at home, is if you'll watch for their kids when they get home from school, sign for their packages, or let their repairman in to fix their wiring (or whatever)...or if you'll make yourself available to help their secretary/friend/brother get published. You're only noticeable if you're useful to them.

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  8. This is a really small community. Ignoring someone's artistic endeavors is not always a good idea. If I don't buy, I at least offer my support in some manner. If I were in a large metropolitan area it would not matter.

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    1. But do they also support yours, Mari? If they do, it's great.

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  9. Since I was a "local author", and once upon a time Borders still had doors open, I had a couple of really good signing nights.
    I have shown up to a few "local" authors' signings, only bought one book that I wanted. I'm not likely to buy something I wouldn't read. So, answer is no. It was too bad that B&N weren't more willing to be more supportive of local authors, even though their publishers were "small".

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    1. The Borders here was supportive of local authors as well--even self-pubbed authors. They'd let authors bring in books and set up a table.

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