Pub Rants

Book Snob Kryptonite

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STATUS: It feels like it should be Friday already. The five day work week is so overrated.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? I’LL BE AROUND by Joan Osborne

I have an interesting book in my collection. An editor friend sent me CONFESSIONS OF AN HEIRESS by Paris Hilton last year or it might have been the year before last. I can’t remember.

I gobbled it up in one sitting. I found it hilarious and highly entertaining. And I’m no book snob, so I stuck it on my coffee table to share with the world.

Then an interesting thing started to occur. Friends would come over and instantly be horrified that I was so proudly displaying such a crass book.

But what I noticed is that these book snobs couldn’t keep their hands off of it. They just had to pick it up and start reading. Inevitably they would become engrossed in the book (as the evening continued around them).

Paris Hilton’s confessions was a book snob’s kryptonite!

Interestingly enough, I hear these same similar remarks about romance novels (“how can you read that stuff” etc.) and imagine the horror if any of those folks found out that a book they actually read and enjoyed would be considered romance (happens more than you think!).

What’s my point? None really, except maybe book snobbery is silly. Read what you enjoy and be proud of it.

74 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    I don’t think of them as snobs. Readers have been burned by societal perceptions and mislabeling. They’ve perceived Paris Hilton as a dimwit. They’re afraid to spend hard-earned money on her book. They have no idea it’s an entertaining read.

    That’s why I review books on my own blog every Tuesday without regard to genres, subgenres, or labels. Instead, I list the review by factors, such as the HEA Factor ‘Happily Ever After.’ Some readers need this one after a long, hard day at the office. If they read a book seeming to promise the HEA which has the heroine offing the hero on the last page, they’re going to be burned. Say it was labeled a ‘Paranormal Romance.’ They’ll never read another paranormal romance again.

    That’s not snobbery. That’s a heartbroken reader afraid to love again.

  2. littlebirdblue said:


    I was ready for this post. It also reminds me of the ‘anti-fan’ phenomenon;

    “I hate your trashy novels…I bought all five of the ones you’ve written and I hate each one more than the last!”

    Author response; “Um, okay. Next one’s out in June.”

  3. Gina said:

    My mother has a “perception” about romance novels. I have said, “Try a Georgette Heyer sometime! You’d probably enjoy her work.” So far, she hasn’t tried Heyer, even though I have told her my best friend’s mother (well-respected, well-educated woman over age 70) enjoys Heyer.

  4. ksgreer said:

    I’m on a business trip, which means “throw all the books from the ‘to be read’ pile into the suitcase. I’d worked my way through three, and was down to a book I got as a freebie at WFC and didn’t read because the cover screamed romance. Marjorie Liu’s Shadow Touch — wow, good thing I was desperate, I was hooked in two paragraphs!

    Enough that I stayed up until 2am (with jetlag + 9am meeting) to finish it, and went out at lunch to find the nearest bookstore to get the first in the series. (I was sighted in the romance section! Yegawdz!)

    So this evening I’m chilling out at the bar, reading, enjoying a glass of wine, and a woman a few seats down from me says, “what are you reading? you look like you’re totally absorbed…”

    I couldn’t help it. I blurted out the first thing that came to mind: “It’s not my normal genre, really!”


    But now there may be one more Marjorie Liu fan out there, after I raved about how awesome both books are. Okay, so, happy endings, but mixing the urban fantasy and the romantic (in the classical sense) finally makes the whole “we feel a communion of spirits” work.

    If only someone could do something about the covers. Either that, or invent a way I could hide them while I read…

  5. Anonymous said:

    Okay, this is my opinion. First of all everyone must understand that I am under the impression a ghost writer wrote Paris Hilton’s book. I could be wrong, and please correct me if I am.

    The problem with this book isn’t that it may be fun but people are ‘prejudiced’ against Paris Hilton and therefore are snobs. A good book is a good book. Or at least a fun book is a fun book. The problem with this book is that the person behind it is only interested in one thing, fame. Will do anything and everything to get it. Is a reprehensible human being and propogates horrible goals for young women. The thought of supporting her in any way makes me sick to my stomach. She didn’t write the book. But claims authorship.

    It may be a fun read, but there are lots of other fun reads out there. There are certain guilty pleasures that I think we should feel genuinely guilty about.

    I hate that Paris Hilton is famous. I hate it. I hate the lifestyle she promotes and that tweens want to be her. And that is the difference. Buying her book. Showing it around. Keeping her name front and centre. That’s what I object to.

    And if that makes me a snob, fine.

  6. katiesandwich said:

    Have to say that I’m with adrienne when it comes to Paris Hilton. And yes, she did have a ghost writer; I heard a quote of something she said to her ghost writer on a show called “20 Dumbest Celebrity Quotes,” or something like that. The ghost writer said, “We’re in the Wall Street Journal,” and Paris said, “The Wall Street Journal? Is that good?”

    I do agree that people should branch out and read stuff out of their genre every once in awhile, though. It’s actually been quite inspiring for my own work, giving me ideas for things that may be a quirk of, say, mystery novels, but would be really new to fantasy.

    Oh, and in the past,I was surprised to discover that my favorite author’s work has been reviewed in Romance Times… and he is a fantasy writer.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Remember the line from the play and movie AMADEUS where Mozart asks if we’d rather discuss Greek Gods or gossip with a hairdresser?

    Everyone loves a good, trashy novel once in a while.

  8. Anonymous said:

    Stephne King fanatic here.

    I love Matthew Reilly too…his books take off like a rocket from word one and don’t stop until the end.

  9. ORION said:

    Oh I ADORE Georgette Heyer!!!
    I have no discrimination when it comes to reading but I do know the difference between literature that makes me think and escapist fiction. There is a time for each.
    However, I do agree with Adrienne. I was a former high school teacher and my heart would break for the girls with eating disorders and who believed all the television and magazines ads that they were fat.

  10. Anonymous said:

    I’m too busy keeping my children out of the candy in the check-out counter to read any of the tabloids about celebrities like Paris Hilton in any case.

    Kimber An

  11. Maia said:

    I’m a confessed book snob. Couldn’t even buy a romance because I was convinced my brain would drip out my ears. Over Christmas vacation I picked up an historical romance at the villa we were staying at: couldn’t put the thing down. Now must order the whole series immediately from Amazon to avoid book store humiliation. Why do they have to have such drippy covers?

  12. lainey bancroft said:

    Not like this is something new. My 80 year old auntie reminded me that years ago her monthly romance shipment came with a nifty leatherette cover you could tuck your book in so no one saw the ‘bodice-ripper’ cover.

    I’m on the ‘down with Paris’ team. As the mother of a teenaged girl, I abhor the message she promotes, and can’t for the life of me understand why she garners so much attention. I’m not likely to go out and purchase her book. But if it was on someone’s coffee table….

  13. Anonymous said:

    A vote for Adriene here. ANYTHING that supports Paris Hilton and the birdbrained culture that supports her is a negative in my opinion. Romance novels and book snobbery are different subjects, so please don’t dignify the embarrassment called Paris Hilton by lumping them together.

  14. Anonymous said:

    I would much rather spend my money on a great book (romance or otherwise) by a debut author who actually needs the money.

  15. Termagant 2 said:

    I’m one of the 99.2% who doesn’t care what Paris Hilton, B. Spears or any of these Simpson women does or doesn’t do. I doubt snobbery has anything to do with it — my daughters and I simply find them boring.


  16. Anonymous said:

    imagine the horror if any of those folks found out that a book they actually read and enjoyed would be considered romance (happens more than you think!).

    The attack of the stealth romance. LOL! I love zinging my girlfriends with this one. They all read Gabaldon, Gregory, Ross . . . and when I point out to them that these are ROMANCES they deny it to the bitter end. “But Phillipa says her books aren’t romances.” Uh-huh. If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck . . .

    Interestingly, the most educated of my crowd of female friends are the ones who devour romances, while the least educated are the “snobs” who refuse to even try them.

  17. Anonymous said:

    The issue with the Paris Hilton book is that it isn’t “by” Paris Hilton at all. You know that someone much more literary than Paris wrote it for a flat fee and no credit. As an agent, doesn’t that bother you?

  18. Anonymous said:

    I have always been absolutely immune to peer pressure when it comes to what trashy entertainment I enjoy. Not because of any kind of perceived superiority on my part, but because I’m a hedonist at heart, and I refuse to allow anyone else’s opinions get in the way of my enjoyment.

    My word verification made me laugh in light of this post: tkujo

  19. Karmela Johnson said:

    I used to be one of those PH bashers too (although I *love* her sense of fashion) until I heard her song on the radio. There I was, driving along the Beltway, when I heard what I thought of was a Gwen Stefani song. I immediately start jamming to this very catchy tune. I liked it! What a great summer song! Gwen does it again!

    Imagine my horror when I found out after the song ended that it was none other than Paris(!) Hilton(gasp!).

    I now know that her song was highly engineered and her voice remixed to perfection, but still. I liked the song. Still do. Pretty good tune to hang out with by the pool.

  20. Anonymous said:

    Number One- Paris Hilton is an Idiot of the highest magnitude… 7.0 on the HIS (Hollywood Idiot Scale).

    Number Two- Paris Hilton DID NOT WRITE THAT BOOK! The woman has a tough time stringing together a coherent sentence to speak, let alone write. When someone hacked her T-Mobile Sidekick a couple years ago, love letters to an old boyfriend were revealed… they appeared to have been written by a mildly dimwitted fourth grader.

    Give the kudos to the ghost writer, Agent Kristin, not that twit. It’s not snobbery to enjoy a ghost writer’s work.

  21. Anonymous said:

    Wow. Wowwee.

    I read that, quite stunned. This is why there’s such crap on the shelves, why real writers have to struggle every day just to get an industry professional to read their work.

    I’ve heard you all criticize those who criticize the industry, basically saying, “If a writer’s work is good, it will get published” and “You need a tough skin in this world” and so on. You all fly to pieces when someone criticizes Ms Nelson.

    She has just outed herself as part of the problem. She liked Paris Hilton’s book, a book that was written, bought and published purely on the meaningless fame of an amoral, empty-headed heiress. Nevermind the work that is ignored, work by actual writers who cannot sell simply because they aren’t a name.

    I bet Ms Nelson would love OJ’s book too, if it ever makes it to print. After all, it’s guaranteed to sell.

    Stick to repping vapid Harlequin romance rippoffs and staid chick-lit, Ms Nelson. Stick to the market you know, and stop claiming to rep anything that’s not. You are revealed.

    Lit Critic (non-fiction writer)

  22. Anonymous said:


    What did you expect? Don’t be mean. It is what it is. You write non fiction? Don’t submit to this agent. I write sci/fi, fantasy and horror. I think most of these blog-happy agents (agent cartel?) are primarily romance and chick/lit agents— take it all for what it’s worth, and be cool.

    Kritin’s cool because she tells it like it is for her. The web’s like a radio. You don’t have to listen what she says if you don’t like the tune.


  23. Anonymous said:

    Oh, Lord. I was getting ready to query you, Kristin, but after reading this (and your post on “Foul Matter,” which is one of the lamest books I’ve read in my life) I’ve changed my mind. Paris Hilton? I’m no book snob. But there’s a difference between a book snob and someone with no taste. I’m no foodie either, but that doesn’t mean I like to eat trash.

  24. Anonymous said:

    Hey 1:58 anon,

    Ditto. I think I’ll shop around a little more, myself, agent-wise.

    Kristin… literary taste, get some. Come on. Paris Hilton? Did you like Jenna Jameson’s book too?

    Ahh, maybe it’s because celeb books are easy sales for agents.

  25. Anonymous said:

    What’s my point? None really, except maybe book snobbery is silly. Read what you enjoy and be proud of it.

    Okay. I read and enjoy books that are well written and offer intellectual stimulation. But if I’m proud of that, I’m a snob. And silly. I guess it’s fine to be proud of reading trashy romance novels, but pride in a taste for complex literary novels means you’re fair game for name-calling.

    When I was an English professor, almost all my colleagues read either romances or mysteries for fun. Nobody was embarrassed about it–but nonacademics were always SHOCKED that professors could enjoy reading that stuff. So what? In those reactions, and in this post, maybe it’s the assumptions of the observer that are questionable.

  26. Anonymous said:

    I was a romance novel book snob. Then I wrote a book. After re-reading it, I realized i wrote a romance novel. Now I can’t stop reading them. It’s absolutely addicting and some of the best books I’ve ever read.

    and did Paris Hilton write that book herself?

  27. Books R Us said:

    Dave wrote:

    Everyone loves a good, trashy novel once in a while.

    Not everyone. Not me, ever.

    Call me a “book snob” or whatever flips your literary pancake (heck, I have referred to myself as such more than once), but if the World O’Publishing would up its tastes a notch, there’d be less “trash” to worry about in the first place.

    Yes, by all means, read what you like. But don’t assume that “everyone reads trash” sometimes. Because some of us have higher standards, and aren’t embarrassed by it.

  28. Anonymous said:

    People seem to be ranting on romance, but that’s just because that’s agent kristin’s baliwick—- the true gripe is against her saying paris hilton put out a good book. hilton’s book wasn’t written by her, and it wasn’t a romance. I think people got upset because agent kristin spoke up and loudly supported a book that found its way to print because the “author” is a media whore, and the publishers were just taking advantage of her current glistening place in the public eye.

    somebody up top compared this to oj simpson writing a book (which is more the act of a FORMER media whore trying to get back in the spotlight, to get paid), but I don’t think they were too far off the mark. simpson didn’t write that book, just as hilton didn’t write hers—- mediocre writers were hired, and took their checks without complaint, all the while happy to have their names remain unattached to the glitzy covers.

    this is a tired subject. I think agent kristin was stupid to support a book that undoubtedly kept others off the shelf, because as every agent will tell you, there is only enough room for a finite number of authors in stores. it’s why their time is so valuable.

    screw her.

  29. Anonymous said:

    From an agent’s point of view, any book that sells can be considered a good book. Business, folks. They aren’t about making sure quality product gets to the shelves, they’re concerned with selling books. I’m sure Kristin did enjoy reading Hilton’s book, because after all, it sold. There’s no accounting for taste. That’s a shame.

  30. Anonymous said:

    This is a great post! Paris Hilton as kryptonite? I love it.

    I would have stuck my nose up at anything by Paris Hilton, but maybe I’ll look for a used copy, wink wink. Seriously, she must have had a ghost writer. (Please don’t burst my snobby little bubble!)

    But I have to ask…how can anyone be embarrassed by Georgette Heyer? She created the Regency genre! She’s as good as Jane Austin!

  31. Elektra said:

    Another vote for Adriene! There are equally good books out there that don’t support someone teaching teenaged girls to be whores.

  32. yossarian said:

    I’m no book snob myself. But I do avoid celebrity books as a matter of solidarity with my talented, unknown writer friends. (Ditto for celeb picture books.)

    I’d rather enjoy a guilty pleasure by an actual writer, rather than some celebrity’s ghost written vanity project.

  33. Yahzi said:

    Merle Ginsberg and Jeff Vespa get credit on Paris’ book. So I assume they are the ghost-writers.

    I hesitate to stir the shark-infested waters, but I will anyway… It appears that Nicole Ritchie has written a fiction novel. So for all of you who wax apocalyptic over vapid celebrity memiors, consider that Nicole has published fiction based solely on her status as friend of a celebrity.

    In other words, it really is about who you know.


  34. Kiskadee said:

    I’m with Adrienne.

    If the book was really that good it’s because the ghost writer is so good. Agents, for goodness sake, find out who she is and find out what she writers and take her on for her OWN WORK.

    This says so much about what is wrong with the publishing industry.
    Ans I’m another one who absolutely cannot read trachy romance novels.

    BTW is you want to read a REALLY bad book, try the new PublishAmerica sting novel, Crack of Death, on, a book so bad it’s good!

  35. Diana Peterfreund said:

    Book snobbery can work both ways. I’ve seen devotees of genre fiction say they wouldn’t read “pointless, depressing” lit fic. They are just as much book snobs. As KN said, read what you enjoy and be proud of it–whatever it is. You don’t need ot justify your choices or put down anyone else’s.

    The ghost-written aspect doesn’t have any place in this conversation. No one said, “Wow, that Paris, what a writer she really is.” The book is a product, and an enjoyable one. It’s presumptuous to assume that the ghost writer is offended, or unhappy with their flat fee, or wants to publish his or her own work. Is it what it is. The ghost writers I know enjoy their contracts and the money it makes them.

    Say you wrote a screenplay, and it was being made into a movie. You have the choice to put it out with obscure actors who no one is interested in seeing, or guaranteed box office draws. People make those choices, and are not burned in effigy for them. But with books it is assumed that there should be a different standard.

    I enjoy several series that I know are ghostwritten, either secretly or as an understood business model (such as packaged YA.) They are what they are. How many works of art “by” Raphael do you enjoy, knowing that Raphael himself might have worked very little on it? Does it make the painting any less pretty?

    Paris Hilton’s book is not keeping any other off the shelves. There is “space” for celebrity vanity projects on lists that is separate from the space that is held for serious works of literature or romance novels, or what have you. No one says, “well, this guy could be the new Don DeLillo, but hey, how about another book ‘by’ Paris Hilton instead?” and if anything, the cash cow that is a celebrity vanity project provides money to the publisher that they can use to buy and promote their original projects.

    The acrimony here is quite misplaced.

  36. Anonymous said:

    Diana I respectfully disagree.

    I know there are many books out there that are ghostwritten, and in fact you could argue that Paris Hilton’s book is a good thing because it gave someone a job. My objection has nothing to do with the state of writing in the world today, or ghostwriters, or keeping other books off the shelf (and I don’t quite know if what you say is true, surely there are a finite number of books that can be published each year, or are you saying that if her book wasn’t published some other fame hungry socialite’s book would?).

    My very basic argument is that the book was written simply to keep Paris Hilton’s name in the spotlight. For no other reason than for her to become more famous. And she is an individual who should not be famous. Yes yes, let us praise her business sense, wow, what an easy argument to make. In the end the truth of the matter is she is an awful human being and anything that promotes her, makes us even have such debates about her, should not exist. You may say, “She’s young, she’s just having fun.” But I see how dangerous she is, and while she has never held herself up to be a role model, she is on television, and promotes herself to precisely the age range that NEEDS a role model.

    Even if you say she is smarter than how she acts, I would say that in itself is a bad example for girls. I hate that she goes around explaining that she is really smarter than all this but if you pretend to be stupid you can get away with more things. That is just repulsive.

    I’ve got no sour grapes here at all. And I could argue both sides of the Paris Hilton debate quite easily. But I choose this side. And I am proud to.

  37. Anonymous said:

    If nine year olds are praising Paris Hilton, then their parents aren’t doing their jobs right. My daughter is nine and has no idea who Paris Hilton is, much less is imitating her in any way. I don’t let her watch tabloid television or read magazines unless it’s Highlights. And none of her friends at school do, either. (Public school, btw.) I’m sure that will change, but NINE? That’s insane.

  38. Anonymous said:

    *clap, clap* Adrienne, for both posts.

    As a woman, teacher, daughter and one-day-potential mom, I agree that keeping Bimbo-ism in the spotlight is stupid. Why, as a society, do we glorify (by buying the book, I mean, *product*) this rich girl who has done nothing but make a porn movie?

    As a writer and avid reader, I have no problem with ghostwriters or romance genres. A good read is a good read (yes, I liked The Da Vinci code – its not Hemingway, but it’s a good read)

    I must argue with Diana’s screenplay analogy…if I had written a screenplay…Exactly– I would have written it!

    I get the point of well known actors, etc. But let’s remember those actors are talented. When Daniel Day-Lewis stars in my screenplay, it will be because he is a name AND has the talent and skill. You can’t get a ghostactor.

    12:08 Anon/Lit Critic sums it up well:
    If a writer’s work is good, it will get published” and “You need a tough skin in this world” and so on. You all fly to pieces when someone criticizes Ms Nelson.

    She has just outed herself as part of the problem…Nevermind the work that is ignored, work by actual writers who cannot sell simply because they aren’t a name.

  39. Elektra said:

    Yes, nine–because Paris isn’t just in the tabloids. She’s on posters, on TV nonstop (TV guide channel, commercials, etc., thereby even getting to the kids who don’t directly watch her shows). She’s on magazine covers, she’s referenced constantly, she’s in movies (including The Cat in the Hat, which I’m sure a ton of kids went to see). She has songs on the radio, she has beauty products in the stores, she has T-shirts. She’s everywhere. Yes, some of it falls down to the parents, but what are the parents supposed to do if the media just doesn’t let up?

  40. pennyoz said:

    Kimber hits on a point. I sense a lot of anger towards Paris Hilton. How dare a squillionaire’s daughter make another squillion. How dare she create a character that is called Paris Hilton. And some of the assumptions that are being made here. Dumb people don’t make money. Dumb people playing dumb make money or fame – Marilyn Monroe had a delicious dumbness about her but it was expertly executed by a clever girl.
    Lucille Ball wasn’t dumb.
    Never never make assumptions.
    And never never waste time envying other’s success. Concentrate on your own instead.

    And since when does reading for the pure pleasure of it make trashy lit. Some of the good stuff is upmarket trash too. They just use bigger words. LOL

    Do you always like the big winners in big time awards? Agree with every decision made by an academy of……. Every painting awarded…
    every book awarded…. every movie awarded….

    It’s all so subjective with other factors embedded into it. Comedy has a harder time than angst laden topic of the moment stuff…

    Personally I think the real joy should be the tale – no matter what the genre, if you are really smart then you enjoy the tale, well written and gets your juices worked up into a tizz then it’s a good story…

    Snob is such a horrible word. I’d hate to be one.

  41. Anonymous said:

    What should parents do if the media doesn’t let up? Teach them to be critical thinkers and have conversations with them about self-worth. Give kids more credit and give Ms. Nelson a break. She didn’t advocate purchasing this for your 9 year old daughter/niece/kid down the block. She said it was funny, and she read it. Big Deal–she isn’t out clubbing puppies.

    I am a parent of a girl and an aunt of a teen girl and a secondary teacher. I haven’t read the Hilton book and I don’t intend to read it, but I also don’t intend to bash anyone who would choose otherwise.

  42. Anonymous said:

    “I think agent kristin was stupid to support a book that undoubtedly kept others off the shelf, because as every agent will tell you, there is only enough room for a finite number of authors in stores.”

    Well said!!!

  43. Anonymous said:

    “My very basic argument is that the book was written simply to keep Paris Hilton’s name in the spotlight.”

    It was published to make a ton of cash. And some of that cash is being used to publish more books. Think of it as a tax, if that helps.

    And I can’t believe the vitriol directed towards Agent Kristin. Do you think Ms Hilton’s book will vanish from stores if publishing industry types ignore it?

    By the way, I’d sooner read a blog like Kristin’s – one with honest opinions – than a sanitised news-only blog. If I don’t agree with every post, so what? A balanced view of the world comes from weighing up differing opinions, not by allowing people to express only those opinions you agree with.

    Ms Hilton is not a role model I want for my two daughters, but that doesn’t mean her book is automatically bad.

  44. Anonymous said:

    Again, I am with Adrienne. And just for the record, I am not jealous of Paris Hilton. She’s just a poor little rich girl – emphasis on “poor”.

  45. Diana Peterfreund said:

    Ah, if only we could prevent the publication and/or fame of every person we, personally, find morally reprehensible! 😉 Literary or not, I think we can all come up with some candidates.

    Do I like Paris Hilton? No. I would make none of the arguments that adrienne pre-emptively responded to. However, I don’t think her book measurably added to her celebrity (post TV show, post tabloid-friendly porn incident? A book isn’t going to make much of a dent).

    But I think, as Simon says, that Hilton’s book allowed other books to be published, rather than the other way around. Black ink, bottom line, etc. The audience for such a book is not one that cuts into the audience of the rest of the book buying market. It brings in money that would otherwise not be there. And that’s why it’s not keeping things from being published.

    Think of the music label whose digestible and TV ready pop star is paying for dozens of little albums by no-name, brilliant bands.

    Most writers’ resentment towards the celebrity vanity project is that it is always so widely covered in the media. But they are being covered because of their celebrity, not because of their books. They aren’t taking up the space of other authors. Really.

    Re: the indie screenwriter. The screenwriter is invisible in most cases. A two second flash in the credits. When people quote movie lines, they usually attribute them to the actors playing the parts, not the screenwriter who wrote the line. Attaching a big name actor to a project may push it into production. “Co-writing” with a bestseller or writing media tie-ins or ghostwriting a project attached to a big name may give it more notice than it would otherwise have had. People should be free to make those choices without this sort of harsh judgment. Is it any worse than trying to get a star to do your movie? I don’t think books as a form should be thought of differently. I don’t ghost write or anything, but I don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s a choice I haven’t made.

    I remember reading an interview with Rob Thomas about putting Hilton in an early episode of Veronica Mars. He didn’t want to, but his producer talked him into it, because he knew it would bring in the curious, and some might stay on if they enjoyed the work.

    Publishers buy what they think people will pay to read.

  46. Kim Stagliano said:

    Wow – some “anonymous” posters (and the brave few who used their names) should spend a little time with another socialite – EMILY POST!

    Mrs. Nelson has invited you into her professional blog. This is not a MySpace gossip page. It’s a blog where an industry success shares her insight with writers. Mrs. Nelson could shut this blog down tomorrow and still get 20,000 queries and save herself some grief.

    I’m astounded at the rudeness I’m reading under the cloak of blogging secrecy.

    Don’t buy the book. Don’t read the book. Heck, flatulate as you walk BY the book if that makes you feel better. But maybe rethink entering someone’s “house” and throwing stones at the owner. It’s as rude as flashy your coochy at Nobu.

  47. katiesandwich said:

    Anon from 10:20 said:

    I haven’t read the Hilton book and I don’t intend to read it, but I also don’t intend to bash anyone who would choose otherwise.

    Well said. I can’t stand Paris Hilton, but I don’t think this gives me the right to make calls about the character of someone who does want to read her book.

  48. Elektra said:

    “Mrs. Nelson has invited you into her professional blog.”

    No. Ms Nelson has not invited us here–she has put a blog (which, yes, helps us a great deal, and for which we are thankful, but also allows her a place to vent and publicize new books) onto the internet. She did not write it in a private diary. She didn’t even write it in a provate blog and then truly “invite” us all. She posted it onto the World Wide Web for everyone to see. She did not write it aon a simple web page, so that a comments page wouldn’t exist. She used Blogger. And a big part of the blogging community lies in responding to what you read. Ms Nelson could disallow comments if she liked. So tell me, if she “invited” us here, how is she any less inviting us to comment?

  49. Anonymous said:

    I don’t think the point is that you shouldn’t comment. I think the point is that you should be respectful when you comment. If you saw someone holding the Paris Hilton book on the subway (showing all the world that they’re reading it) or talking about it, would it be okay for you to go up to them and tell them that their taste sucks, that they’re what’s wrong with the publishing industry, etc.? (Not that you specifically said those things, but many others have.) Be polite and express your concerns–sure. Make rude, personal attacks–totally uncalled for.

  50. Published Author C said:

    I’d love to know how many of the posters who believe “Paris Hilton took a publishing slot from other more deserving authors” are actually published authors. Because if you’re published you know this is a bunch of crap. The fact is, people, her book needs to sell to make it worthwhile for publishing houses. So don’t buy it and then you won’t have to worry about seeing any more Paris on the shelves. End of story. But if it’s bought and earns pubs money, they have more to take a chance on authors who don’t have a built-in marketing platform to springboard from.

    The fact is, Paris’ book didn’t take anything away from anyone except some other pseudo-famous train wreck. Use your brains, people: it was published by Fireside (S&S), which only does non-fic. So Paris didn’t take a dime or a slot from a single fiction writer. Fireside also published a non-fiction book by Dr. Phil’s son Jay – and what has Jay done to earn that? What expertise does he have besides being Dr. Phil’s son and marrying a playmate? Nothing. That’s the stuff the imprint does. Any of you psuedo-celebs out there posting to this blog? If not, you aren’t in any danger of losing your slot at Fireside any time soon. So move on.

    Get your facts straight and know the business before unleashing your ill-informed wrath.

    As for Paris’ worth as a person, that’s a different topic.

  51. Kim Stagliano said:

    My point is not that we shouldn’t comment – but berating the blog owner is in poor taste. This is a professionally oriented blog about the publishing world. It is not Kristin Nelson’s personal blog telling us about her new dachsund’s skin allergy and her Mom’s hernia operation. That is what puts it into a “professional” category to me. It’s all about the industry. So to get personal seems inappropriate. Is there anyone reading or posting on this blog who would turn Kristin down if she offered to represent you? Anyone she hadn’t already rejected that is?

  52. Elektra said:

    But she’s telling us private things. She’s not Paris Hilton’s agent. This post had nothing to do with the industry, or her professional status in it. It was about her personal, nonprofessional opinions on a book.

  53. Anonymous said:

    And her business is in books, so I still think it’s relevant. Maybe it’s more personal than some of the other posts, but no one’s saying the comments can’t be personal anyway. It’s when they’re personal *attacks* that it’s a problem.

    Are you saying that it’s okay for people to make nasty comments in Kristin’s journal because they don’t like a book she mentioned? Have you *read* all of the comments? Some people are ripping up her and the authors she represents, not simply stating their opinion about the book or book snobbery (which is the topic of the post–Kristin never even said she thought it was a great book, only that it was a fun read and she wasn’t embarrassed that she’d read it).

    What I would consider reasonable discussion and sharing of opinions:

    “The thought of supporting her in any way makes me sick to my stomach.”

    “ANYTHING that supports Paris Hilton and the birdbrained culture that supports her is a negative in my opinion.”

    What I would consider rude and unconstructive comments:

    “Stick to repping vapid Harlequin romance rippoffs and staid chick-lit, Ms Nelson.”

    “Kristin… literary taste, get some. Come on. Paris Hilton? Did you like Jenna Jameson’s book too?”

    “screw her.” (regarding Kristin, not Hilton)

    Disagreeing is fine. That’s what discussion and debate is all about. But there’s no call for being outright mean.

  54. Anonymous said:

    kim – I literally laughed so hard I cried when I read your post. I’m not intending on actually taking your advice when I pass the book in the store, but it was definitely well received. 🙂

    Sincerely, Kristin-repped author of vapid Harlequin romance rip-offs

  55. Elektra said:

    Kim, i understand what you’re saying now, and I agree wholeheartedly that dissent should not devolve into personal attacks (though to answer your previous question, yes, I would decline were Kristin to offer representation. I have a great deal of respect for her as an agent, but I just don’t think we’d work well together).

  56. Anonymous said:

    I like People Magazine when I go to the doctor’s office. For longer, high brown snob stuff I love the dirty in Vanity Fair.

    Really, who doesn’t know what Paris Hilton wore the night she and Brittany Spears went out in Vegas?

    Yes, I’d agree any snobbery is stupid!

  57. sed said:

    Honestly, kanani, I agree that snobbery is stupid but I, and just about everyone I know, have NO IDEA what you are talking about when you mention what Paris wore when she and Brittany Spears went out in Vegas. That question draws an empty stare from me, and my wife, and my best friend, and my son, and my . . . and that is not snobbery, that is not-knowing. And, of course, unsnobbily, not-caring.

    The world is large, it contains millions of people who have no idea what Paris Hilton wore on a night, any night, anywhere.

    That isn’t snobbery, it is a fact.

  58. Anonymous said:

    “Really, who doesn’t know what Paris Hilton wore the night she and Brittany Spears went out in Vegas?”

    Does the answer contain the words ‘underwear’ and ‘no’? If not, I’m stumped.

  59. Anonymous said:

    “Is it any worse than trying to get a star to do your movie?”

    Yes. Because that film star actually acts. And you get the credits for the screenplay.

    Celebrity “novels” are not necessarily best-sellers. For example, “Swan”, the novel “written” by Naomi Campbell but really written by Caroline Upcher, was a huge flop. In such cases, the gigantic advance paid to the celebrity and the ghost’s fee does not in any way help the real-good-but-struggling-to-get-noticed novelist.

    Count me in as someone who says “The thought of supporting her in any way makes me sick to my stomach.”

    I hope that if I were ever given the chance of ghosting, say, “Britney Spears’ novel”, I would have the integrity to say no.

    “Honestly, kanani, I agree that snobbery is stupid but I, and just about everyone I know, have NO IDEA what you are talking about when you mention what Paris wore when she and Brittany Spears went out in Vegas. That question draws an empty stare from me. . . and that is not snobbery, that is not-knowing. And, of course, unsnobbily, not-caring.”

    I echo this. I don’t know and I don’t care what these poeple do or wear.

    Kim, to answer your question about “if Kristin offered to rep me” – I have never queried Kristin and never would. Like Elektra, I respect her as an agent but I always knew she is not one for me. Thanksfully, I have found that one.

  60. Anonymous said:

    Of course, that should read thankfully, not “thanksfully”!
    And my last words sounded a bit, um, snobbish. Of course, I am sure that Kristin would not have offered to rep me even if I had queried – she likes different stuff.

  61. Julie Leto said:

    does not in any way help the real-good-but-struggling-to-get-noticed novelist

    Why should a book be measured by how much it helps another author? Or doesn’t help? Being helpful is certainly not the nature of this business. Sure, some celebrity novels flop, costing the publisher money–but that is more likely to happen with an unknown writer, a few of whom, by the way, get hefty advances. But mostly, celebrity novels are a boon to publishers. If they weren’t, the publishers wouldn’t shell out the dough for them. Everyone here is entitled to their opinion and I certainly could care less whether or not any of you buy, read, flush Paris’s book. I think Ms. Nelson’s point was that she personally thought the book was fun and there’s nothing wrong with that, either. For all the screams about Paris being this horrible role model–give teenage girls some credit. The only ones who are trying to be her are those that don’t have brains and parental supervision. I have two teenage babysitters–both beautiful, smart, fashion-conscious 16 year olds–who wouldn’t be caught dead mimicking Paris. She’s a joke to them. MY nine year old? She has no clue who she is because I monitor her media exposure like any good parent should. I don’t think Paris’s popularity comes from the masses so much as it comes from the media. Whatever. She’s milking it. Good for her. I don’t judge other people. If I don’t agree with their life choices, I simply keep them out of my life. And yes, it is possible to do that.

    Oh, and to the Anonymous who wrote this:

    Stick to repping vapid Harlequin romance rippoffs

    Bite me.

    And learn to spell.

  62. elaine said:

    Kalen Hughes said: They all read Gabaldon, Gregory, Ross . . . and when I point out to them that these are ROMANCES

    Ummm, I don’t know about the other writers, but Diana Gabaldon does not write romances. She would be the first to tell you that. Yes, I know her books are often found in the Romance section (and can also be found in sf/fantasy and mainstream), but that represents the bookseller’s mistaken perception. She just fought a long, hard battle with B&N to get them moved to general fiction where they belong. I believe she’s taking on Borders next.

    And really, with the possible exception of Outlander, they don’t fit the romance template at all.

  63. Anonymous said:

    “Why should a book be measured by how much it helps another author? Or doesn’t help? Being helpful is certainly not the nature of this business.”

    I only wrote this in reponse to Diana’s argument that celebrity novels help finance other writers. I don’t believe this is true.
    But then what do I know?
    I also have a 16 year old daughter who thinks PH is a joke.
    Which she is.

  64. Julie Leto said:

    Kiskadee, I do think that celebrity novels and many other high profile books DO help new novelists in the long run because they keep the publisher afloat. That’s just business. They are helping the publisher, which can and does trickle down to the new writer. Flops hurt. But for all the publisher knew, Paris’s book could have been a flop. They took a business risk. It was a boon for them. Great.

    I guess I’m missing what the big deal is. Barring any convictions for DUI in the future, Paris Hilton hasn’t broken any laws–maybe a few for indecency, but there are worse criminals in the world on that front, that’s for sure. And since I’m pretty sure none of us on this list know her personally, I think some of the attacks on her person rather than her persona have been ridiculous. Celebrities only have power if the masses give it to them.

    Sure didn’t hear this kind of outrage when Jose Canseco wrote his book…and he did break laws. But then, he’s a man and a sport’s star, so I guess it’s okay? There have been myriad books in the marketplace about people who have done reprehensible things–much more so than strutting on the red carpets wearing next to nothing, losing her pet chihauhau or coining a “hot” catchphrase.

  65. gina said:

    Writtenwyrd: Of course! People who have actually READ Georgette Heyer wouldn’t be embarrassed at all. But – – my mom won’t try any author who is labeled as “romance”.

    She is not embarrassed by the “mystery” label. She’ll read a mystery author whom she thinks is very mediocre as her “lemonade reading”. She’ll do wide reading in the mystery category because she doesn’t think of it as embarrasing; but she won’t read anything in what she considers an embarrasing category (for example, romance).

    But I have hopes that one day she will read a Georgette Heyer novel. I’m sure that once she does, she’ll give up her stereotype of romance novels.

    Category names, genre names. They’re all just labels. Good work and bad work can be done in all categories and genres.

    There have been some great comments here.