Critics of St. Paul complained that while he wrote these great letters, he wasn’t much in person. James Madison was adept at presenting well-reasoned written arguments. However, he was a rather sickly sort and people complained his voice was weak and perhaps a bit irritating. Whatever their physical weaknesses may have been both were skilled with a pen.
In many ways, a writer exists only on paper. What you have done for a living, the degrees you’ve earned, and your many exploits while traveling around the world might make for an exciting biographical blurb on a back cover, but it’s still the words on the pages inside that count.
For your pages to shine, there must be a positive message that comes from the author’s heart and soul to make the words memorable. That does not mean your books must be warm and fuzzy. One of my all-time favorite books is Come Nineveh, Come Tyre by Allen Drury. The story is anything but positive. However, the character of soul and a fighting spirit of some of the characters makes the book inspirational as well as terrifying.
Think about the books you have read more than once. Why did you do that when you already knew the story? Was it because the author was famous, or because he was handsome, or because he went to Oxford? I don’t think so.
Your read that book again because the writing carried you away to a place that you may not even have known you wanted to go. Then later, you were willing to forget the ending, or at least put it out of your mind, just to take the trip once more.
If the author truly has done the job, he/she is invisible—they are just a voice that points your imagination along the way. Strive to be a voice. If his words transport you to another place and time, Joseph Merrick would fare as well as an author as whoever People is touting as sexy these days.
I will admit that celebrity sells. Look (if you can) at Michelle Obama. But honestly, who wants to read that tripe? People buy stuff like that to be seen buying it or to display it on their shelves to show how woke/deluded they are.
Thank God, I have the luxury of not having to make a living from my royalties. I won’t say money doesn’t matter, but book sales represent the number of people who read your book. That is important because if you didn’t want people to read your book, it would still be in a drawer somewhere.
Writers tend to be extremely critical of themselves. I won’t say don’t do that—we all know we will. I will say this, save it for late at night when you are all alone. When you step into the arena with your book, do it like you’re as good as anyone in the room. Write like you're somebody because—you are!