Aspirations, Danielle Steel, and Blogging

Perhaps you want to be a big name author. Scratch that – a Big Name Author, an author of such prominence that maybe your books feature a distinct font that identifies you and you alone. Maybe you have your own fragrance. Maybe you want to have a backlist that can wrap around the earth sixteen times, or books that display your name larger than title itself. Maybe you want to be such a Major Player that people stop and take notice when you do something, like having the Associated Press notice when you announce that you’re starting a blog.

Seriously. There are sixty-eleventy botrillion blogs on the internet, but when Danielle Steel starts one, major press outlets take notice.

Wow. That right there is some authorial prominence at work. I mean, Stan in accounts payable probably started a blog ten minutes ago, and no one’s loaded that page but him.

Steel decided, according to the AP article (seriously, Hillel Italie has the greatest job in the history of the universe), to start blogging because her kids are grown up and she doesn’t have to worry so much about their privacy (good on you, Ms. Steel. Well played). Plus she wants to “communicate with my readers in a more informal way.” Considering that her first entry is all about age, and that she’s at a bad age but so is everyone else and yet everyone should enjoy the age they are right now, I’m not sure what the message was. I’m chronologically 33 and I’m enjoying my age just fine, but I’m still confused as to what the point of all that was. Hi, you’re not old! Thanks!

Ah, well. It doesn’t matter. She is probably not reading this here site, or any of the other romance blogs I adore, if this quote is any indication:

But she will play nice on her blog.

“I want it to be friendly and positive” she says. “I have seen some of the blogs being highly critical about people and highly nasty. I don’t like that in life; it’s just not necessary. Life is hard enough without being sour on top of it.”

Well, let’s break the champagne bottle on the SS Welcome to the Internet. A note Ms. Steel: mazel tov on the new blog! It’s definitely a tool in the arsenal of communicating directly with readers. But please note a key definition of terms: the “blog” is the entity itself, the web site that contains all the individual writing. It’s the sum, the whole, the entire collection. It’s the book, if you will. The individual pieces of writing are “entries” or, maybe “chapters” or even “pages.” So when you say, “And thank you for reading my first blog” you are mixing it up a bit and kinda sound like a noob. Nitpicky, I know, but when the AP notices when you’re blogging, you work the terminology right. Welcome to the party.

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  1. 1
    Cassie says:

    There was a notice about this on the New Yorker book blog. The title of the post? “In the News: Presidential Reading, Bodice-Ripping Blogger”

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2008/10/in-the-news-pre.html

    I thought the New Yorker was above this kind of name-calling, but apparently not.

  2. 2
    SB Sarah says:

    5 yard penalty to the New Yorker book blog, for use of the term “Bodice Ripper” plus an additional 5 yard penalty for not knowing what could and could not be construed as a “bodice ripper.” Second down.

  3. 3
    Lita says:

    In all likelihood, DS’s press agent probably sent out a release to all of the major news outlets – AP doesn’t really do any reporting of its own anymore.

    It probably scored high in an automated processes that AP uses to determine whether to recycle a press release:

    Famous person?  Check
    Who makes lots of money?  Check
    Doing something new? Check
    Involves technology, pets, childbirth, charitable works? Check

    Then post!

  4. 4
    Lizzy says:

    “Life is hard enough without being sour on top of it.”

    Thank you, Danielle, for weighing in.  I appreciate you—an author who has profited by writing nary a novel without a melodramatic adultery, heinous rape or bizarre incest subplot—taking the time to point out that we should all be nice people. 

    (Not that I’ve, you know, read any Danielle Steel books. But sometimes I see the movies on Lifetime.

    Oh, wait, that’s like a million times worse.)

  5. 5
    SB Sarah says:

    I’m always so amused by accusations that I’m sour. I’m actually not. I’m laughing my ass of right this very minute, because being honest and stating my opinion, even when it’s Not Nice, is a straight hyperlink to Bitter Sour Wench land. We must all hold hands and get a long, doncha know.

    And that is so lame, it almost makes me sour, except it’s too amusing for me not to laugh and laugh.

  6. 6

    How boring would the internets be, my friends, if people were always kiss ass nicey-nice on their blogs?

    VERY.  The answer is VERY.

  7. 7
    Jane says:

    My friends, let me tell you I know how to blog and I will show you my blogging awesomeness after November 4th (sorry, total non sequitur, but Jennifer Armintrout made me do it).

  8. 8
    phadem says:

    Did anyone catch the line about other blogs/internet material, right before she claims she’ll play nice on her blog:

    “Some are very interesting, but some are so inane — unknown people telling you what they do every day, which is even more boring than what I do every day.”

    Now that made me laugh. I suppose since she’s famous her blog won’t be “inane” and “boring”?

    Yes, welcome indeed, Ms. Steele.

  9. 9
    Estara says:

    But please note a key definition of terms: the “blog” is the entity itself, the web site that contains all the individual writing. It’s the sum, the whole, the entire collection. It’s the book, if you will. The individual pieces of writing are “entries” or, maybe “chapters” or even “pages.”

    Actually, the more I read LJ and all kinds of other blog posts/ entries and review blogs and even romance blogs (other than DA and SB), the more I read people complimenting a good post as “great blog”. I was just thinking that this might be a switch in the Englishspeaking blogosphere to simplify… you mean that’s still a real error?

    I kept thinking so, as well, but then I’m an ESL speaker.

  10. 10
    SonomaLass says:

    some are so inane — unknown people telling you what they do every day, which is even more boring than what I do every day

    Um, wait, so because you are FAMOUS, what you do every day is less boring by default?  Wow.

    I thinking that I will give her blog the same treatment I give her books—the big “no thanks.”

    (Uh-oh, that was mean, wasn’t it?  And snarky?  I’m such a bitch.  But I’m not sour—I laugh as I snark, haha!)

  11. 11
    Leah says:

    I guess I am a total loser, but I like reading what people do every day, because it’s either more interesting than what I do, which makes it, well, interesting, or pretty much like what I do, which makes me feel like less of a frumpy hausfrau.  Oh, and snark can make my day, ‘cause there’s a difference between well-aimed wit and whack-job meanness.  BTW, Lizzy, your comment was great!

  12. 12
    rebyj says:

    It’ll be fun to watch and see how and what she comes up with to talk about daily. If there weren’t boring people like me around to read blogs instead of having a life there’d be no blogs!

    As for being nice… SNARK RULES!

  13. 13
    Eva Lynn says:

    “Some are very interesting, but some are so inane — unknown people telling you what they do every day, which is even more boring than what I do every day.”

    …as a habitual devil’s advocate, I will suggest that it’s possible she meant that the specific things being reported by the people in question are even more boring to her than the things she does everyday herself, which are also boring to her, as I think the majority of people find their own everyday routine a little boring most of the time.  You probably get skydiving instructors sighing some days, as they prepare to leap out of a plane with someone strapped to their chest, and wishing for a bit of excitement.  I admit that I usually find doing laundry pretty boring, for example.  Unless something special happened or the writing style is amazing, I probably find reading about someone else having done laundry even more boring.

    That said?  She’s a writer.  Words are her livelihood.  If she meant the above, she should’ve made it clear.  If she didn’t?  ….wow.

  14. 14
    J.C. Wilder says:

    I’m here to say that Sarah is the least sour person I know. Then again – if you knew some of the sourpusses I’ve hung out with…

    Oh never mind.

  15. 15
    Chicklet says:

    (Not that I’ve, you know, read any Danielle Steel books. But sometimes I see the movies on Lifetime.

    Oh, wait, that’s like a million times worse.)

    I’ve got it beat: I devoted an entire afternoon to watching the adaptation of Family Album because Joe Flanigan was in it. The best part was that there was no effort to “age up” Jaclyn Smith and Michael Ontkean, so that at any given moment they looked only eight years older than their grown-up kids.  AWESOME.

  16. 16
    Sarah says:

    Ok, well now I’ve got to devote an entire afternoon to watching Family Album!  But maybe I can turn it into a drinking game?

  17. 17
    Carolyn says:

    Maybe she is doing research. I understand that her upcoming novel, “ROTFL Family Album,” takes on the issue of emoticon incest.

  18. 18
    Michele says:

    I read that blog entry of hers and I’m not impressed. But then I’m not impressed by her writing in general so why should her blog be any different.

  19. 19
    Chicklet says:

    Ok, well now I’ve got to devote an entire afternoon to watching Family Album!  But maybe I can turn it into a drinking game?

    I tried thinking of cues, but every one of them (drink whenever you roll your eyes at something; drink whenever any of the actors has an anachronistic haircut wrong for the depicted era; drink at ultra-melodramatic line readings) would result in you falling into a coma within 45 minutes. Let’s put this way: At one point, Flanigan removes his shirt so melodramatically I’ve seen the segment in question referred to as The Shirt Removal of Anger. Best to take it slowly, but steadily—trust me, alcohol makes the whole thing a lot better. *g*

  20. 20
    ev says:

    Ok, that is one blog I am going to be sorry to miss. Ok, maybe not sorry. But I will miss it.

    Now Jackie Collins might write an interesting one. She can be snarky when she wants.

    As for her suggesting that her life is so much more interesting and less boring than other peoples, oh, go suck on an egg.

    I have actually thought of starting one, just for me. I don’t care if anyone reads it- but with the empty nest syndrom about to hit, and hit heavy and far, far away, i thought it might be great therapy.  On the other hand, I am so technologically challanged, I would find a way to screw it up. And say things I shouldn’t.

  21. 21
    Sarah says:

    Chicklet, The Shirt Removal of Anger?!  Oh my god, now I absolutely have to see it!  Haha, I kind of love Lifetime sometimes…

  22. 22
    kalafudra says:

    The Shirt Removal of Anger… This sounds AWESOME!

  23. 23
    Leah says:

    When I worked in the public library, Danielle Steele books seemed to come in every other week,  just flew off the shelves, and had incredibly long waiting lists.  This is one reason why I never read them.  But one day I did flip through one out of curiosity.  And I thought, “Hey, I can do better than this!”  Of course, I’ve read many authors who are so good they remind me of how much I suck, but whenever I have a crisis of confidence, I remember that Steele book.  Oh, and that Patterson guy, too.

  24. 24
    Poison Ivy says:

    Once, I sat next to a guy on some public conveyance, maybe an airplane, maybe a train. And he told me all about going to Danielle Steel’s home for a press junket. And all about her having a pager setup with her nanny, who brought her the current infant to breast feed. During the press event, she slipped out and did the deed.

    If that is the kind of thing that Ms. Steel finds to be a boring part of her day, maybe her blog will be interesting. You know, “Oh, I had to order three kinds of wine this morning, and you wouldn’t believe how difficult the vintner was with me.” kind of boring.

    I don’t read her books. I know that tons of romance writers hate her guts for 1) being so successful 2) writing really bad dialogue, not to mention hokey plots, and 3) being so successful anyway. But she’s the real deal, whether you like her or not. Maybe if she bothers to Post another Blog Entry, we can learn something interesting or useful about a big name author.

    And maybe not.

  25. 25
    Willa says:

    Huh. I read the blog post, and it wasn’t bad at all. It wasn’t intensely interesting, but it was fine. And she did title the post “My First Blog Post,” so I don’t think she’s doing all that badly, really.

    And the comment on boring she made also seemed really innocuous—it read to me that she’s saying the mundane things she does every day are boring all on their own, and to have people blog about the mundane things they do everyday is even more boring, because it’s people talking about things that are boring—if that makes any sense.

  26. 26
    SB Sarah says:

    Once, I sat next to a guy on some public conveyance, maybe an airplane, maybe a train. And he told me all about going to Danielle Steel’s home for a press junket. And all about her having a pager setup with her nanny, who brought her the current infant to breast feed. During the press event, she slipped out and did the deed.

    If she blogged about stuff like that, I’d think it was tremendously fucking cool. Because, wow.

    I don’t hate her personally or resent her because she’s successful or because she’s wealthy. I don’t enjoy her books because she has a tendency to use far too many ellipses in her dialogue and text. But that’s a way neat setup to make sure she can breastfeed – and puts her baby’s needs first. Good on her.

  27. 27
    Jody W. says:

    “Joe Flanigan Family Album” got me a scene of Joe being forced **** [spoiler!] but no Shirt Removal of Anger, alas!

  28. 28
    Jody W. says:

    Eh, I forgot to add “on YouTube” to the above post, sorry.

  29. 29
    Chicklet says:

    “Joe Flanigan Family Album” got me a scene of Joe being forced **** [spoiler!] but no Shirt Removal of Anger, alas!

    Sadly, I searched for the LiveJournal entry where someone picspammed the scene extensively, but it’s friends-locked and I can’t access it. However! I did find several entries where my pal crimsonclad recapped the entire movie! There’s no Shirt Removal of Rage, but there is another shirtless!Flanigan scene:

    Part One

    Part Two

    Part Three

    Part Four

    Part Five

    Part Six

    Part Seven (This is the one with the shirtlessness)

    WARNING: This will not only spoil you for the whole movie, it may also cause you to spit beverages all over your keyboard and/or monitor, so beware.

  30. 30
    Hilcia says:

    Oiiih the delutions!  Not even as a curiosity…

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