So You Want To Be Famous

So you want to be famous. You want to have your name in print, in lights, on the moon. You want people to remember you and love you and want to be you. Well, have a seat, I’m going to show you how it’s done.
 
There are many variations of this secret. Everyone has their own thoughts and ideas on how to become the next Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowlings, or Stephen King. You’ll be told to write a great book, be creative. Get an amazing cover, something brilliant and eye catching. Get a good editor. But what people won’t tell you, but I will, is to keep being human.
 
I’ve been in the writing world for a little over a year and a half. July 31, 2014 will be two years. I have met amazing authors, so talented, so friendly. But then something happens. Something cold and fickle. Something that can make or break even the best people. Fame. An author hits NY Best Seller. They get snatched up by an agent. They get picked up by one of the big 6. They get a movie deal. Whatever the case. Suddenly, that person that used to be friendly and open, becomes evasive and abrupt. They forget the people that brought them to that point. They forget they still need those readers they’re ignoring to continue staying on top. I’m not saying fame changes everyone, but from what I’ve seen, it changes most people.
 
Except one person.
 
When I was younger, still in school, still bright-eyed and hopeful for a successful future as an author, I found a book in the library. It was a strange book. I had never seen any other like it. It was written for me (not personally), but this was during an age when Young Adult didn’t exist. It was either Middle Grade, or Adult. So to find this special gem was…amazing. I snatched it up. I took it home and I fell in love. It was my first paranormal novel and my very first book crush. This author made vampires cool before they sparkled, before they became the it thing. I fell in love with the characters, the plot and the author’s voice. It was that single book that cemented my drive to become an author. It was because of this author that I fell in love with the supernatural. I mean, I always loved it. My mom was always big on the things that went bump in the night, but this book showed me I could write about it and it was okay.
 
Since then, I have read and own every book this author has ever put out, including the free samples she has on her website. I have read them religiously and still love them. Recently, I found the author on Facebook and, after several minutes of pep-talking myself, I hit Add Friend. I quickly signed out before I let myself obsesses over what I’d just done. I just asked my #1 favorite author to be my friend on Facebook. I just friended my idol. What the hell was I thinking? She would refuse. She didn’t know me. She was famous and amazing and I so was not. Don’t get me wrong, I have a ton of amazing and famous authors on my Facebook and each one was a total shock when they accepted my friendship, but this author…this author was different because I have secretly worshiped her work my entire life that I felt like I was meeting a superstar. Then the unthinkable happened. I came online and she had accepted my friend request. I sat in terrified silence for so long that I scared my husband. What was I supposed to do now? Should I thank her? Should I PM her? Should I do nothing? I had to do something…right? But fear of being one of those people kept me in check. You know which I speak of, the creepy stalker people that gush all over the place. I mean, I’m totally one of those people, but usually in the privacy of my room where the only witnesses are my dogs and they’re so used to my weirdness that they don’t even care anymore.
 
So why are you here? Why am I talking about this author when I promised you the secrets of success? Well, calm down my lovely friend, I’m about to tell you.
 
Dec 25th, Christmas and my birthday. Usually, because of Christmas everyone, including myself, forgets about my birthday. I understand. I’m not bitter. It’s a norm for me. But this author, this author who has never spoken two words to me, has no idea I exist, wished ME a happy birthday. Me. What?! I joke not, the people in space could probably hear me screaming. I phoned everyone from my mom to my paperboy to tell them that this person wished ME happy birthday. This author who has over a dozen Best-Selling novels, is NY and USA Best and has two successful TV shows based on her books, one of them rounding on their 9th season AND has its own spin-off. This author wished ME a happy birthday. Why? What was in it for her? She wasn’t gaining anything. It was Christmas for crying out loud. No one would have blamed her for not saying anything. Am I making a big deal out of nothing? Perhaps. Perhaps I am so star-struck that I’m not seeing this rationally. But you know what, that simple gesture, that simple, humble gesture only sealed my loyalty to this author. It showed me that no matter how big she is, how untouchable and incredible, she still took that moment to change everything for me. She showed me just how much she appreciates her readers and what they mean to her. She humbled me.
 
So the secret of fame and success? Be human. Respect your readers. Remember it’s because of them you are where you are. Respond to messages. Show them you’re still human. It’s all about being humble. Don’t lose yourself. Thanks to this author, I will carry this message with me for the rest of my life. I will never be as amazing as her, but I will strive to be the best I can be as me. She may never read this, but after what she’s shown me, I think she might and if she does, I want to thank her for being my idol, but mostly for being such a huge impact in bringing my dreams to life. May you never stop writing. Thank you.
 
At this point, I’m hoping you’re asking who this author is. The first book I read by her was The Hunter, Book 1 of The Forbidden Games.


LJ SMITH
 
New York Time’s #1 Best-Selling Author of The Vampire Diaries, The Secret Circle, The Forbidden Games,
Wild World, & Night World


http://www.ljanesmith.net/

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2 thoughts on “So You Want To Be Famous

  1. Airika, I loved your post. It was refreshing to hear and a tad bit on the funny side. I’m just a reader as you know but I made me realize that you and all the other authors that I have connected with have the same thing in common you remain human you take the time to respond to every post and you have even wished me a happy birthday which was incredible to me. I hope I am not one of those gushy creepy stalker types. I just wanted you to know that you had made a difference to me and that I admire you and your work. So thanks for just being you!

  2. Hi Airika,

    Thank you so much for all your kind words. They really touched my heart. The funny thing is that I don’t feel like a famous person at all.

    I adore my readers and would never think someone was a creepy stalker for sending a message. I know what you mean, though. Those same types of feelings keep me from writing people I admire like Terry Pratchett.

    I wish you tons of success with your writing.

    Cheers,

    Lisa

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