Fifteen Minutes

This is probably going to come off like a major bitch-fest, but I’ve heard a particular argument one too many times recently and now I’m going to weigh in.

Some people criticize American Idol because of it’s potential to give what they call instant fame to someone, as opposed to “real” musicians who work and sweat and bleed for their craft to make a name for themselves. And that staying in a popularity contest for a number of weeks and being crowned the American Idol is a slap in the face to all those who have graduated from the school of hard knocks. Well, there is a slight amount of credence to that claim, I suppose, but honestly, when you break it down, a singer’s popularity is only as strong as the effort he or she puts into staying in the spotlight. And just because someone wins that contest, doesn’t necessarily guarantee everlasting fame. When is the last time you heard of Taylor Hicks?

But I’m not lambasting American Idol, it’s a fun show and it’s fun to root for someone going after his or her dream. Actually, the intent of my rant today is to compare it to book publishing. As a matter of fact, though, when I first started watching American Idol, I felt kind of guilty, in a way, laughing at some people from the comfort of my living room because I silently and miserably compared their rejections to my own and would, at times have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Maybe I’m not the greatest writer in the world, and won’t ever win any Pulitzer Prize, but I’d like to think I’m a better writer than some of the Idol hopefuls are singers. (At least during the auditions–don’t these people have friends to stop them, really?) I may never have the fame or recognition of Stephen King or Dan Brown and that’s fine, really. But I would like the chance for a little recognition, or even a response from a query? Next month will be 5 years since my book was completed and that I’ve been searching for an agent or a publisher to represent me, to help me realize my dream. I’ve received rejections too numerous to count, in every possible manner, from form letters to downright handwritten insults–We have no use for you or your book.

I recently heard of yet another prospective book deal for someone and it got me thinking how lately, all these deals seem to be the same thing as winning 15 minutes of fame on American Idol. Everyday, I hear of some book deal given to somebody because of a story in the news; this airplane pilot, that Senator’s wife, not to mention the sports figures on drugs–compelling stories, I’m sure, but we hear about them everyday in the news, played out like soap operas ad nauseum. But the tabloid appeal of them is what publishers bank on to sell books, to put cash in their coffers, to see them through until their next blockbuster gets published.

I’m whining, I know, but what about those of us who love and want to write, to have a story told? We just get told “no”, time after time just because the book might not sell. How can one person make such a cavalier decision like that, whether someone’s work, someone’s dream, sits buried in a slush pile in some back office somewhere, while newspaper articles are turned into money makers?

So, from where I’m sitting, American Idol isn’t such a bad spot to be in and established musicians can yell only so loud. Fame, or psuedo-fame isn’t being dished out only on television talent shows.  For good or bad, there are at least 15 minutes of fame waiting for most who dare.


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4 Responses to “Fifteen Minutes”

  1. Brenda Says:

    I hear news about Taylor Hicks every day! Do you live under a rock?

    I am a huge fan of Taylor’s and I try my best to keep current on his career. He has been appearing in the musical, Grease, for over a year, touring the country. Prior to that, he appeared on Broadway in the same musical, appearing as Teen Angel.

    Taylor started his own record company and has released an album. There’s some pretty good stuff on that CD. Perhaps you should give it a listen!

    When is the last time I heard of David Cook or Kelly Clarkson? Not for quite some time – simply because I don’t follow their careers. Before you bash someone, maybe you should Google their name and see exactly what they have been up to! Just sayin’.

    • brianksigley Says:

      Gee, Brenda, I didn’t mean to insult you, but I think you missed the point of what I was saying in my blog. I was comparing the alleged “ease” of gaining fame and fortune from American Idol to the unfair treatment we writers have trying to get our hard work recognized and published. My apologies to you and to Taylor Hicks! Soul Patrol Rules!

  2. buckeyegal Says:

    Was the snarky remark necessary in your comparison?


    “When is the last time you heard of Taylor Hicks?”

  3. Brenda Says:

    I may have missed your point as I only skimmed the rest of what you wrote after I got to your Taylor Hicks comment.

    Taylor wrote a book after his win on American Idol – “Heart Full Of Soul.” It’s a very good book. Taylor talks of his many years of heartache, disappointment and struggle prior to Idol as he tried to catch a break as a working musician. You might give it a read.

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