Characters Developing Characters

All sorts of interesting characters are writing books these days. As previously reported here, Dr. Angus has a diet book out. Now soap stars are getting in on the act.

from New York Times: A little more than a year ago, Marcie Walsh decided to write a mystery novel. It was a big step, considering that she was a college student and part-time receptionist. Also, she had picked up a rare disease after being thrown into a Dumpster (long story) and given it to her boyfriend, who died. But she got over all that and sent her manuscript to an editor at Hyperion named Gretchen Young, who accepted it. Chip Kidd, the sought-after book-jacket designer, did the cover. The book was published this past February and made it onto The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller lists.
Marcie Walsh may not be as celebrated a young author as, say, Jonathan Safran Foer. But on the other hand, she didn’t have the advantage of an Ivy League education and the support of critics who see her as a master of experimental fiction. In fact, she doesn’t even exist. Her book, ”The Killing Club,” is quite real. It was written ”with” Michael Malone, the prize-winning (and nonfictional) author of several mysteries, and there are 150,000 copies in print. Walsh, however, is a character on the ABC soap opera ”One Life to Live,” which pulls in about 3 million viewers a day; the big author photo on the back cover is of Kathy Brier, the actress who plays Walsh on the show.

If you’d prefer to read a real book by a real author, advertising is full of them (real writers with real books, that is). For instance, former BJK&E copywriter, Bob Drake, has a new book out, Paper Boys: A Novel In Five Part Harmony.
Michael Stodola, an Amazon reviewer says, “My sense of Norman-Rockwellesque-American-Childhood was brutally mugged by Bob Drake’s Paper Boys.” That’s quite an endorsement.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Captain Jack says:

    I’d love to give some credence to the reviewer in question, but Michael Stodola worked with Mr. Drake at Bozell in Omaha in the 90’s.
    In fact every single reviewer on Amazon for this book is either a former coworker, client or relative of Mr. Drake’s.

  2. Are you saying there’s something wrong with self-promotion? Unless you’re a big time author, you’re not going to get any promotional assistance from a publisher today.

  3. squiddie says:

    Captain Jack,
    Neither friends or family are afraid to say
    what they really think especially to
    the author’s face. Not all spanking
    positive but the book is hard to put down.
    Let’s see your review. Good or bad.
    That’s what makes good fiction. Discussion.

  4. Captain Jack says:

    Not at all. Self-Promotion is king. But is it still “self-promotion” when positive, glowing reviews are pawned off to friends and relatives to post positively in community-oriented forums? I think not, in fact I think veiled praise hurts both the object in question (be it a book, web, documentary, etc), as well as the forum.
    I think a bigger picture in this particular case is that not a single review from “the public-at-large” has been written about the book in five months it has been out.
    Don’t get me wrong though, I think Bob is a stand up guy. But would you buy his book based soley on half a dozen 5 star reviews by people who have only one review to their history?

  5. Hi Ellen –
    Thanks for stopping by our little joint here.

  6. squiddie says:

    Thanks for having me Shawn.
    The blog is great. Well written and easily
    navigatable. For the record, PAPER BOYS
    was available to the public starting March 15.
    We had advance copies in February.
    Can’t wait for the public to review on Amazon.

  7. But would you buy his book based soley on half a dozen 5 star reviews by people who have only one review to their history?
    Hey, I’m an influencer. I don’t buy books. They’re ever so graciously mailed to me!

  8. Hey, I’m an influencer. I don’t buy books. They’re ever so graciously mailed to me!
    I’m in the same boat. I’ve got 3 in queue from publicists that I need to digest. It was a mistake writing this post.

  9. Did someone say free books? Why aren’t I getting them? Put me on the list!