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An article about Gwyneth Paltrow at the East Hampton Library’s 9th Annual Authors Night caught my attention. The article is here for now.

Basically, it seems Paltrow was invited to the event to promote one of her cookbooks and <SHOCKER> drew a pretty big crowd which displeased some other authors attending the event. The article mentions people are upset because Paltrow had a lot of “people” with her and pulled a pretty big crowd. Also, there are rumors her cookbooks were actually ghostwritten and not penned with her own little fingers.

Folks, I’ll tell ya…for a fairly short article, it really got me thinking. I don’t have a book out there yet and I’ve never been to any book signing as an author. Book signings I’ve attended as a fan were usually for local authors at my local indie bookshop so maybe my view is somewhat skewed, but I was kind of taken by surprise at the mud flicked in Paltrow direction over this event.

I’m on a list kick so here’s a list of stuff I thought about the article…

  1. Who organized the event? How were they so clueless that they didn’t think Paltrow’s table or section of a table would be a high traffic area? Instead of being mad Paltrow showed up, be mad the organizers didn’t anticipate and handle the potential crowd properly.
  2. Cookbooks writers are authors? OK. I guess. I hadn’t really thought of them as being authors. I guess that is because cookbooks are kind of like instructions and nobody really pays attention to writes their instruction manuals.
  3. Ghostwriter? She’s the face on the book, she’s the name on the book, it’s her brand. Besides, ghostwriting isn’t a new concept there are some wildly popular titles out there that are ghost written or uncredited. And what about that guy that wrote the book about his drug problems and recovery that Oprah raved about that turned out to be a big ol’ book of made up hooie? I’d be more pissed about having to sit next to that guy.
  4. Eating meat near/in front of die-hard vegans because…you can? 3rd grade much? I’m a meat eater; always have been and probably always will be. I was raised on a farm so I know how some animals give their life so I can have dinner. I have friends that are vegetarians, vegans, etc. I respect their choice and ask they respect mine. We go to dinner together sometimes and find a place that accommodates us both. I order my dead animal and they order their soy fluff. I’m sure Paltrow has seen people eat meat before so boy you really showed her with your plate of stinky dead animal products.
  5. How many of the attendees only showed up because Paltrow was there and maybe picked up a copy of some other author’s book? If just one person picked up my book because they came to see Paltrow, then that’s a minimum of one more copy than I would have otherwise sold. If they like it, then they start telling friends and presto…I’ve got new fans all because Paltrow or someone wrote a cookbook with her face on it.
  6. I would think if I were an author at a signing and ended up next to a celebrity with an overcrowded table…I’d improvise. Instead of sitting in my chair maybe I’d get up and walk around. Carry a few copies of my book with me. If my fans couldn’t get to me, I’d go to them. Or I’d work Paltrow’s line and talk to those folks. Talk about a captive audience! They are in what sounds like a pretty long line so it isn’t like they are doing to walk away and lose their place in line, right? I’d be talking up my book.

Maybe my view will be different when I’m the author sitting next to a celebrity at a book signing. However, from my hopes-to-be-publishe-and-invited-to-the-show seat right now, I say suck it up and find a way to work it to your advantage instead of sending nasty Tweets about it.


About Marsha Blevins, Author

Marsha Blevins lives in West Virginia with her boyfriend and six fur-children. She earned her B.A. in English with a concentration on writing from Marshall University. Two of her short stories and several poems were published in the university’s literary magazine, Et Cetera. She is an active member of the writing group Wicked Wordsmiths of the West and WV Writers. Follow her at on Facebook at, on Twitter @marbleswords.

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