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Breeding Contempt with Elvis April 3, 2010

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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My oldest sister recently told me about a good book she’d read, Me & Emma, by Elizabeth Flock. I read it and liked it, too, but a few scenes puzzled me. The back of the book listed an e-mail address for the author, so I sent her my questions. She responded promptly with a letter of explanation. This, from a New York Times bestselling author.

“That was really nice,” my sister said. “I’m surprised she’d take the time to do that.”

I appreciated the time Elizabeth Flock took to respond but wasn’t overly surprised. Authors are more accessible than they’ve ever been. Even the most famous allow for direct reader contact through their Web sites or social networks. 

I sometimes wonder if all of this accessibility builds an artist’s fame or limits it. I think about Elvis Presley and how carefully Colonel Tom Parker controlled his public image and access.  So few people saw into Elvis’s day-to-day life.  Would so many fans have been clamoring at the gates of Graceland had they been able to e-mail Elvis or chat with him on Facebook?

I have to believe the old saying “Familiarity breeds contempt” bears some truth. Inaccessibility can add to the allure and mystique of a person. It’s easy to be awed by people whose foibles you never see. And you’re less likely to see those foibles the less direct contact you have with them.

I may be in the minority, but I still haven’t signed up to receive tweets from Ashton Kutcher or President Obama. I’d really like to keep it a mystery what they ate for dinner.

But, as an author, I would like to know the effect increased accessibility has on fame. What do you think?

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Comments»

1. gravesok - April 14, 2010

Personally I find it fun to hear from authors. I was just telling a friend that I was so surprised to hear from a couple of authors that I had reviewed books from. Years ago when I wanted to contact an author it was always through the publisher and always via a form letter in return. But I also agree that there are things that we just don’t need to know outside of the context of the book that they have written. Anyone that is on the internet needs to practice care though, because there are those “stalkers” out there that do not need to know a persons every step. Practice care but still manage to maintain contact with the public. A fine line to follow hmmmm?

2. Ronica Stromberg - April 15, 2010

Yes, I’ve found that to be true. Stalkers are one of the main reasons I prefer blogging to tweeting. I’ve been planning to blog about that soon. Your timing is impeccable!


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