In one year Ian Maclaren had the number one best selling book “Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush” and the number six book “The Days of Auld Lang Syne.” I am thinking you never heard of him or those books. I will explain shortly. The next year his book “Kate Carnegie and Those Ministers” was the seventh best selling book.
One of my favorite film scenes is the end of Patton, where George C. Scott as Patton is out walking his bulldog near a windmill. It is a long shot of Patton walking in the landscape, the voice over of Patton talking about a returning Roman emperor riding in a chariot in a parade where citizens on both sides of the road are cheering wildly. And Patton says, “And behind him, holding the golden crown was a slave, whispering in the emperors ear a reminder, ‘all fame is fleeting.’
The reason we do not remember Maclaren, except perhaps in Scotland, is that his books were on the best seller list in 1895 and 1896. Fleeting indeed.
You can say I am being unfair (1895!) and I won’t argue. But famous people from my era, the 1960’s, whom everyone knew, are merely names to new generations, names they have never heard.
So if you are a writer, especially an e-book self publisher, are you pursuing fame? It is only a temporary illusion as Maclaren can attest, as well as Harold Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Alastair Maclean, Irving Wallace, John McDonald, Marshall McLuhan, as well as others. I mention these writers because they were populist genre writers, except for McLuhan, for it was he who saw the future and wrote about the “medium being the message.” McLuhan can be seen in a brief hilarious scene in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.”
What does fame get you other than a mansion near a beach, an Italians sports car, hot models, tons of money, getting on all the talk shows, having one million followers on Twitter, $85,000 swag gifts at the Oscars, invitations to all the hip New York parties (more models), a summer chateau in the south of France, and inside track to all the latest technology like the next generation of the smart phone called the Mensa.
The more I think about it, fleeting is good.
For those of you who purchase my e-Books that help me get famous, I will invite you to my place in France and I will take you to the Cannes film festival. You journey starts with one or more purchases. Of course the more you purchase the longer your stay in France. Unless you want my Italian sports car. Take it, I’ll get another.
Cemetery Tales and other Phantasms: http://www.amazon.com/Cemetery-Tales-other-Phantasms-Nelson-ebook/dp/B00G9JND9Q/ref=la_B00EEVHN38_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394775492&sr=1-3