Saturday, January 30, 2010

J.D. Salinger—the Anti-Patterson

Rye_catcher I thought that, after writing a post on James Patterson--the top book marketer—that I’d write a short post on J.D. Salinger—the anti-promoter.

James Patterson and J.D. Salinger shared the same publisher: Little, Brown & Co. That’s all they seem to have had in common.

Salinger, famed writer of Catcher in the Rye, died Wednesday at the age of 91. He wrote four books; his last release was Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction (1963).

By all accounts, he was a man who loved writing. In 1999, Salinger’s neighbor claimed Salinger told him he had at least fifteen unpublished books in a safe at his house. Salinger’s former girlfriend said he wrote daily.

In 1974, Salinger told The New York Times: "There is a marvelous peace in not publishing. Publishing is a terrible invasion of my privacy. I like to write. I love to write. But I write just for myself and my own pleasure."

Salinger was a remarkable writer, but it’s easy for me to feel selfish as a reader and wonder why he didn’t care more about us—what books have we missed out on because of his intensely private nature?

I have similar feelings for Harper Lee. No other To Kill a Mockingbirds for us? Really? Please?

I’m a private person, myself. And an introvert. It is very difficult for me to gear myself up to do an appearance or go to a conference or workshop. But I see it as part of my job as a writer.

The job description of an author has definitely changed in the past twenty years. Unless you have a truly amazing talent, you really can’t get away with doing some form of promotion for your novel.

Readers are lucky they have Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird to read and enjoy. Maybe it’s just human nature that we want a little more.


A quick note to mention we're all lying about ourselves at Mystery Lovers' Kitchen today--and also giving one truth...but you'll have to pick out the truth from the lies! Hope you'll pop over: we're having fun today.