Being the “New” Someone

16 thoughts on “Being the “New” Someone”

  1. I’m with you on this one. Being me takes plenty of work. 😉

    Good point! I don’t have enough life left to practice well enough to be anyone else. 😉

  2. Can’t really relate to this topic through literature, but I can opine using my wealth of knowledge in English-language popular music.

    And that’s exactly what I hoped you’d do. 🙂

    It’s a marketing technique. Plain and simple.

    Yep. But is it a good one or a harmful one?

    Take a good long look at a British rock and roll combo called Badfinger. They were hailed as the new Beatles (because they sounded like the Beatles, were signed to the Beatles’ Apple Records and Paul had wrote a song for them.) Where are they now? Well, their one hit that wasn’t written by a Beatle is often rumoured to have been written by a Beatle, success never really happened for them having to fill such big shoes. One band member ended up taking his own life.

    Wow, do you really think his suicide was because they weren’t as successful as The Beatles? Or was it just because they weren’t successful, period? I don’t know this band, so I have nothing for knowledge base here.

    I think the “next” or “new” so-and-so tag hurts the artist in the long run. Columbia Records wanted to bill Springsteen as the “new Bob Dylan” but Bruce resisted. He didn’t want to do the singer-songwriter thing. He wanted to the band thing. Bruce won the argument. Now look at him. Fact is Columbia needed to replace Dylan because Dylan was becoming uncooperative and expensive and his sales were dropping. Bruce was younger, cheaper and frankly hungry, naive and blinded by the light of potential stardom. (See what I did there.)

    Bruce made a big, wise decision, it sounds like. I don’t think the tag is a helpful one, for anyone.

    What concerns me most, is who will be the next WhatIGotSoFar? Who can fill my shoes? Who can take charge when I hang up my keyboard? Is there an up-and-coming new blogger that can do what I have done?

    Sorry, they broke the mold. You’ll stand with Da Vinci and Michelangelo, alone and without peer.

  3. I don’t think I would like being compared to or heralded as the “next” or “new” anything. We are all individuals and should shine on our own and not be held up to a standard set by someone else.

    Well said! Bravo! I agree completely.

    That’s not to say that stating that someone is similar to someone else is fine, just means that they may have the same “flavor” but just as in ice cream, there are great flavors out there and the “WTF?” were they thinking.

    Yes, I wouldn’t mind being compared to Stephen King in my ability, craft, ability to horrify readers and scare them … these are compliments. Being the “new” or “next”? Nah. No thanks.

  4. I wouldn’t mind a comparison, as in “if you’re a fan of, then you’ll like” but I don’t want to be the “next” anybody. I would think that fans of the Original would be alienated and immediately set out to prove that statement wrong, which is the opposite of what the statement was meant to do.

    Good point. We not only have our own expectations to live up to as the “new” or “next”, we have the expectations of the fans of the original to please too. Hadn’t thought of that. I don’t think. Then again, I’m not the next Stephen Hawking either.

    However, I certainly wouldn’t quibble if said Original writer wanted to designate me as their successor … or even their equal. Or provide a jacket blurb. Or critique my manuscript. Or … 🙂

    …Or forward me their bankroll. 🙂

  5. As the song says, I just gotta be me. 🙂

    HAHAHAHA! Every time I hear that song, I think of that Gary Larson cartoon with the penguin standing up singing it in the middle of about a million other penguins! Great stuff!

  6. I prefer artists who are original enough to not be easily compared to others. Unless the critics go for a compound comparison: he’s like Stephen King combined with Dr. Seuss and a smidge of Robertson Davies. Now THAT would be an interesting author!

    Yes it would indeed. 😉 I like my greats, but I love originality too.

  7. I agree with Linda–if you like so and so, you might well like me! But the next/new thing is not good. I understand the marketing, but I think it is a mistake. But when you are unknown, marketing departments never think being yourself is good enough.

    I’ve wondered, since I wrote this post, if the author himself suggested he was the new King. I hope not. That’d be an awful box to put yourself into, and if he’s at best a mid-list author, he won’t have lived up to the hype at all. I’ve only read one of his books, but I gotta be honest, it wasn’t even CLOSE to Stephen King’s quality and prose or suspense.

    1. I doubt the author suggested. He’d have to have some ego to do that! I’m sure it was a marketing department thing. And if he is mid-list, he’d have no clout to argue with marketing. I’ve never really understood why anyone think it is a good idea anyway. If someone hate Stephen King, they won’t buy the book. If they love Stephen King, they’ll see that and say, “Oh really? Well we’ll just see about that.” Who knows? Maybe you’d have felt slightly better toward the novel if they hadn’t put King in your head. The book would still not be great, but you wouldn’t be thinking “arrogant pinhead” or some such either. And if someone doesn’t care one way or another about Stephen King, then why would this marketing help? It is lose-lose. But hey, I didn’t go to marketing school.

      I didn’t either. And you’re exactly right — they DID put King in my head. So all I could do was compare the two, and the author came up short. My wife tried to read it too, but she’s NOT a Stephen King fan (hasn’t read anything of his, I don’t believe). She also said it was bad. So I don’t feel too wrong or biased. I was doing the comparison though. 🙂

  8. I hate it when reviewers do that.

    It’s like trying to switch out my favourite blankie for a new one. I don’t want new. I want old and comfortable. I might be able to accept the new blankie on its merits someday, but as long as my old blankie is still functional, I don’t want “the next” blankie.

    Or I think they are saying, “This guy doesn’t have any ideas of his own so he’s a King knock-off”. Thanks, but I want to read the original not somebody who is trying to measure up.

    In my opinion it is the worst marketing ploy out there.

    I don’t think it worked too well here, either. I hope it never happens to me.

  9. I spent a good long part of my writing journey trying to get into print into horror magazines deliberately writing stories that sounded like the other writers there. I got a lot of encouraging rejection slips (and let me tell you that an encouraging rejection slip has roughly the same emotional value as a handjob from a mandril).

    Ha! I’m sure there’s not a lot of comfort in “nice” rejection letters, but if they’re personalized to tell you what’s wrong with them they can be helpful.

    There was a time when I would have loved to have been called the “Next Stephen King” or the “Next Clive Barker” or “Lovecraft without the ocky racism” but now I just like being “the Current Al Bruno III”

    That’s a great place to be in, Al. Don’t let the fact that you’re the third one bother you at ALL. (J/K, bro. 😉 )

  10. I wonder if it’s possible to find out how King was heralded when he started out? Was he the next or new anybody? or did they think he was, right out of the box, something they’d never seen before?

    Interesting idea. I don’t really know. I do know, however, many (MANY!) people in the industry have credited him with single-handedly reviving the American horror genre. So, I don’t think he came with a lot of comparisons, unless they were to people like Poe or something. I’m speculating, of course, but it seems hard to do that when the genre he was writing for was considered “dead” at the time.

    Like Linda and Marta, I wouldn’t mind if people said something like, “A fan of X? Then run, don’t walk, to buy JES’s new book…!” Or if a critic said “He writes like X, but with the sensibility and knack for plotting of Y.” (This presumes of course that both X and Y are, y’know, good. :))

    Heh — yeah, drawing those kinds of things are fine, I suppose. Especially the former. But I definitely find there’s a lot of debate about “good”, so the latter gets a little scary. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Nope, I wouldn’t want to be the “next” anyone. I’m still waiting for the next version of “me” to come along. It’s gotta be improved from this one. 😉

    Oh, I don’t know D — hard to improve on that kind of greatness. 😉 How ’bout duplicates so you can get more done?

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