Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wayne's girl signs £2 million book deal

I had a quick look at the Writers News forum this morning, as I often do, and noticed among the most recent posts, a story about Coleen McLoughlin signing a £2 million deal with publisher Harper Collins to write 5 novels.

Further investigations led me to the Mail on Sunday website, which features a story about said deal, headlined 'Wayne's girl signs £2 million book deal'. According to the article, the deal is not yet signed or sealed, but Coleen is still in negotiations. The article goes on to state that a source close to the couple (Coleen and fiance Wayne Rooney) stated that "Coleen is really excited about getting down to the work of writing these books for the same publishers that Wayne is working with. It is great because she will be writing books about fashion and celebrity lifestyle. It seems that she has been given a deadline for them first to be ready to be published later this year."

That is a tall order, since we are already halfway through October, and I don't think that a publisher would or even could work this quickly. It takes three months for even a POD to go through the different stages of cover design, editing and proof reading, checking and making corrections to the proofs, approving final proofs, registering ISBN etc, and most in fact all commercial publishers, like to start sending out advance review copies and hyping a book at least 6 - 9 months before it hits the shops. I think they must mean before the end of next year, 2008 rather than this one.

In any case though, you can bet your bottom dollar (or pound since this is England!) that Coleen herself will not be writing one single word of any of these books. I mean, I know she has a regular column in Closer magazine, which has supposedly resulted in many more sales for said magazine, but if you have a look at this any time (I only look at such things when I am waiting to get my teeth filled in you understand) then it is not exactly what I would call writing ....

It is all so called fashion and lifestyle tips. And this from the so called 'Queen of chav' ....

Well, I suppose it takes all sorts, but seriously what a sad indictment this is of our modern society in that this is what people really want to read, and that a publisher of the calibre of Harper Collins is prepared to chuck this obscene amount of money at such a project.

Of course the critics would say that they are only responding to public demand, since these books do sell in huge amounts of numbers, and certainly this is not the first book she has 'written' since her autobiography has been out there for some time and selling quite nicely thank you. My point is though that this girl, for that is what she is, has no obvious talent, and has done precious little from what I can tell in her own right. She is famous for being the girlfriend of someone else who is famous - and really and truly, what has he done either. My Dad always used to say that he didn't understand what all the fuss was about football, it was only a bunch of men kicking a ball about ....

I have been thinking about this all day long, and maybe I have been looking at it the wrong way. Coleen may not be quite as stupid as we think .... Apparently she left school with 10 GCSE's - including an A star in performing arts. She also does an awful lot of charity work, especially for Retts syndrome, a genetic disorder that her little sister Rosie suffers from. In fact she presented a programme with Trevor McDonald on this very cause just recently.
She has I hear recently been signed by ITV to do a series of other programmes, as they were so impressed by the way that she handled herself. These include a programme where she scours the streets looking for real women who are then given bona fide modelling jobs from which the traditional stick thin size zero models are banned. Given Coleen's high profile in the celebrity mags and gossip columns this is the sort of thing that could just make a very big difference to the lives of a lot of young women, not to mention their families.
There is definitely more to this girl than meets the eye, and I cannot help feel that the public have misjudged her. She was after all a teenager when fiance Wayne Rooney first shot to fame, and so has had to grow up in the public eye, which cannot have been easy for any girl. All teenagers go through that gawky phase where they are finding their style and what works best for them, but Coleen had to do this in public, and was ridiculed until quite recently in fact for pretty much everything that she wore.
The ugly duckling though has turned into a beautiful and self assured swan who does not need to rely on Wayne's money, for she has plenty of her own. Coleen is reported to be worth a cool £6 million thanks to the deal with ITV, her books, the regular column in Closer magazine and a series of advertising deals.
As Layla Smith, Controller of Alternative Series at ITV said: ‘She’s someone who’s found huge recognition and yet remained completely grounded and true to herself'. That is a very rare thing in this celebrity obsessed world that we live in.
It seems to me though on reading up a little about Coleen's life, that this is a bit like a modern day fairy tale, and maybe that is the appeal. Girl grows up in rough area of Liverpool, meets boy from same rough neighbourhood and falls in love. Boy grows up to become talented footballer and earns pots of money. Girl and boy get engaged, buy huge mansion and live happily ever after, except not quite, as like any young couple, Wayne and Coleen have had their share of ups and downs.

This though is part of the appeal, the fact that they have risen above all this and stayed happy and very much together. People these days though, especially young women are looking for an escape from their own humdrum and boring lives and routine, and so grow to idolise girls like Coleen who have managed to escape from all this. It doesn't matter how she managed to do it, only that she has and personally I say good luck to her. It brings hope to these young women that they may too some day meet their footballing prince who will whisk them off to their own mansion in the Cheshire suburbs ....

In the meantime though, I am considering placing an ad in the Times which reads, 'Wanted, one rich footballer to marry aspiring author' .....

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