Meghan Markle is publishing her first book, “The Bench,” which is marketed seemingly as a children’s book but geared towards adults. It may be the first step in a new career for the former actress, who previously wrote the blog “The Tig.”
Her first published work has already been swiftly criticized by many, both for using her title “Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex” and for writing a book on the relationships between fathers and sons, when she has no relationship with her father and for contributing to the fracturing of her husband’s relationship with his father.
She’s also been called out for seemingly copying the work of another author, who also has a book about a child and a bench. It’s called “The Boy on the Bench,” and features a couple of similar illustrations, though the theme of the book appears different.
Author Corrinne Averiss dismissed accusations of similarities, but it would probably not benefit her much to push the issue either. Just ask the creators of “Kimba the White Lion,” a Japanese animation piece from the 1960s that bears a striking resemblance to Disney’s blockbuster “The Lion King.” Their case against the House of Mouse didn’t go anywhere.
But now it’s come out that Meghan has great ambitions when it comes to publications, wanting to write more including adult books.
Katie Nicholl, writing for Vanity Fair, is arguing that this book could be one of many for the former Hollywood C-lister.
“Meghan loves writing and she’s very good at it,” a source close to Meghan said. “She wanted to have a go at writing a children’s book first and depending on the success of this, there will be more. She is also keen to write books for adults too.”
Well, two issues here.
The first is that so far, the book isn’t doing so great. The price of the book has already been slashed down three dollars to £9.99 from £12.99 on Amazon and Waterstone. In the United States, only the audiobook is available on Amazon, and it’s trending at #2,174 in Audible Books. It is ranked higher in African American Stories for Children (#2), Family Life Fiction for Children (#17) and Children’s Black and African American Story Books (#42).
Given that the American, who continues to call herself a Duchess despite only living in the country for about two years, is narrating the book herself, it would seem like interest might be higher. Apparently not.
In the U.K. the book currently is trending at the #28 spot on Amazon, while HRH The Duchess of Cambridge’s book on the pandemic “Hold Still” is trending at #1. Ironically, when citing the book on the list only Christian Robinson’s name shows up on Meghan’s book, not her name or her title. It could be an alphabetical thing, but it’s rather telling as well. In comparison, the Duchess of Cambridge’s book is cited as being by her.
The other issue with the source mentioned by Katie Nicholl is that, well honestly, Meghan is not a great writer.
We’ve seen quite a bit of her writing, through The Tig blog posts, the Vogue Magazine guest editorial, “The Bench” and now other places, and she needs a good editor.
Like the speeches she gives, Meghan’s writing is overly descriptive and filled with word salad. That might work in something like poetry, but it’s not actually good writing.
Great and fantastic authors can convey emotion succinctly and clearly. There’s not a lot of fluff or extraneous words. I’ve generally found that writers that are overly descriptive and use a lot of words they don’t need are masking their deficiencies, as if putting more words on the page will make it better. Usually, it doesn’t.
That is my opinion, but it’s something that comes from personal experience. I make my living writing, and what I try to do more than anything else when I’m working on a piece and editing is trying to take a word or two out. Making the sentences tighter so that they read better to the audience. I’m a much better author than I used to be, that required a good editor and listening to their feedback. My writing is far from perfect, and you’ll definitely catch a typo or two in these blogs since I don’t currently have an editor, but I know my failings.
Before venturing into a writing career, I would strongly suggest that Meghan toss her thesaurus and focus on simply writing for clarity and conciseness, it will make her writing not only better but infinitely easier to read.
However, that would require listening to someone else, taking criticism and dealing with a lot of red marks on her drafts. Those are not Meghan’s strengths.
Photo from Pinterest.