I'm a fan of Kinky Friedman, who is making his second bid to become governor of Texas in 2010, and who writes and performs such country classics as "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore."
Specifically, I'm a fan of Kinky's songs, not such a fan of his novels. That's not to negate the value of his books, only to note that they're not of a sort I prefer to read.
My favorite of Kinky's songs is "The People Who Read People Magazine." One verse goes: "If you're too New York for Texas, too Texas for L.A., you've been chasing trends like rainbow ends and you're always just a song away, if the White House wouldn't have you, play at every little honky tonk and bar, the good Lord made the heavens, but he never made a star. (chorus) It's the people who read People Magazine, it's the soap opry lovers, it's the home town bowling team ..."
Earlier in the song, we hear, "... if anyone should ask you, here's who I'm singing for. It's the people who read People Magazine ..."
Get it? It's the people who read People that make entertainers into stars. So that's who he's singing for. And writing for.
Which is a grim but crucial piece of wisdom for us writers: select the audience you're writing to, and consistently address that audience.
Kinky's a smart fellow. I may move to Texas so I can vote for him. But in his novels, he doesn't try to be smart. He sticks to entertaining, primarily by using his gift of humor, often to excess in my opinion. But I don't count. I'm not who he's writing for.