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firehorse
03-21-2005, 09:02 AM
Hi all,

I keep hearing about this 'publishers' dirty secret' and it's freaking me out. Am I not going to get an agent/publisher/book tour because I'm not a Hollywood babe?

I just posted on another thread that I've battled eating disorders and body image issues my whole life. Now I'm freaking out, not only worrying whether my book is good enough and will sell, but also whether I'm too fat to be a writer?! How pathetic is it that I even have to think about that?

So here's my question: does anyone know the extent to which this mantra is used? Does it really determine which books get more support? Which agents/publishers are more looks-conscious than others?

-Sarah

sgtsdaughter
03-21-2005, 09:17 AM
i would say that you do not have to look like a hot tamale to sell books. granted some authors shake the tree more than most, but think about it . . . of the big names out there how many really make you drool? that is in thier physical appearance--not for writing sales and such.

and granted, i am new to the game--so to speak--but the talks i'm in aren't focusing on my looks. which is good, because right now i've got a doo rag and nasty old sweater on. i'm looking pretty shaggy, but wait this happens to be my normal attire. :ROFL:

cheers and be hopeful . . . focus on the writing first and then handle the little stuff.

Annessa
Pitfalls Between Nightfall and Daybreak

Betty W01
03-21-2005, 09:20 AM
I don't know about the book world, but I do know what recently happened to me. I've been writing regularly for several years for a local publishing company that has a kind of young, edgy tone to its publications. They'd never seen me or met me until November, when they called a series of meetings with all their freelance staff. I had a nice long talk with the editor I'd been working with, pitched him several ideas he seemed really excited about - and I haven't gotten one assignment from him since. I haven't even gotten response to my e-mails.

In fact, I still haven't gotten paid for a restaurant review I did six months ago that they haven't run yet (neither pay, nor reimbursement.) I have done a lot of work for him in the past that he said he was very happy with, including pulling a review out of a hat at the last minute to help him out once or twice and doing an interview at the last minute another time when a reporter got sick, and he's always been great to work with. The only thing that changed, as far as I can tell, is that now he knows I'm older than all the rest of the staff and not thin and sexy and hip. <sigh>

jdkiggins
03-21-2005, 09:23 AM
Hi all,

I keep hearing about this 'publishers' dirty secret' and it's freaking me out. Am I not going to get an agent/publisher/book tour because I'm not a Hollywood babe?

So here's my question: does anyone know the extent to which this mantra is used? Does it really determine which books get more support? Which agents/publishers are more looks-conscious than others?

-Sarah

If that's the case, I may as well stop line editing my manuscript and quit working on a query and synopsis. :Hammer: That's a horrible thought that looks could outweigh the material.

It's past midnight here and my eyes are getting bloodshot, so with your news in mind, I'm going to go get some beauty sleep.

Joanne

jdkiggins
03-21-2005, 09:30 AM
The only thing that changed, as far as I can tell, is that now he knows I'm older than all the rest of the staff and not thin and sexy and hip. <sigh>

OK. One more before I put on my cucumber mask. That's awful, Betty. I say we "older" writers protest. Now, do we get on our :Soapbox: or do we raise our :flag: ?????

Joanne

maestrowork
03-21-2005, 09:42 AM
In the perfect world, I'd say no. A lot of best selling authors are not very attractive. Unlike movies or TV, people buy your books not because you're cute. And I'd say a lot of good looking writers can't push their books at all -- because their books suck...

That said, I think in the real world, studies do show that good-looking, younger people have an advantage over older or not as attractive people. A lot of times it's subtle but if you're observant, you can see it. Do attractive authors sell more books than had they been less attractive? I don't know. John Grisham and JK Rowling are very photogenic. On the other hand, Stephen King looks scary.

So who knows?

firehorse
03-21-2005, 09:43 AM
I don't know about the book world, but I do know what recently happened to me. I've been writing regularly for several years for a local publishing company that has a kind of young, edgy tone to its publications. They'd never seen me or met me until November, when they called a series of meetings with all their freelance staff. I had a nice long talk with the editor I'd been working with, pitched him several ideas he seemed really excited about - and I haven't gotten one assignment from him since. I haven't even gotten response to my e-mails.

In fact, I still haven't gotten paid for a restaurant review I did six months ago that they haven't run yet (neither pay, nor reimbursement.) I have done a lot of work for him in the past that he said he was very happy with, including pulling a review out of a hat at the last minute to help him out once or twice and doing an interview at the last minute another time when a reporter got sick, and he's always been great to work with. The only thing that changed, as far as I can tell, is that now he knows I'm older than all the rest of the staff and not thin and sexy and hip. <sigh>

Have you confronted him? I'm curious what he'd say if you showed him the message he is conveying with his lack of attention. He'd have to own up, if not to you than (one would hope) at least to himself. I'm never good at confrontation, but if this is the trend, I think it's important to speak up and not let editors/publishers get away with it.

Sadly, I think this is also predominantly an issue for women. Men have more latitude in their appearance, though they're certainly not exempt from the issue.

I used to ghostwrite for a supermodel (and also for a pop star who is mentioned elsewhere on these boards); I designed her website and wrote most of it. I always got a kick out of sitting in my sweats, my cat on my lap, appreciating the discrepancy between the image I was projecting in writing and the real me at the keyboard. When I met her, I could feel her disgust. Of course, I think I registered about as much in her mind as a gnat.

I wonder if she'd be willing to stand in for me? Ghost-face my book? ;) Between her name, her reputation and her looks, it would certainly sell well.

The whole idea is just so wrong. What if Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf had to bear such scrutiny? I want to be judged on my words. At the very least, if a publisher wants me to look great, they could hire me a personal trainer and chef :D

jdkiggins
03-21-2005, 09:47 AM
I was thinking the same thing about King. Well, heck, I'm a horror writer, I'll just send a pic of when I was 30. :roll:

Joanne

sgtsdaughter
03-21-2005, 09:50 AM
king was who i was thinking of when i made my post. truely a frightening looking guy.

MacAllister
03-21-2005, 10:14 AM
King is just kind of goofy looking. Dean Koontz? I could take him more seriously before he got the bad toupee.

As far as women...Barbara Kingsolver doesn't have a pic on her website. She was born in 1955, so she probably isn't a supermodel. Robin Hobb lives out in my neck of the woods. She's a perfectly normal, pleasant looking human being: Like someone who'd live next door and you'd never suspect she was a *gasp* writer, just from looking at her.

I honestly, really truly don't ever remember picking a book up, looking at the author's picture, and having it sway my book-buying decision one way or the other.

Perhaps I'm just naive--but I really don't think it's a big deal. Although, standard good hygiene and grooming probably matters, if you're going to deal with the public a lot...:)

sthrnwriter
03-21-2005, 01:24 PM
I haven't written any books but a lot of authors aren't all that good looking (stephen King for example). I'm sure publishers put more emphasis on writing talent than what the author looks like. I'm young and frankly, I'm no beauty queen or anything. I'm to the point now that I don't care. I take care of myself as well as love who I am and you should too, Sara. If a publisher or editor turns your work down cuz you aren't gorgeous, well thats bad business for them.

As for the eating disorders and body image issues, I never dealt with eating disorders personally but I did have body image issues for a while. So if you need someone to talk to, feel free to send me a message or email me anytime.

mistri
03-21-2005, 02:15 PM
Publishers aren't going to reject a great book because of the way the author looks. If an author is particularly young and attractive, I guess they could see their appearance as an extra marketing tool, but that's about it, I think.

SRHowen
03-21-2005, 02:49 PM
At one time I read an article, can't remember where, that publishers didn't want books from older writers because they wanted writers who had a lot of books in them. I've also heard the idea of looks sell books.

funny, my agent didn't want the picture I used to use in my posts--he said it made me look like a stripper and he wanted something more serious. So I have skipped the picture.

I'm not a serious type person--really.

Shawn

jdkiggins
03-21-2005, 06:32 PM
OMG, I woke up with more wrinkles than I had yesterday. What to do? What to do?

I've seen author pictures on book jackets presenting a very lovely younger face or handsome gentleman, but it's not their picture that entices me to read their book. If the book is written by a new author, the words inside the book jacket are what draw my intersest. I can't think of one right this minute, but there are a few authors out there that use pictures from younger days. I have to go check out my bookcases to find them.

No big deal to me, if my book is accepted for publication, I want it to be accepted for its content, not my face. :)

Joanne

firehorse
03-21-2005, 07:45 PM
Points taken, but we are a select group. Of course we're not going to buy a book based on the author photo; I'm referring to the trend by publishers.

And Stephen King is a scary-looking dude. Never seen a photo of Dean Koontz.

aka eraser
03-21-2005, 09:00 PM
I've never heard this theory. I've purchased thousands of books in my lifetime and nary a one was based on how the writer looked.

Agents and publishers want to make money. They're interested in writers who produce salable books, not looks.

Betty W01
03-21-2005, 09:04 PM
Frank walks the talk, too. His fishing book is full of pictures of himself!

(Just finished it last night, Frank. You did the impossible - you made me wonder if I should go out fishing this summer... you about have me believing that even I might be able to actually catch a fish!)

rhymegirl
03-21-2005, 09:17 PM
Sarah,

What I was going to say has been echoed here already.

Stephen King is a perfect example of an unattractive author. And yet, the guy sells novels. Heck, he's even IN some of the movies based on his novels.

I wouldn't sweat the looks thing. I think of writing as a behind-the-scenes activity. Be proud of what you write, that's what matters.

I visited your website, by the way, and you look fine to me!

awatkins
03-21-2005, 09:22 PM
Well, I happen to think that we are a fine looking bunch of people, and very talented writers, too! :)

Just don't ask to see my picture. . .

Julie Worth
03-21-2005, 09:23 PM
I've never heard this theory. I've purchased thousands of books in my lifetime and nary a one was based on how the writer looked.

The writerís photo shouldnít be on the book if it doesnít add to the overall effect. Itís just another part of marketing. Would you buy a book on self-healing if the author looked like Charles Manson? Or a book of retirement advice by a kid with a silver nose ring?

Richard
03-21-2005, 09:26 PM
"WARNING: Actual author may be less attractive than photo."

firehorse
03-21-2005, 09:29 PM
"WARNING: Actual author may be less attractive than photo."

:roll: :roll: :roll:

SRHowen
03-21-2005, 09:35 PM
The writerís photo shouldnít be on the book if it doesnít add to the overall effect. Itís just another part of marketing. Would you buy a book on self-healing if the author looked like Charles Manson? Or a book of retirement advice by a kid with a silver nose ring?

And the trend is to make the author look like the main character in the book, at least in the detective/mystery novel genre.

Shawn

Julie Worth
03-21-2005, 09:37 PM
Never seen a photo of Dean Koontz.


Dean Koontz:

With rug, sans mustache. (http://www.koontz.dk/images/DeanKoontz.jpg)
With mustache, sans rug. (http://www.simplyaudiobooks.com/images/dean_koontz.gif)

Richard
03-21-2005, 09:37 PM
I can think of no better way to deal with writers who persistently vomit up Mary Sues than to hand them the blonde wig, lollipop and make them put their ego where their mouths are.

firehorse
03-21-2005, 09:49 PM
I can think of no better way to deal with writers who persistently vomit up Mary Sues than to hand them the blonde wig, lollipop and make them put their ego where their mouths are.
Umm... What are Mary Sues?

ChunkyC
03-21-2005, 09:54 PM
Some people (I have no idea who) think Pamela Anderson is good looking. Even if I thought she was the most beautiful woman alive (I don't), I wouldn't touch her book with an eleven foot pole.

My favorite author of all time is Isaac Asimov. I doubt he sold any of his 500+ books because of his looks. Then again, as mentioned above, in some genres it might jar potential readers to see an author who doesn't fit the image of their writing. An example of that is Jack Nicholson's character in the movie As Good as it Gets. Would readers buy a romance novel with that face on it?

Wandering Sensei
03-21-2005, 10:12 PM
And the trend is to make the author look like the main character in the book, at least in the detective/mystery novel genre.

Shawn

If that's true, then maybe I should be photographed in my gi, since my main character is a martial artist, too.

Actually, I don't even want my photo on the dust jacket. I hope they don't insist on it (assuming I ever SELL anything). Maybe I can sub a picture of my cat. As far as cats go, he's a real dish: gorgeous, active, athletic, refined, tall, well-muscled. (He's a 17-pound grey Maine Coon with a tabby face.)

SRHowen
03-21-2005, 10:31 PM
I've seen cats on dust jackets--and the words the author lives with this cat. In that case a picture of my Bobcat would be great.

Shawn

MacAllister
03-21-2005, 10:45 PM
Umm... What are Mary Sues?

A longer explanation can be found here. (http://www.ottawa.net/aldowdall/ld/marysue.html)

Basically, a Mary Sue is a fan created character, usually representing the author, with a story built around it.

"Mary Sue" is a term that originated with fanfic, meaning essentially a character representing the author, that is written into a story specifically as a kind of wish/fantasy fulfillment. :)

*We now return to our regularly scheduled discussion*

mommie4a
03-21-2005, 10:54 PM
I've been to one writer's conference and through a former work colleague, I've met an honest to goodness NYC agent. My eyewitness observation is that their appearances range as much as ours do. Knowing that helps me stay calm about whether my appearance would matter or not (and think support my hope that it matters way less than my writing).

I think that, so long as writers don't have to be on MTV, our physical attributes can be non-issues, except for those agents and publishers who rely on finding writers who have or can grow big "platforms" or fan bases. When she has time, I bet Jenna (and I'm sure other author/board members) can say more from personal experience about that.

SRHowen
03-21-2005, 11:02 PM
:Smack: gahhd--I was thinking "shoes" those are Mary Janes.

Shawn

jdkiggins
03-21-2005, 11:17 PM
And the trend is to make the author look like the main character in the book, at least in the detective/mystery novel genre.

Shawn

Oh my, then my author photo will look like road kill. :ROFL:

Joanne

Wandering Sensei
03-21-2005, 11:53 PM
I went to a writer's conference a year or so ago, that had a nice dinner Saturday night. You could almost tell the different genres by what the ladies wore to dinner. The romance novelists wore fancy dresses, very elegant, some a bit low cut. The mystery writers tended to wear suits or more conservative attire. The fantasy/sf writers? Jeans, denim, casual stuff. I guess that's all they had other than the Star Wars/Lord of the Rings costumes they usually wear to conventions.

:hat:

(And before anyone gets a good head of steam going, I'm a f/sf writer. But no, I didn't wear denim. I wore a suit. But then I also write mystery as well.)

Sarita
03-22-2005, 12:21 AM
(He's a 17-pound grey Maine Coon with a tabby face.)

I love Maine Coons! One of my good friends offered to dress in drag for me so that he could be on my dust jacket, providing I ever have one. He's a very pretty boy!

:D

maestrowork
03-22-2005, 12:48 AM
Some people (I have no idea who) think Pamela Anderson is good looking. Even if I thought she was the most beautiful woman alive (I don't), I wouldn't touch her book with an eleven foot pole.


But CC, Jenna Jameson's book How to Make Love Like a Porn Star is pretty good, and she's gorgeous.

;)

Wandering Sensei
03-22-2005, 12:48 AM
Saritams, if that's you in your avatar picture, I think you're quite photogenic.

The mysteries I'm working on do involve cats, so it wouldn't be totally off the wall.

Sarita
03-22-2005, 12:59 AM
Saritams, if that's you in your avatar picture, I think you're quite photogenic.

Thanks! That's me :)

firehorse
03-24-2005, 07:32 PM
I read something on another thread that made me think I should post this. I didn't want to link to it, because the Post makes you register before you read.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Judged by Their Back Covers
Writing Well Helps Sell a Book, and Photographing Well Doesn't Hurt

By Linton Weeks
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 2, 2001; Page C01

True story: A bestselling writer got a call from a friend. The friend knew a woman who had written a novel and was looking for an agent.
The bestselling writer sent the novel to his agent. The agent passed it on to a publisher.

The publisher liked the manuscript and wanted to buy it. But first, the publisher asked the agent to ask the best-selling writer just one teensy-eensy-weensy question about the neophyte novelist.

The question was this: How does she look?

When the best-selling writer heard about the question, he was "flabbergasted and disgusted."

Looks sell books. It's a closed-doors secret in contemporary American publishing, but the word is leaking out. Not that you have to resemble Denzel Washington or Cameron Diaz, but if you can write well and you possess the haute cheekbones of Susan Minot, the delicate mien of Amy Tan or the brooding ruggedness of Sebastian Junger, your chances are much greater.

New York Newsday painted Alice McDermott as "a jean-jacketed 5-foot-2 with a perky smile, a ready laugh and a pretty face." The "photogenic good looks" of Michael Chabon, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, "occasioned no little gnashing of teeth among his contemporaries."

Paul Bogaards, executive director of publicity at Knopf, stresses that good writing is still the most important aspect. But with some books, he says, "television is a medium you're going to have to communicate through. Sometimes how an author looks plays into that. Are viewers going to warm to that author? Are they going to believe in the message?"

Looking fine on television, says Lolita Files, whose fourth novel, "Child of God," will be published in August, "is something that publishers look at now. It's not just about words on the page."

She recently received an e-mail from a man who said he had picked up one of her books and seen the back cover. He was writing to her, he said, "wanting to connect. I'm now about to read your book."
Files says: "Authors today have to be salespeople. They have to be sexy, give off something that makes people want to know something about them."

The clamor for glamour has grown as highly competitive bookstores vie for author appearances and readings and signings. Skin-deep beauty not only keeps certain writers on perpetual book tours, it can help at any stage of the process.

If you want to see some attractive folks, open up the New Yorker's recent summer fiction issue. Four short stories with four author photos. Handsome young "Friends"-esque men; stylish young "Sex and the City"-type women. Erika Krouse, author of the recently published "Come Up and See Me Sometime," is wearing a bright red spaghetti-strap dress and sandals.

Her New Yorker short story, "The Husbands," begins: "I like to sleep with other women's husbands."

Krouse pays attention to what writers look like. Once you've seen them, she says, "you can put a face to a voice. It makes more people curious about the story."

The New Yorker photos "contribute to the culture of authors being good-looking or young in order to receive attention," Don Lee, editor of the literary review Ploughshares told the New York Observer. "That's the aspect I find of it that's a little bit disturbing."

There was a time when many readers didn't know what writers looked like. Judged on the Bo Derek scale, scads of great authors would have come up sub-4. The trout-eyed Samuel Pepys, for instance. Or the foal-faced Virginia Woolf. Can you imagine the steely stare of Gertrude Stein on the back of a big-hype dust jacket today? Not likely.
These days "you can turn a sinner into a saint with Photoshop," says Bogaards. "This happens in almost every entertainment industry -- a wrinkle here, a dimple there, a hair."

John Searles, book editor at Cosmopolitan, learned about the nefarious netherworld of dust-jacket pix when he posed for a photo for his own novel, "Boy Still Missing." He wrote about his experience for the New York Times.

He had always thought of himself as "geeky" and "pimply-faced," he said. "It's weird suddenly to be told by my publisher that I'm an attractive face."

While on book tours he ran into other "young authors who said they had been through similar experiences. A lot of the better-looking ones."

Says freelance publicist Camille McDuffie: "If the author's great-looking, we've got a better shot at Glamour or GQ."
Or the New Yorker. "It's the book-jacket principle," New Yorker fiction editor Bill Buford explained to the Observer about the summer fiction photos. "It's introducing a magazine reader to someone whose work you didn't know before."

Such exposure doesn't always sell a lot of books, but it does sell other exposure. Eventually, a magazine or a C-SPAN video or some other pay-attention-to-me item from the multimedia menu is going to cross the desk of Don Imus or Katie Couric.

While it's been pointed out by some that it helps to be good-looking to do just about any out-in-public job, more and more writers -- traditionally shy, solitary figures -- are catching on to the game.
Unpublished novelist Jonathan Hermann of Washington, for instance, is plotting a way to grab the attention of an agent.

"I am planning a personality shot," he says. "I want to send a black-and-white photo of myself sitting on the edge of the bed. In the bed will be two naked mannequins, 'asleep,' as if we just finished having sex. I will be naked, with the sheets strategically placed, smoking a cigarette, and on my chest in bold block letters will be the words 'Henry Miller Is God.' "

Sometimes, Bogaards says, "it's not so much the subjective good looks versus bad looks. It's looking the part."

A writer has to have a story to tell, publishers say. If a book or a novel is not autobiographical, the writer has nothing to talk to Bryant or Diane about. Tawni O'Dell, whose novel "Back Roads" was anointed by Oprah Winfrey for her book club, had a sexy back story. "All my life I have struggled," she was quoted several times as saying, "with this particular identity crisis: being an educated woman living in a stripper's body and saddled with a biker chick's name."

Erika Krouse is asked if her New Yorker short story is autobiographical. No way, she laughs. "I've never even slept with anyone's boyfriend. But people do come up to me and say, 'Stay away from my husband.' "

And whatever happened to the neophyte-writer friend of the best-selling author?

"She wound up getting the deal," the writer says.

No word on whether there was a book tour.

SRHowen
03-24-2005, 07:44 PM
that's it--the article I was thinking of.

Shawn

Lady Brick
03-24-2005, 07:50 PM
Arg, I hadn't heard that at all about prose writers. I do know that being young and attractive is a help when seeking a screenwriting agent, but I thought that was just the Hollywood mentality bleeding through.

SRHowen
03-24-2005, 08:20 PM
Guess I need a diet, and age reduction, and--oh hell with it. I'll just find a photo stand in. LOL

A more Indian looking Indian. ROFLMAO A hollywood Indian--yup.

Shawn

ChunkyC
03-24-2005, 08:32 PM
Okay everybody, over to the 'health' thread! Maybe we can get bulk pricing on oil of olay and botox.

Seriously, there's certainly something to the argument that we writers play a bigger role in marketing our work than ever before. Yet it probably won't really matter if we look like Jennifer Anniston or Brad Pitt as long as we present ourselves to the world properly. A nice clear photo for the book jacket. Wearing clothes that don't look like they were bought at goodwill and that fit you well. Also in a style that reflects what you write. By that I don't mean alien costumes for sf writers or chainmail g-strings for fantasy/romance crossovers, but for example like one poster noted above about a conference they attended, the romance writers tended to wear nice, sometimes flirty clothing.

No matter what your physical attributes are, you can choose to market yourself as well as your writing if you believe it will enhance your career.

SRHowen
03-24-2005, 09:06 PM
Hmm, well see I like this one of me. My agent says it makes me look like a stripper, too playful.

LOL

Think he is thinking more along the lines of native regalia--not too much gray shows in this one, and hey not too bad for mid--umm, well later 40's

http://i.xanga.com/SRHowen/ME.jpg

jdkiggins
03-24-2005, 10:00 PM
Nice pic, but wait a minute, haven't we all been calling you Shawn?

jdkiggins
03-24-2005, 10:02 PM
Okay everybody, over to the 'health' thread! Maybe we can get bulk pricing on oil of olay and botox.

:roll: Good points Chuck.

Wandering Sensei
03-24-2005, 10:11 PM
I am SO doomed. That's it. I am definitely putting a picture of my cat on the book.

I am NOT photogenic. Never was. Even less so after age, weight gain, and a car accident. (Don't ask.) I don't think more than three photos have been taken of me in the past ten years, and a couple of those were accidental.

jdkiggins
03-24-2005, 10:28 PM
Ignore my question, Shawn. Just saw the answer in the Idol thread. No offense. Hope none was taken. Anyway, it IS a very nice picture and for later 40's, I'd say you're looking well. :)

jdkiggins
03-24-2005, 10:30 PM
Think he is thinking more along the lines of native regalia--

I'd loan you mine, but you're much younger and prettier. Afraid my pic in regalia shows my age way too much. LOL

SRHowen
03-25-2005, 07:22 AM
LOL--don't worry, a lot of people think I am male-- on BB's anyway.

And my own regalia, well, I look like the short fat Cherokee that I am. LOL Main female character in my latest book is a homeless woman wearing jeans, a flannel shirt and army boots--with a knit cap on her head--now that I could do.

Shawn

jdkiggins
03-25-2005, 08:07 AM
I understand that. My Cherokee Tear Dress makes me look 20 months pregnant. And since I had two surgeries in two months last year, I've got a bit of altering to do. Went from 135 to 90 pounds, now it's three inches too long and way to bulky under my sash. Didn't make it to any Pow Wows last year since I was in a neck collar and back brace for two months. But I'm hoping this year is better. :)

arrowqueen
03-25-2005, 05:56 PM
Oh dear. I believe that in the golden days of Hollywood, aging movie stars were photographed through muslin. I think I've reached the stage where I need to be photographed through linoleum!

I think Jenna has a great career ahead of her as a stand-in for those less blessed in the 'cover girl' department!

SRHowen
03-26-2005, 12:19 AM
I understand that. My Cherokee Tear Dress makes me look 20 months pregnant. And since I had two surgeries in two months last year, I've got a bit of altering to do. Went from 135 to 90 pounds, now it's three inches too long and way to bulky under my sash. Didn't make it to any Pow Wows last year since I was in a neck collar and back brace for two months. But I'm hoping this year is better. :)

LOL--you're Oklahoma Cherokee. I'm Eastern Band, Wild Potato clan, or Bear clan depending on which relative you speak to.

Shawn

jdkiggins
03-26-2005, 12:26 AM
Just curious, Shawn, what makes you say Oklahoma Cherokee?

SRHowen
03-26-2005, 03:16 AM
I have cousins in OK who wear the Tear dress, different style amoung the eastern Bands--least there was 7 years ago. (been that long since I have been to a Pow Wow in NC.)(lived in Germany almost 5 years and in Texas 3 now) So it was my assumption (I may be wrong wrong wrong) (won't be the first time) that you were OK Cherokee.

Shawn

jdkiggins
03-26-2005, 04:20 AM
Don't worry, Shawn. No harm. No offense. Eastern Band, wolf clan. Maybe itís good that I showed the picture I did, if we all stayed with true tradition, it may have been offending to some. I would have been in a wrap around skirt with no top. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/images/smilies/smile.gif I donít normally differentiate eastern or western because Cherokee are all one nation. The sun rises and begins the day in the east; sets and ends the day in the west.

If you havenít been to a pow wow lately, youíd be surprised at what "styles" enter the circle. Good luck with your book, Shawn.

Lisamer
07-29-2006, 12:15 AM
Oh now you went and got me all nervous! I am about 10lbs. heavier ( due to time out from an ACL tear) and five years older from when these pictures were taken. Although a fitness pro all of my life, I never managed to become a twig. Would you buy a ski-fitness book from me? Answer now, since I need to turn in my manuscript on Monday! Help!! Where is Glamour Shots when you need them???

http://skifitness.net/pictures.html

Celia Cyanide
07-29-2006, 12:24 AM
Relax, you guys. This is obviously not true. If it were, don't you think I would have a book deal by now? ;)

dclary
07-29-2006, 12:55 AM
I don't think it's a matter of looking great. It's a matter of looking "compelling."

Ugly people can make compelling subjects too.

Pomegranate
07-29-2006, 02:51 AM
. . .

Judged by Their Back Covers...

She recently received an e-mail from a man who said he had picked up one of her books and seen the back cover. He was writing to her, he said, "wanting to connect. I'm now about to read your book."

Now that is just disturbing. Sounds like she's gaining a stalker not a reader.

I never buy a book based on the author photo. My husband is a photographer and TAKES author photos, so I always check them out from professional curiosity, but that shouldn't be what sells the book.

Christine N.
07-29-2006, 04:03 AM
I think the best advice we all can get is find a good photographer. I believe a competent photog with portrait experience can make just about anyone look great. Right makeup, right costume, right lighting.

I let my sister take all my headshots. I was happy with the one I have on my website now, but my hair is different and I wanted one with a brighter shirt. She took some more recently, and since the first one my sister has taken more in-depth classes related to editing. So she's fixing them up for me.

I can't wait to see them. Do I care that I'm not model pretty? Nope. This is me, take what you get.

Maybe it doesn't matter so much with children's books.

badducky
07-29-2006, 07:18 AM
Someone hasn't been to the family album.

If only the authors were as beautiful as their children.

L M Ashton
07-29-2006, 08:08 AM
You know what I hate? Given a willing participant, I can take good pictures of anyone. But can anyone do the same for me?

Uh... No....

GPatten
07-29-2006, 08:44 AM
As if a publisher, or agent makes money on the looks of a writer instead of their writing? I think not. It helps a lot to be sociable in a book signing and have the ability to be interviewed on TV, or by a newspaper.

Stephen King may look scary, but one wants to sit a while and listen to him talk about anything. Iíd practice on skills such as that.

And I worry about a book signing because my penmanship resembles something out of the dark ages; because of my spelling I need a dictionary?

Itís pitiful we have these petty worries, but we do.

TwentyFour
07-29-2006, 08:55 AM
Well, from this thread I can honestly say I am glad I have the five b's--I'm a bleach blonde bimbo with big boobs

TwentyFour
07-29-2006, 08:59 AM
I did go for a signing to David Baldacci's novel "Wish You Well" and I can say he is very easy on the eyes and had I been less of a sweet innocent girl I might have said something more "UHHHHHHH I'm Jo.....(stupid laugh and blushing here)"

cree
07-29-2006, 09:26 AM
Go out to google images and take a glance at Joyce Carol Oates. Her list of published books is over 50, and then there's countless short stories...and she enjoys great respect and acclaim. I can keep going with other authors, but I'll only insult Joyce tonight. :) Oh wait, I'll insult Pulitzer-winning Annie Proulx too, since I've already gone down this foolish road. Every time you think you aren't pretty enough to write a book, recognize it as the excuse it is, take the keyboard away from the mirror, and write.

TwentyFour
07-29-2006, 09:54 AM
I seen some ugly men as writers...some are ugly bec. of age and wrinkles...others look like freaks...noone is immune to it...and I find the most successful ones are in fact...the ugliest at times.

aruna
07-29-2006, 10:09 AM
I
Looks sell books. It's a closed-doors secret in contemporary American publishing, but the word is leaking out. Not that you have to resemble Denzel Washington or Cameron Diaz, but if you can write well and you possess the haute cheekbones of Susan Minot, the delicate mien of Amy Tan or the brooding ruggedness of Sebastian Junger, your chances are much greater.

.

Great article, and it's true - in the UK too. While it;s true that good looks won't get you a deal for a bad book, and a good book won;t be turned down if you;re ugly - when it comes to marketing its a different story altogether, and its MARKETING that counts, and MARKETING is all about looks and being sexy and cool and hip. In today's market, that is. What;s more, the people who worked in marketing are al babes themselves and that's what they look for. They don't want old and saggy boobs. They are going to push the marketing dollars there where they can put forward a face, and that's the very sad truth.
The not-so-goodlooking older authors mentioned - Kingsolver and King etc - grew their readership before our time and once that's in place looks truly don't matter. But you can;t get around the fact that the marketing people - and thus editors - love good looks and youth. That's where they put their money, those are the authors they want to promote. Us old fogeys are left to our own designs.

But don't let it discourage you. I don't care. That is, I do, but I don't. I have a thing about beating the odds and that's what we have to do, folks. Let's all waddle forward with out masterpieces, a bunch of fat old freaks, and show them a thing or two!

aruna
07-29-2006, 10:14 AM
I somehow can't believe that looks would play any part in what to me seems (now) the most crucial part: the acceptance letter. None of the publishers or agents I plan to submit to require a photograph with the submission. So, nobody will know what I look like before they accept me. Not that I consider myself hideous, or any such thing;) .

Exactly; it's the book that counts. But getting accepted is only the first part of the journey. You want sales, don't you? The marketing part of it is very dependent on looks, as I said above.

aruna
07-29-2006, 10:14 AM
I somehow can't believe that looks would play any part in what to me seems (now) the most crucial part: the acceptance letter. None of the publishers or agents I plan to submit to require a photograph with the submission. So, nobody will know what I look like before they accept me. Not that I consider myself hideous, or any such thing;) .

Exactly; it's the book that counts. But getting accepted is only the first part of the journey. You want sales, don't you? The marketing part of it is very dependent on looks, as I said above.