Monday, August 21, 2006

Say Cheese (Cake)

In the October issue of Writer’s Digest, Ron Hogan writes an interesting piece about the importance of being a photogenic author. While male writers are not immune from the necessity of being media-presentable, Hogan suggests that women authors perhaps bear the greater brunt of the pressures to be attractive.

Citing the recent New York Times Book Review list of supposed best fiction since 1980, which widely “ignored” women writers, Hogan wonders if attractive female authors stand a better chance than others of being recognized. While novelist Lisa Selin Davis (Belly) states in the article that “good looks can work to a writer’s advantage,” crime fiction’s own Laura Lippman (No Good Deeds) is quoted as saying, “It might get someone to pick up the book, but I’m not sure it can do much more than that.” (OK--who agrees with me that Lippman does not have to worry overly much about this?)

It seems that blockbuster authors are the only ones who really need to be concerned about their book jacket photos, according to Hogan. Literary agent Ginger Clark is quoted as saying, “the bigger the deal, the more it matters.” If you aspire to sell Harry Potter quantities of books, you may need to go beyond simple “clean and presentable” and aim instead for the “blonde bombshell” look. (Is that why Tara Moss, pictured above, is now “Australia’s #1 Crime Writer”?)

So which comes first, I wonder: the gym membership, or the dedication to writing a damn good book?

READ MORE:With Marisha Pessl, You Can’t Judge a Book by the Photo on the Cover,” by Dinitia Smith (The New York Times); “How Much Do Looks Matter?” by Jason Pinter (The Man in Black).

2 comments:

Yasser said...

interesting article; i remember i read something on the same topic 5 months ago in a newspaper after a book by a canadian author got published and apparently everybody was more interested in the looks of the person than the content of the novel.

JD Rhoades said...

OK--who agrees with me that Lippman does not have to worry overly much about this?)

Meeeeee!

She's a fox. In French she would be called "la renarde" and she would be hunted with only her cunning to protect her.
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