The last time I participated in a cyber-discussion on TNB in the comments section, I expressed my gratitude that authors, unlike actors or singers, don’t rely on appearances, and thus don’t have the same pressures—particularly those of needing plastic surgery to further their careers, specifically boob jobs. Besides, I offered, most writers aren’t that good looking.

 

 

A commenter disagreed, suggesting that plastic surgery might possibly help sell books. An author should do everything in his or her means to promote, including looking his or her best, whether through surgical enhancement or other means. Besides, boob jobs and plastic surgery are akin to braces and tattoos and teeth whitening and hair dye. A personal choice. Not a political one.

It got me thinking: If I got a breast lift, would I sell more books? If I lost ten pounds, would I be a better writer?

 

Recently I was on a panel titled “Getting Published” at the UCLA Writers’ Faire. My fellow panelist talked quite extensively about having a “platform.” A blog, Twitter, Facebook. A presence. These, she seemed to suggest, were more important than the writing itself. At the very least, without a platform, the writing, no matter how great, would remain unpublished.

It got me thinking: Do I need a blog, Twitter, and Facebook to be a better writer?

In other words, if I became more of a narcissist, and if my vanity increased, would my writing improve?

Nah.

I’ll probably gain ten pounds, let myself go, and stay off Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

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Victoria Patterson is the author of the novel This Vacant Paradise, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Drift, her collection of interlinked short stories, was a finalist for the California Book Award and the 2009 Story Prize. The San Francisco Chronicle selected Drift as one of the best books of 2009. Her work has appeared in various publications and journals, including the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Quarterly Review, and the Southern Review. She lives with her family in Southern California and teaches through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and as a Visiting Assistant Professor at UC Riverside.

137 responses to “Do Boob Jobs Sell Books?”

  1. Gloria says:

    Having stellar boobs won’t make you a good writer anymore than hiring a top-notch web designer will.

    That said, maybe there are certain types of books that would be better if the author were stacked like a set of Funk & Wagnalls. Like a book on erotica or the porn industry? A book on plastic surgery?

    As for social networking sites, I just think these are tools that can be used after a good writer has produced good writing. They’re business tools, like having an agent or going on a book tour. That’s my sense.

    Also, I think Virginia Woolf is lovely.

    • Yes, Virginia Woolf is lovely.

    • “Having stellar boobs won’t make you a good writer anymore than hiring a top-notch web designer will.”

      Well, no, but both might well, in the long run, help one sell more books…

      And in the end, what’s “good” anyway? Most of the writers so far mentioned downthread?

      It’s worth noting the panel Victoria mentioned was “Getting Published,” not “Improving Writing.” Does having a platform make one a better writer? No, sitting down and writing every day makes one better at it. But does sitting down and writing every day help one get published? Not if you’re not putting it out there, either by doing it yourself or submitting it.

      Being good looking didn’t really make Elvis or the Beatles better musicians, but it certainly helped them get attention and sell a lot of records.

      • Very true. But you have to sit down and write every day–for however long it takes–in order to produce work worthy of being published. I believe that the work is far more important than the platform. I suppose what I objected to was this sort of illusion that if you create this sort of fantastical outside, the actual content doesn’t matter. There was a sense of artificiality about what the panelist was saying. And it bothered me that all these people in the audience taking notes might go out and do these things and have nothing from it because they haven’t done the actual writing.

        • Between Dan Brown at one end and Jonathan Franzen on the other–or the Jersey Shore on one end and Michael Chabon on the other–“work worthy of being published” seems to have a ginormous range.

          Define publishing. Isn’t it just distributing information? Aren’t we technically publishing comments on a brief essay you published on the Nervous Breakdown.

        • I suppose you’re right. It depends on your intent.

        • Stefan Kiesbye says:

          Yeah, augmented boobs don’t make anyone better, but as pointed out already above, it’s not really about the quality of one’s writing. (If it were about quality, Dan Brown could have a Ron Jeremy-size implant and a George Clooney makeover and still not sell any books). But yes, it’s all about the marketplace and I recently went to a reading where the worst writer was also the best-looking, and received all of the attention. Looks help.

        • This is completely unrelated, but: Hi Stefan!

      • Gloria says:

        Well, no, but both might well, in the long run, help one sell more books…

        I think it depends on what the book is about, really. I just read on Yahoo! News that Stephen Hawking has written a new book. I couldn’t imagine a less attractive person – and yet I’m waiting with glee for the release of this book. But you don’t have to be sexy to be Stephen Hawking – because it’s his mind that I want to make slow sweet love to.

        As for everyone else who’s not a once-in-a-century genius, I think polish does help sell books. I mean, you can show up to a book reading in a bathrobe with bedhead and bad breath, but that’s unprofessional (though it’s a schtick that may work for some people – again, it all depends on context). And polishing yourself up (whatever that may look like for you) can help sell your books, for sure. And with marketing being such a small percentage of a book publisher’s budget, it doesn’t make sense not to do self-promotion. <—– and none of this matters if you’ve written shit. I think that’s the take home message.

        • Twilight: shit. Going Rogue: shit. Hooking up with Tila Tequila: shit. Never Fall in Love at the Jersey Shore: shit. Sarah Silverman, Pamela Anderson, and Paris Hilton: shit, shit, and shit. Palo Alto? Shit in the guise of ketchup randomness.

          Of course, you’re right so far as a few of them probably didn’t write their own shit, but otherwise?

  2. Zara Potts says:

    Interesting points, Victoria.

    However, I don’t agree that having and maintaining a Facebook page means you are automatically a narcissist.

    I think these days, Facebook is as a legitimate form of communication, as say the telephone is.
    I think these platforms are essential for writers, whether we like them or not. The way we communicate has changed, and to pretend otherwise is not going to change it.

    I think what is good about these sites is the way we can use them for different things. They can be whatever we want them to be. We can use them as much or as little as we like. We can use them as marketing tools, or personal spaces. We connect and engage and in some ways I really feel that the social networking sites have actually bought us closer.

    Plus, Facebook is a perfect place to show off the new boob job!!!

    • I agree. I have issues with FB and have openly admitted it. That said, I believe that FB encourages narcissism.

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/25/facebook-study-finds-narc_n_693719.html

      • Becky Palapala says:

        Having not followed the links all the way to the full study, it sounds like those people were narcissists to begin with.

        Like, I’m sure they were before they had facebook and would continue to be if they didn’t have one.

        All that article says is that narcissists exhibit certain tendencies in a given social context (facebook, in this case) which, to use a tired metaphor, is sort of like declaring that the sky is blue.

        It may give narcissists an outlet, but any communications advance would do that. Including the telephone and the printing press.

        As far as clinical narcissism goes, I don’t think it’s something you can catch from facebook. That said, I am not a shrink.

  3. Irene Zion says:

    Victoria,

    I hear tell that your face is perfection itself and you are 6 feet tall and willowy with unusually large breasts and a wasp waist, always wearing the couture line of the day and have teeny, tiny feet that are always wearing fancy Italian high heels.
    So?
    What are you complaining about?

  4. James D. Irwin says:

    An author’s boobs are as important as a porn actresses reading material.

    Of course I only read books written by men. Handsome, handsome men…

  5. James D. Irwin says:

    Seriously though, do people really care what an author looks like?

    Because look at the small picture to the right of this— that’s a face that might as well lay down his pen immediately.

    I only know what most writers look like because I’ve looked them up online after reading one their books and that’s to find out more about them and what else they’ve written.

    I may be old fashioned, but I still believe talent is the most important thing. I don’t think I’ve ever put down a book because I’ve come across their picture on the back or the inside cover and thought ‘fuck me! what a moon faced trollope, I’m not reading this!’ I doubt I ever will.

    Not unless the author was so ugly that I couldn’t read more than five sentences without thinking about it and crying with fear.

    I’m reading a book about the history of tea. There’s a picture of the author and I want to marry her. She’s a talented writer, she is very, very pretty and she’s written a 300 page book about tea.

    But that’s a nice bonus. It’d be a great book if she was a liver-spotted old dude.

  6. Aaron Talwar says:

    People need writers to go where they can not. Anyone can get BOOB JOB or lose 10 pounds but not everyone can drink a bottle of whiskey in one sitting, deal with bi-polar disease, be homeless, and then write about it in away that moves people.

  7. Becky Palapala says:

    At the end of the day, when it comes to human beings, appearance matters.

    It’s a simple fact. A relic of days when our brains weren’t nearly as valuable as our bods.

    That said, I think that if the writing is good enough, no one will much care what the author looks like, but that’s not to say a middling work wouldn’t get a healthy boost simply for having a pretty face behind it.

    Plainly, humans like to get close to/get their hands on/get some sense of relationship to beautiful things. If the language isn’t beautiful, a beautiful writer may do.

    Though, I should point out that Bukowski, in this context, doesn’t really count because he looks exactly as he should for someone who wrote as he did.

    Were he some kind of well-kept dapper Don and people found out about it, no one would have believed a word he said. Instant loss of credibility.

    • Yeah, it’s a complex deal. Then there’s a writer who is good-looking, and other writers resent it:
      http://dir.salon.com/story/books/feature/2003/09/04/freudenberger/index.html

      I did over-simplify in this piece. For instance, vanity and narcissism have probably been boosts to certain writers. That’s just so frankly depressing to me. But it seems to me that certain writers–usually male–thrive on vanity and narcissism.

      • Zara Potts says:

        That’s interesting. I think women, on the whole, tend to be much more vain and narcissistic about their looks than men.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          I once knew a girl who tried to become less narcissitic—sadly all her efforts were in vain…

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Or, if the link to the article above is a true indication of a connection, more prone to low self-esteem, which is a factor in narcissistic behavior.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Ho Ho Ho…

        • Zara Potts says:

          Or super high self esteem… It can go either way, can’t it?

          I have met many men who were classic narcissists but more in terms of character rather than looks whereas narcissists tend to focus on the physical.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          If attention seeking jokes are a form of narcissism then I’m pretty much Dorian Grey…

        • Zara Potts says:

          *WOMEN narcissists!**

        • Maybe big egos depicts it better. Male writers with big egos, i.e. Norman Mailer, Salmon Rushdie. That type. What female writer has/had an ego like that?

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Narcissists spend most of their time looking for external validation because at the heart of things, they have a horribly low opinion of themselves.

          They say, “I’m awesome!” but the subtext is, “Please agree with me. Please. A million times. Tell me I’m awesome.”

          That’s how I understand it.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Ayn Rand is a candidate.

          But I think, too, that it’s an issue of what’s allowable as far as gender norms go.

          There may be plenty of big-egoed women writers out there, but it may be SO frowned upon in terms of expectations for proper conduct that they can’t get their stuff published.

          Like, are they really not out there, or is it just that we don’t know who they are?

        • James D. Irwin says:

          Fuck, I think I might be a narcissist.

          No, I can’t be. I’m too awesome to be a narcissist, aren’t I?

        • Ha. I want to move next door to you, James. Promise I wont stalk.

        • A.S. Byatt kinda kicks ass with her ego. I forgot about her.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Everyone seeks external validation to some extent. I think that’s normal.

          But I think narcissists can’t self-validate at ALL. Like, they’re totally dependent on the external.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          Won’t stalk?!

          What’s the point in having a female neighbour who won’t stalk you?!

        • Zara Potts says:

          This is my point. Men tend to be vain or ego inflate in character and temperament whereas women are vain in regard to beauty or style.

          And I think there are two forms of narcissism. The narcissism that arises from low self esteem or shame and the narcissism that arises from a sense of ‘specialness.’ Two very different catalysts.

          But I think we confuse vanity with narcissism. They are entirely different things. A true narcissist is a very scary thing indeed.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Not too familiar with A.S. Byatt. My sister keeps recommending her to me, and I have Possession in my…possession, but I just don’t get around to it.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Well, there’s also the difference between clinical narcissism–narcississtic personality disorder, I think, is its clinical term–and the layman’s use of “narcissist,” which has a much looser definition.

          I was talking more about the clinical sort.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Me too… I’m glad we don’t come across them as often as the everyday sort.

        • Gloria says:

          I’m a little late to this part of the conversation, but I have to say:

          I hate Ayn Rand!

          Carry on.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Don’t hate the playah, Gloria. Hate the game.

        • Gloria says:

          No, no. I hate her specifically. She’s a blight on the entire evolution of our species.

        • Cheryl says:

          @ Gloria – Agreed on Ayn Rand. That is all.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          You know what they say about the difference between love and hate, right?

          Actually, they say a lot of things. But I know for a FACT that melodrama factors heavily in both.

        • Gloria says:

          Are you calling me melodramatic, Becky? Huh? Are you? ARE YOU?

          I AM NOT MELODRAMATIC!

          *holds breath and stamps feet*

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Evolution itself means only “change” and has no inherent moral or ethical or ameliorative quality.

          If she has changed us at all, then, by definition, she has aided evolution, not hindered it. That said, I think it is unlikely that she has changed us all that much.

          The woman’s been dead for 30 years. All she is, with regard to current politics, is a prop. A symbol. If people weren’t using her to justify what they already believed or blaming her for others’ refusal to agree with what they already believed (certainly they must be tricked by that Rand, or they would never disagree! [Uh. Wrong.]), they would find something or someone else to serve those purposes.

          Jai guru deva om, dude. It ain’t Rand’s fault.

        • Gloria says:

          I don’t know what she has to do with current politics. What I do know is that I read that hate filled manifesto Atlas Shrugged and then learned what a wretched creature she was in her private life and decided that she is not the change I want to see in the world. She was awful.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          Well okay. Emotion it is.

        • BellaTheHappyLoser says:

          Ayn Rand
          doppelgänger:http://www.vloggerheads.com/video/republicans-are-evil-thats-all

          she was a man hater

          but she was oh so gooooooooooooooooooooooooood a man hater.

          didn’t she begat Milton Friedman who begat trickle down who begat Alan Greenspan who begat economic melt down.

          I think it is okay to hate Ayn Rand but I love her, I love everyone. Lets just say she was fucked up and caused a lot of turmoil , that bitch, but we love her anyway.

        • Becky Palapala says:

          I don’t love her. I love ideas. And she had all kinds of them. I mean, she was thinking HARD. Whether the ideas are right or wrong is question of ideology and a matter of opinion. Ultimately, she enriched the intellectual landscape even if only by motivating those who hated her and the perceived implications of her theory to give a competing take.

          With regard to the Alan Greenspan thing, she would have said that we were a mixed economy and the meltdown of ANY mixed economy is inevitable. She would say that it didn’t melt down because we used her ideas but because we refused utterly to heed them. I don’t know if she’d be right.

          But she was straight laissez faire all the way, no ifs, ands, or regulatory committees.

        • Gloria says:

          Ayn Rand. Hitler. Other eugenicists. Some people just elicit an emotional response that can be hard to rise above.

    • Don Mitchell says:

      Are you getting on my case again? Nobody calls me dapper and gets away with it. Although, it’s true, this summer I wore a white linen suit and saddle shoes at a wedding.

  8. Joe Daly says:

    Very interesting points raised here!

    As for whether or not looks sell books, I’d point to people like Stephen King and say probably not. I certainly don’t buy a book based on an author’s look. In fact, being totally honest, I might reverse discriminate and assume someone with six pack abs or perkily presented breasts probably spends too much time not writing.

    As for Facebook, I think that while it gives a robust forum for narcissists to strut their stuff, they make up only a part of the FB membership. Maybe most narcissists have FB, but I don’t think most FB’ers are narcissists, anymore than people who have bumper stickers on their cars or preachy t-shirts are narcissists.

    I think that on FB, the narcissists are the ones posting about their lunch, their complaints, and trivial data that would be of interest to no one but them. I certainly let my ego run free on FB, but I use it just as much to keep in touch with friends, get info on band/record label releases and concerts, and to indulge my unhealthy obsession with Wordscraper.

    Anyway, you rock as is. Thanks for the thought-provoking piece!

  9. Don Mitchell says:

    See, Virginia just smiles this amazing smile, and looks as though she knows a thing or two. That alone was enough to make me buy her book, and I wasn’t disappointed. The rest of her, I don’t know. Don’t care.

    This is Virginia’s thread, but if I were buying a book because of a smile, Zara’s latest gravatar would make the sale immediately.

  10. D.R. Haney says:

    Somewhere above, Becky said that appearance matters in all human endeavor (I’m paraphrasing). I agree, and I definitely think it matters with writers, though I don’t think writers have to be classically good-looking in order to succeed. Some famous writers have been classically good-looking, of course — Lord Byron, Rupert Brooke, and Jack Kerouac come to mind — but I think what may help more is, simply, to look interesting, as is certainly (in my opinion) the case with Bukowski, Rimbaud, Joyce, and Woolf (who, incidentally, was considered a great beauty in youth, as photographs can verify), and so on. In fact, in Rimbaud’s case, I don’t believe that he’d have become nearly as legendary were it not for the oft-reproduced photograph taken of him when he was seventeen. Of course, he was also (again, in my opinion) a genius. The work matters most finally, but, yeah, the right look — an iconic look — can certainly be of assistance.

  11. I don’t know if boob jobs do, but abs have. Just ask Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino (of MTV’s The Jersey Shore fame). I don’t think his book’s been published yet, but he got a six-figure advance, so his publisher bet it would. Ditto Ronnie and J-Woww.

    I spent years at USC, studying fiction and screenwriting, honing craft with fine teachers. Then I went to Regis to get an MBA in market, because lots of people said authors should know how to market.

    I spent most of my days writing but still don’t have a book deal. They spent their days on “gym, laundry, tan” and made more last year–in publishing contracts alone–than I might see in a decade (though I hope that’s not the case. We’ll see. In a decade).

    Then again, I don’t know anything about not being really, really ridiculously goodlooking, so all this is probably moot.

  12. Marni Grossman says:

    G-d, I hope my chances of literary success don’t rest on physical appeal. I’d hate to think that my parents should have invested in a nose job instead of Vassar…

  13. I like the unexpected jacket cover. It seems like overkill to be beautiful AND successful. I mean, is that really fair? Nah, I’ll read the uglies any day.

  14. I get that we as writers want to improve our craft and hope that others will read our materials because of the quality of our writing.

    I think that the publishers’ point is about the prior moment. Before readers can read our work, they need to find it and (possibly, if we want revenue) invest in it. And how can publishers make this happen? Well, in a way they can’t.

    So, enter the platform–our connections, people who have already connected to us or our work, those who have read something and might like to read more.

    I suppose sex doesn’t sell so much as it attracts attention. It lifts someone head and shoulders (let’s say) above the crowd.

    I liked several of the comments about narcissism (above) as persons seeking attention for themselves in order to elicit from others a reassurance that each narcissist is liked, is likable.

    Having a platform, it seems to me, just means that we have done some of the same–and gotten names and addresses in the process.

  15. Brin says:

    What were you trying to achieve by way of your author photo? Any portrait is marketing. All the photos attached to the comments are likewise ways of marketing ourselves. What do they say about what we’re trying to project?

    I have extraordinary ankles in my case.

  16. I don’t think it comes down to good looks as much as simply having an image. Hunter S. Thompson was a male model in his youth, but he is famous as a balding, badly dressed drug-wreck. He appears on the cover of many of his own books and his image became so famous that there are countless “Gonzo” Halloween costumes, a cartoon and other knock-offs.

    • James D. Irwin says:

      Before I ended up making endless ‘witty’ remarks on this comment board I meant to bring up image.

      I think image, for a writer, is a composite of appearance and presence/platform. Basically the way they present themselves and their work. HST is perhaps the best single example of this, and one of the most successful.

      I also think that most writers— writers who are serious about making a living out of writing— try to cultivate an image to some extent. Writing is highly personal, so it stands to reason that you want to present yourself as an interesting person who is worth reading.

      I know I certainly try and project a certain image when I write and when I’m online, either on facebook or in the comments here at TNB. I’m very much myself, but I tend to exaggerate my Englishness and my love of pop culture. It reflects what I write, and part of me does hope that someone might see a comment I’ve posted and check out my stuff as a result. Hell, that’s pretty much how I got to write for TNB in the first place.

      But I didn’t set out to do that from the outset. It was never my plan, it’s just the way things went.

  17. jonathan evison says:

    . . . the reality is, just about any writer who is going to attempt to make a living selling books, needs to use every resource she’s got . . . looks, charisma, persona, provocation, topicality, all of it helps connect writers to readers . . . the ivory tower is no longer an option for authors (except for well-established folks like roth, ford, munro) . . . selling books in the 21st century is about sorting out demand and monetizing the relationship between reader and writer– that is to say, the writer must develop some kind of relationship with the reader off the page in order to succeed–ergo, FB and other social networks . . . a lot writers find this distasteful . . . me, i’ve learned to love the hustle, because, simply put, it’s the very thing that allows me to write . . . if i hadn’t handsold the hell out of lulu, if i hadn’t toured non-stop, if i hadn’t attended over 40 booksclubs, i’d probably be an unemployed ad-copy writer, right now. . . although, i’d probably be better looking with out the bags under my eyes . . .

    • I felt like I hustled like crazy for my book, and it was crazy-making. So I’m willing to hustle–just as I’m willing to do just about anything for my children. But I honestly believe that an element of mystery benefits a writer. The problem with FB and twitter–for me–was that when I friended other writers, I wasn’t as interested in them because their postings took away from their personas. It can have the opposite result for a reader–over kill. I don’t think it’s a solution.

  18. Cheryl says:

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say that looks matter in writing, but I think a writer needs something other than sheer talent to get noticed these days.

    A platform, a personality (real or manufactured), a presence on social networking, etc. these things do matter today, whether they should or not. There are too many other things competing for readers’ attention.

    Celebrity and “realityTV” culture has invaded the printed word for one thing. As if it’s not enough to be a douchebag on a reality show, you also get to write a book about being a douchebag. Or at least use a hefty portion of your advance to pay someone else to ghostwrite you being a douchebag.

    At the end of the day, selling books has precious little to do with being a good writer.

  19. Richard Cox says:

    I would imagine writers historically have been less attractive than the population as a whole because people who find themselves unattractive spend a lot of time alone, and writing is primarily a solitary activity. Maybe they feel marginalized by a society that values physical attractiveness, and since they don’t have anyone with whom to share these feelings, or are too shy to share them, they feel compelled to express their disillusionment on the page. Especially when they can wish or will themselves into being attractive and socially comfortable in their works of art.

    Perhaps writers derive a sense of community with their similarly unattractive peers. And when an attractive writer comes along, maybe it upsets this carefully crafted confidence, because hot people have encroached upon their hallowed ground. And are selling more books because their pretty faces and groomed hair and easy speaking manner plays well on television or in person.

    I mean, surely great writing sells more literary novels than physical beauty? The same with commercial fiction, one would hope. But what if there are two equally well-written books, one authored by an attractive person who markets herself well and another published by an odd-looking fellow who hates his own face? Who is going to sell more books in that case? Who’s going to attract more attention at signing events? At book expos?

    The print publishing world is suffering in a culture where attention spans are divided among so many possible entertainment and educational options. The biggest and newest enemy of the finished book is the Internet (unfortunately it’s often the friend of the unfinished book because it makes research is so much easier). If we writers want to survive in this world we must adapt to the new environment. This includes self marketing, which could include Facebook. Or it could include SquawValleyWriters.org, which contains a page of author portraits, which includes your own portrait, no? It includes having our own web sites, right?

    A boob job or or braces or Photoshop magic may not help you become a better writer, but it will probably move a few more books. It’s up to each of us to decide which is most important.

    • I’ll concentrate on the work and leave the boob jobs to others.

      • Richard Cox says:

        Hmmm. Well, one more bit to add to this conversation is I remember reading how Jonathan Franzen was criticized by some for what was perceived as an intentionally-sexy jacket photo for The Corrections, where certain lighting conditions made him look a bit different than he does in person. Whether one likes Franzen or not, he’s certainly considered among the top living authors in the country, and he writes serious fiction, and still he or his publisher or both decided on an calculatedly handsome author photo.

        He probably wrote the book before he took the photo, so it didn’t make him a better writer. But it is interesting to see that even the best writers in the world are vain enough to want to look good in their author photo. And it probably didn’t hurt sales to have that picture on the book jacket.

        I’d also argue that anyone who writes a book with the intention of having an audience read it for entertainment is already displaying a certain amount of narcissism. Otherwise they would write it and leave it on their hard drive or put the manuscript in a trunk somewhere. So I suppose the desire to look your best is just adding to the narcissism that was there already.

  20. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    This is funny. I’m always amazed by writers who have time to maintain a platform. I’m on Facebook, but when I say “on” Facebook I mean I occasionally respond to people from my Blackberry when I’m lying in bed for three minutes between my alarm and getting up. Twitter – I have no idea.

    A boob job, though. This I hadn’t considered. Is that, like, a tax write-off?

  21. Damn, NOW you tell me I was supposed to get plastic surgery? When my book tour is almost over?!

    I’m going to make a magnet for mid-list women writers of a frantic looking chick surrounded by stacks of books smacking herself in the head saying, “Shit! I forgot to get my boob job!”

    Love this, Victoria! And congrats on the forthcoming Counterpoint novel. Please do not lose 10 pounds for your book tour!

  22. Simon Smithson says:

    Wait… I’m sorry, I don’t understand this concept of ‘not being good looking’.

    Is that… a kind of fish, or something?

  23. Jessica Blau says:

    Congratulations on your novel!
    Who knows if looks sells, but you look like you need NO HELP in the looks department!

    When do people even see authors other than their avatars here? I don’t know what any author looks like and rarely, if ever, look at their pictures. I agree with you that this is a good thing, it’s nice to be invisible while having your work be visible.

    But since we’re on the subject, I’ll tell you this: a friend in medical school who’s about my age was told by some doctor the other day during rotations, or something like that, that she should “get some work done” on her face before she became a full-fledged doctor. How awful is THAT?!

  24. M.J. Fievre says:

    I have a friend in the publishing industry. She actually works for a major house. She says that sometimes it does come down to which one of two authors is better looking. She’s talked about many instances of pictures being passed around…

  25. […] isn’t going to re-activate her Facebook account to sell her book, she sure as hell isn’t going to get a boob job.  (Although she’s not averse to cleaning toilets, or making her soul more Chicken […]

  26. Now you tell me. I hadn’t considered a “lift” (I’m of that certain age, when lifting would be better than enlarging). I’ve Faced-Booked till I’m blue in the face, and driven anyone who ever cared about me away. I have seriously considered announcing my death.
    It’s all a mystery.

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