These days, being a great writer will only take you so far. Good looks will get you media coverage.
In the September 2009 issue of, The Writer, I found an interesting article on page 8, about “The marketing of an author’s image.”
According to Harper Collins editor Gail Winston, attractive authors, “get a little bit of an advantage” when marketing their books.
Nicholas Latimer, director of publicity at Knopf, told National Public Radio what he heard from an editor at People magazine: “If you have an attractive-looking author, there’s a better chance that your book will get reviewed.”
This may not sound fair to struggling writers, but we live in a society where the media and consumers worship celebrity. So what can we do about it?
Perhaps authors should ask for a publicity and a plastic surgery advance in their contract with their publisher. (Yeah, right. I can just see that happening in the near future.)
With advances running between $500-$2,000 for unknown authors, it seems that writers today, not only have to be extremely talented, but also millionaires before they can get published.
Example of a writers out-of-pocket expenses:
1) WRITING CLASSES
University extension classes: $1,000
Local writers conferences, including hotels: $2,000
Freelance editorial fees: $1,500-$3,000
Other workshops, writers’ retreats, writers’ clubs: $800
Hiring a publicist: $3,000-$5,000/month. Easily $15,000 total
Media Training? no clue. Perhaps they’re included in publicist’s fees. Anyone know?
3) PLASTIC SURGERY
If you’re over 40 and you want media coverage, maybe you need to budget. If you’re under 40, then no worries.
Botox, Juvederm, MicroDermabrasion
Teeth Whitening, other dental work, depending.
Suits, clothing, accessories:
If my calculations are right:
Author pays out $56,000, and receives $500 advance from publisher.
$56,000-$500 = $55,500 total out-of-pocket expenses for author. Sounds FAIR to me (Ahem!).
Please share your thoughts on this topic, whether you’re an aspiring author, already an author, or if you care to share your opinion.
I’m curious if this is the same for writers in other parts of the world.