For female authors, is attractivenes a requirement to get published, reviewed?

I guess it doesn’t really come as a surprise, but I can’t help noticing that a lot of the authors who are being given the star treatment on their book publicity are, well, attractive. Have you noticed it too?

All these lovely authors have been featured on NPR within the past two months; in other words, I didn’t have to trawl the archives to find attractive authors to support my argument.

The irony hasn’t escaped me: NPR? You mean, the radio news program? You’d expect print, television and electronic news sources to capitalize on a photogenic subject, but radio?

What interests me too is that they’re all female. And yet wasn’t it just the other day I was reading about that literary glass ceiling? Where the majority of authors who get publishing contracts by mainstream publishers are male? And the majority of reviewers at major national papers are also male?

Take a look at this too.

So, since I’m not really surprised by any of this, I guess the thing I’m getting at is, I don’t just want to read books by attractive women. Or white men. I want to hear about all books by all authors. If a reviewer needs some criteria for whittling them down to only the best for inclusion in their publication, then how about on the basis of their literary merit? I don’t need to see a picture of the author to convince me to read her book.

But all this has been said before. What do you think?

(Photos from NPR.org. Authors in order from right to left: Tèa Obreht, Annia Ciezadlo, Hellen Meister, Laura Hillenbrand, Heidi Durrow, Karen Russel

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3 comments
  1. mina said:

    This reminds me of that movie where Maggie Gyllenhaal submits her book with a picture of herself in a bikini.

    I personally don’t care what authors look like.

  2. Erin said:

    Me neither, Mina!
    I haven’t seen that movie… will have to check it out.

  3. Jelzmar said:

    I don’t know who any of those authors are. I was doing a search to see if there even were any attractive authors (they are, so search over), but I had noticed that all authors are generally not attractive.

    JK Rowling is alright, but Stephenie Meyer, Stephen King, James Patterson. Nope, not at all. Anne Rice, Dan Brown, Nora Roberts.

    I don’t mean they are ugly. They are all average and a few below average, but not really ugly. Looks wise they are nothing compared to the girls you have up there, but I’ve never heard of the girls you have up there and these people are rich from writing.

    I’ve never liked a book, flipped to the back to see the author info, and thought ‘wow they’re attractive’. So I was looking for attractive authors just to see if there were any, or if attractive creative types just chose not to be authors.

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