Monday, March 16, 2009

You're Just Too Ugly To be Published!

Bookgasm has a nicely tongue-in-cheek post listing* 50 Reasons No One wants to Publish Your First Book . I'm sure Eric Forbes would heartily approve of some of them, including :
  • There’s this thing called punctuation. You might want to look into it.
  • It’s not technically a novel until you’ve written it down first.
But he might be too polite to tell you :
... your author’s photo is going to alienate readers. That’s right, dude: You’re too ugly for literature.
Much more sensible is this post about why most manuscripts really do get rejected on Glenda's blog.

(*Thanks, Chet, for the link.)


Baronhawk said...

Quite,it is a fact that good looking people are:
1) treated better
2) listened to more
3) given more consideration then they are usually worth
4) given better opportunities

This is what I was taught in Sociology, psychology and oganizational management in college. It is almost like a golden rule.

Apparently it is true in the literary world as well.

It is just human nature and the gist of first impressions.

Another pragmatic practicality that we have to accept about our world.

bibliobibuli said...

now we know why Jhumpa Lahiri does so well!

Baronhawk said...

Make no mistake, Jhumpa Lahiri is beautiful, though maybe not gorgeous, in my opinion anyway. But she did cause my heart to dub dub dub.

But I wouldn't attribute her success to her beauty alone. I would also look at her masters degree and the two salient points that is genuinely noticeable about her literary work.

Simplicity and global immigration.

He style probably harks back to the Latin masters of poetry who managed to incite reaction though simple words and minimal sophistication. Just because it is simple does not mean it is not meaningful.

Society is becoming less sophisticated as well, so the simpler it is the easier for our increasingly impatient readers to digest. Less thinking and referring to encyclopedias, more actual meaning on page.

Global immigration is an issue that is hard fought and experienced by many nowadays, especially with the eastern cultures moving more and more to the west. I guess Lahiri's work just happen to find her miniature niche in a current global trend and concern.

We all want to know of global immigration, the west wants to understand and deal with it without resorting to white sheets and torches, and the east wants to know that they can make it in the land of milk and honey.

Maybe her work is not only about something whose time has come, but what is paramount to our discussion today, maybe, just maybe, out of the many manuscripts sent with hers, she got more attention because her picture was nice, maybe she got more airtime because she is beautiful, maybe readers notice her beautiful picture first out of the many on the shelves that day.

Maybe, just maybe... her beauty helped her get to where she is t today. Not maliciously but because she is more noticeable.

bibliobibuli said...

she can write too?? LOL

pulling your leg hard, Baronhawk. am completely sold ...

Anonymous said...

I know through personal experience (and it happens daily to me) that good looking people get treated better. They say all good looking people are conceited, but I have to say I'm not! :-)))))))))

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

And didn't Cormac McCarthy forget to use punctuations in one of his latest books?

- Poppadumdum

Yusuf Martin said...

Aha now I know why MPH rejected my short stories - I'm too ugly!!

Punctuation - may I just mention Jack Kerouac - On the Road.

Insidently I mentioned Jack Kerouac to a friend of mine who teaches English literature at university level, in Malaysia, they said - WHO? then I mentioned Allen Ginsberg, they looked blank, in my desperation I said Jean Genet, Jean Cocteau, still a blank.

Baronhawk said...

Yusuf Martin:


There is probably something that you need to check with you friend. I find that in Malaysia, when it is said English Literature, it is taken quite literally as "English" Literature. The other dead white guys... but across the 'pond' from where Ginsberg and Kerouac operated from. They probably know a lot of dead Frenchmen as well... AF made sure of that...not Akademi Fantasia, but Alliance Francaise.

In general Kerouac and Ginsberg would only be known to those who specialize in "American" Literature of that period. However they tend to be drowned by the 'lost generation' writers and hippies that came thereafter and the dead guys from across the waters.

But more so given the rather lurid and sometimes 'gay' nature of their works, Ginsberg and Kerouac may not even make it into the university library nor dictum curricular. I'd rather not go into another wacana onn book burning.. oppsss.. banning.

Anonymous said...

Y M;

You should mention 'sophie kinsella'

(and she's beautiful too).

ah pong

Anonymous said...

Don't blame it on looks; most of the time it's less-than-perfect writing that's rejected.

Anonymous said...

Bad manuscripts that have been rejected and consigned to publishing graveyards (or the dustbins of history) have a habit of coming back to haunt your every waking moment due to reasons best left unsaid. They claw their way from the pits of hell and infringe upon your sleeping moments, tormenting you endlessly; fire and brimstone ain’t enough to keep them where they belong.

Anonymous said...


First link is broken :P

katztales said...

Interesting stuff. I've had 3 books accepted, and am trying to find homes for 3 more. I think one reason it's hard to find US and UK publishers when you are in Asia is that so many don't like the idea of dealing with writers overseas.

Glenda Larke said...

Katztales - I agree. Better for a talented Malaysian writer who lives here to look for an agent in the UK or US if they want to be published overseas. It is VERY difficult to get published overseas from a Malaysian address, even in this electronic age.

Of course, brilliance has a way of succeeding...

Anonymous said...

It is easy to produce books, but it is not easy to sell them. Every writer assume there's a ready market for their work.

Damyanti said...

Of all the writers who write, a small number are published, and a rare few are successful.

While it is important to be published and successful, I doubt most writers write for that alone---a whole lot of writers say in interviews, blogs, and real-life conversations that they write because they can't help it.

Rejections are a natural part of a writer's life, no matter what their looks. Even the most good-looking authors (except the celebrities who get their books ghostwritten) have been rejected at least once :)

savante said...

Ah the benefits of beauty. :)

Anonymous said...

I am at the moment producing a couple of bad books which we rejected but because of some reasons we are forced to produce - I am afraid I can't use the word 'edit'.

bibliobibuli said...

i think i know who that last anon was! so sorry for you but just hang in there ...

Anonymous said...

Yea we all know who that was. Life is unfair eh ? :P