Earlier this week, Time published an article called “This Is How ‘Lady Authors’ Were Told to Promote Their Books in the 1960s”. In comparison to what it takes to make it as an author nowadays, this piece refers back to a photo essay that was done back then by Life featuring model/author Jeanne Rejaunier. By means of photographs of someone who clearly is used to being in front of the camera, the essay suggests how Rejaunier’s literary success of her book, The Beauty Trap, is all thanks to her appearances in them; saying how a successful “lady author” should do things such as working out in a bikini and posing in bed.
Whether or not the essay was for satirical purposes is hard to say without reading the whole essay. Sadly however, I wouldn’t be surprised if this essay was written with the utmost, serious intent, given the evidently more sexist attitudes towards women that existed then. In fact, to be addressed as a “lady author” alone can be demeaning, for it’s basically being sub-categorized apart from being known as simply an author (as I’m sure many of their male counterparts were able to get away with back then).
There’s no way an essay like that would fly in today’s time without so many people calling out on its BS. That along with the obvious fact that just because you look physically attractive as an author doesn’t mean it guarantees you automatic literary success. In fact, leading into today’s topic, I think it’s safe to say that that’s one of many things famous authors have an advantage over nowadays, as opposed to famous actors, singers, dancers, personalities, models and what not; the physical appearance of an author is not as stressed as opposed to those in the other occupations.
Why is that? Because apart from the optional photo of themselves on the About the Author page and appearances on book tours and interviews, authors aren’t seen on a regular basis. Their profession is more hone to spending more time in their minds and crafting stories as opposed spending time in front of the camera. Not to mention that unlike watching someone in a movie or perform live in concert, books have a very specific audience, for their geared more so for individuals who have the desire to focus in on the words being crafted before them and let the story wash over them. It’s with that that authors are more so admired for their intellect and creativity, and not so much about how hot they are.
With people regarding the other occupations, not so much, and the reason why is that their occupations demand for them to be seen more. For that matter, that’s why you’ll see people swoon over the leading male actor go shirtless in that movie he was just in, you’ll see really dumb YouTube comments for the music video for that one artist who looks “ugly” in some form or another, and why the plastic surgery of that one self-absorbed TV personality is worth devoting a whole episode of a reality show to. They may (or may not) be intelligent individuals with creativity of their own to hone, but because they’re seen more often than not, they’re appearances are unfortunately a subject of conversation. It’s really no wonder why artists like Sia don’t show their faces anymore, for it’s really psychologically unhealthy.
Another thing when it comes to famous authors is that they don’t have to worry as much about the media invading into their personal lives. The media can be incredibly nosy when it comes to famous people, but when it comes to famous authors, I never really see that as much. No one ever second guesses why the wife of John Green never appears in his vlogs, there are no paparazzi photos of J.K. Rowling’s children on an outing on sites like TMZ, and despite the content in his ever popular Games of Thrones series, I’m pretty sure George R.R. Martin has never been asked about what his sex life is like. In the case of famous actors, musicians and all that jazz, it’s the polar opposite; so much as to where for some f***ing reason, it’s sometimes newsworthy; and again, I think it has a lot to do with visual appeal.
Above all else, I think the greatest advantage is that famous authors can have, for the most part, a normal life. They can live at peace in their own homes without having to worry about paparazzi hiding out in bushes in their front yards. They could catch a ride on Uber without having to worry much. Sure there may be times where they may be recognized by a fan or two, but even the approach to them is more respectable, as opposed to seeing a famous TV actor out shopping and suddenly having the instinct to crowd around them. That’s not to say that this is always the case with either party, but these are factors that I’ve noticed otherwise when it comes to fame varying from occupation to occupation.
I may be an author, but I’m not famous. What I can say is that if I ever did become famous, then let’s just say that for the most part, I’m more than less likely to have a much less stressed time with it due to the occupation that I lead… and that can be a really good thing.
A Moment’s Worth is now available through the following venues: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, iTunes. Please leave a review if you can, for my goal is to get a total of at least 20 reviews on all venues (so far, I’ve gotten 7 reviews so I’m already past a quarter of a way to my goal).
Check out its Goodreads page, which includes two trivia quizzes for all who’ve completed reading it already.