Why most authors have a “look”.
I’ve noticed this for a long time and I think I’ve finally figured a few things out about the Book Publishing Industry and some of its inner-workings.
On one side, we’ve always known that Video Killed the Radio Star. Which is a polite way of saying that fat and/or unattractive people aren’t really stars based on their talents any more. You have to be a bit nice to look at too. This isn’t 100% true, of course, but it’s a factor that everyone that’s not in the modelling industry will deny, and 100% of them are liars. It’s built-in, wired into our subconscious, and good luck trying to get around it.
On another side, Writing is Hard. It’s easy to come up with ideas but it’s fucking hard to sit down and write a book. Even harder to write a good one! You might spend a solid year putting together what you think is a good novel, but there’s still a few hills to climb.
You’ve got to find Beta Readers, an Editor and a Designer, at the very least. Oh sure, you can do these things yourself, but unless you are FUCKING AMAZING you’re not going to do a professional job at all of them. And your book might be good, but the whole package will still be “just okay”. Combine that with the fact that you are still writing, creating more books, and that shit all adds up.
Conversely, let’s say you’re skipping the Self-Publishing Route and trying to get traditionally published. Okay, so now it’s the wait-and-see grind. You’ve still got to polish that manuscript, and I mean SPARKLING. So really, your expenditures are still the same, just minus the cover designer. And again, you could do everything yourself, then pitch that manuscript, but you better be FUCKING AMAZING for that thing to be considered.
On top of that, you’ve got to be patient. Like years and years of nothing but rejections, patient. You’re not only going to get rejected, you’re going to get rejected A LOT. For years. So you’ll need some resilience and time.
And who, in this day and age, tend to have more opportunity in their lives for resilience and time? People that are already set up in life. Folks that have “succeeded” in their particular career paths and are now trying to focus their efforts on being an author.
So you tend to get folks that are at least mid-30’s and upper middle class. And white. They tend to be white, but I’m not supposed to talk about that. And that’s who tends to be writing our stories out there right now. THAT’S who publishing houses want, who the public likes to look at, and who we trust to tell us stories.
I might be wrong, I might be terribly off-base here, but I would wager that there are more than just these out there that have stories to tell. Good stories. Stories they’re good at telling.
But we may never know, because we’re too busy making it too fucking hard for anybody to get noticed and get published. And I don’t know about you, but I think that fucking sucks. And I’d sure like to see it turn out differently.