Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Hell in a Handcart

Now let's get this straight:

Last week Danuta Kean got publishers to fess up to the way commercial pressures are cutting off authors' careers (and therefore, it follows, literature).

On Sunday Kate Kellaway got an agent to admit that an author's looks definitely come into the equation.

Some time in the last few days we heard that Wordsworth Editions has found it necessary to photoshop Jane Austen's portrait to make her prettier, and that since poor Virginia Woolf 'wasn't much of a looker' and George Eliot was 'frumpy' they're considering giving them a makeover as well. (Ms Baroque has an excellent post on the matter.)

And now the Bookseller announces 'a Dragon's Den-style show on ITV London which will seek out new author talent for publication under the Random House Group's Arrow imprint' involving top agent Ali Gunn and Simon Cowell's brother Anthony. (Thanks to Jessica at The Book Bar.) (Debut novelist Struggling Author has a great take on this.)

Hm.

Any one still up for claiming that publishers can still afford to care much about good literature?

But hey, publishers, here's a good wheeze: if photoshop can work for Jane, why not for the rest of us? (Oh, OK, I know, those TV appearances....)
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