Thursday, May 12, 2011

My Bikini Book

It's that time of year.  Emails and magazine covers are asking me if I've got my bikini body ready.  The short answer: no.  The long answer: I look pretty good with clothes on, but strip me down for the beach and we're looking at razor burn that might need medical attention and dimples in places that aren't so flattering.  My fair Irish skin is pale like a post-mortem Scarlett O'Hara.  Plus - I  tend to break out on the jawline 'cause I rest my chin in my hands while thinking.  That's unrelated to the bikini issue, it's just something I wanted to mention.  (Note to self: don't write your own classified ad, you're far too honest).

To quote Kevin Spacey's disarmingly frank line from American Beauty: "I just want to look good naked."

And that's the trick of the bikini - you're not wearing much, so everything's gotta look good.  You can't cover up those flabby upper arms and hope the push-up bra will be distracting enough.  You can't wear waterproof mascara and assume people are looking at your face.  Everything is up for dissection by the public.

Same goes for your book.

The cover and first chapter are important, like your general silhouette.  You might be able to reel them in, but are they gonna get closer and go for the casual nod instead of engaging?  What if Chapter Two is the equivalent of starting a conversation to find out you've got bad breath?

Too often I hear writers say, "Yeah there's a downswing here but the next scene really picks up."  Or, "I know there's a huge info dump at the beginning but if you can get past that, it's totally awesome."  Right. And the obese chick with a good personality gets all the guys on the beach.

Your book is going to be naked.  Every page is going to be turned (hopefully). Every word will be exposed to an eyeball.

And you can't very well say, "Do me a favor and read this next bit in the dark."


Matt Sinclair said...

Personally, I've always liked books that put out on the first date ;-)

Just kidding.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I could pack my book off to a BBW site and get some attention? ;)

Quite true though, Mindy, especially for an aspiring writer. Every page must shine and be in runway supermodel mode.

It's not easy, but it can be done.

Good article, Hun. Kudos!

Mindy McGinnis said...

Too funny - I know I've got male followers, yet they don't comment often. I use the word "Bikini" in the post title and BOOM - Matt and Pete post!!! :)

Thanks fellas, love my man followers - cooking up a post just for you guys!

Kelly said...

Ha! Great analogy! And after three kids, I stick to tankinis but I hope my manuscript can show its rock hard abs.

Anonymous said...

You should have called this post "My BOOkini." I'm just sayin'.

Gennifer Albin said...

Bikinis always bring out the guys! I'm no not ready to let anyway see my manuscript naked...can't it keep it's shirt on?

Mindy McGinnis said...

Kelly - love the tankinis! Gen - see, I'd rather keep the pants and ditch the shirt. :)

Green - I thought about "Bookini" but it sounded so much like "Burqini" that I shied away.

Stephsco said...

As a reader, if I'm not hooked by the end of chapter two, most likely I'm not going to finish. An excpetion is if it's a classic and I'm having trouble with an older style of writing.

Jenny Phresh said...

My manuscript may need a tummy tuck. Maybe I will send it away on one of those plastic surgery vacations to Bora-Bora?

Liesl said...

Tankini for me thanks. After three kids having perfectly flat abs is hopeless unless I want surgery.

But all books are essentially naked so it behooves us all to be well toned.

Mindy McGinnis said...

Steph - I think that's a good rule, both as a reader and a writer.

Jenny - Can you get me the details on that?

Liesl - You and I and Jenny will get some kind of Groupon for surgery and go on down to Bora Bora once we're all published.

cherie said...

Woohoo! It's back.

BBC, you are the queen of metaphors. ;)

Mindy McGinnis said...

Thanks cherie :) Unfortunately, all the really clever comments seem to have been lost to posterity. Too bad - my male followers were commenting like crazy!! :)