If you follow me on Twitter you know that I've started a body sculpting class. I've always been a team sport athlete, but as I get older I've noticed that there aren't a lot of mid 30's just randomly available for me to play barnyard games with, so I'm hitting the gym now. Yes, cardio is good for your heart. Yes, I want to sleep well and have more energy without drinking something that might make my heart burst instead. But, I have all those purely egotistical reasons for working out too - it's the summer, and magazines, pop-up ads and commercials have been asking me for months 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. 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."
NOT A DROP TO DRINK will be out in the world soon, every page exposed and every word under scrutiny of reviewers, bloggers and good old-fashioned readers. I'm confident that myself, my agent, editor, copy-editor, and the entire team at Katherine Tegen can say that DRINK looks pretty good in a bikini.
Now if we could only say that about the author....
NOT A DROP TO DRINK, is a post-apocalyptic survival tale set in a world where freshwater is almost non-existent, available from Katherine Tegen / Harper Collins September 24, 2013. She blogs at Writer, Writer Pants on Fire and contributes to the group blogs Book Pregnant, Friday the Thirteeners, From the Write Angle, The Class of 2k13, The Lucky 13s & The League of Extraordinary Writers. You can also find her on Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook.