This morning, I almost died. On the treadmill.

I come from the world of marketing. The world of, “How attractive can we make the product to the buyer?” I’m sitting in a Starbucks, hot chocolate cooling by my side. My hair stretches its frizzy arms into the air with impressive vigor, while my sweat pants make a sad statement about my grooming standards. I can’t help but think: If I am a product, and an agent/publisher is the buyer, how marketable am I?

Now that I don’t have to go to the office, my appearance has been on the backburner. But I’ve got bigger worries, right? For instance, writing a novel well enough to capture the attention of an agent who receives 10,000+ queries a year. We all know an agent wants a show-stopping, make you spit out your hot chocolate, stunning debut novel. But outside of a dazzling manuscript, what makes us marketable writers to agents and publishers? I, for one, believe it is things within our control. For example, creating a blog that generates buzz, utilizing social sites, being considerate of your agent’s time, sticking to deadlines, interacting well with readers, and finally (drum roll) – our physical appearance.

According to Harper Collins editor Gail Winston, attractive authors, “get a little bit of an advantage” when marketing their books.

Nicholas Latimer, director of publicity at Knopf, told National Public Radio what he heard from an editor at People magazine: “If you have an attractive-looking author, there’s a better chance that your book will get reviewed.”

Blows, doesn’t it? I know. I was pretty excited about reintroducing myself to carbs once I left corporate America. But, I’m bound and determined to become a published author, and if swapping my remote control for a gym membership will make me a sliver more marketable as a writer, then count me in.

Just don’t expect me to be excited about it.