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How you know you’re in a recession, Part MMCXIIV

Quillblog is well aware that hard economic times have a disproportionate effect on writers (who aren’t usually in the top earning brackets to begin with) but it’s a sign that things have become untenable when authors are auctioning off characters in their upcoming books. It sounds unbelievable, but that’s exactly what Nathan Tyree is doing. The author of Zombie Lust and the New Flesh and How to Make Love Like a Zombie is offering some lucky bidder the opportunity to appear as “a major character” in an upcoming novel.

This is not the first time an author has auctioned off a character in a novel. Stephen King, Amy Tan, Lemony Snicket, and John Grisham did so for charity back in 2005, as did Margaret Atwood in a 2007 fundraiser (that one went to Rebecca Eckler, who worried that Atwood might turn her “into a crack-whore-murderer”). But, to Quillblog’s knowledge, this is the first time an author has offered a chance to appear as a major character in a novel, complete with physical description and character traits.

According to Tyree’s seller’s description on eBay:

The winner will have to provide me with their name, a photo of themselves, a description of their personality and mannerisms, a bio (background info and such). I will write the novel and guarantee publication within one year of the end of the auction. Then they will also receive a free copy of the book.

No word as to whether the character will be a hero or a villain (or a zombie), or will survive to the end of the book without being viciously decapitated.

As of this morning, the top bid was $40.