H’mmm, Does It Matter What the Author Looks Like?

On another blog I participate on, the question was about the author’s looks and went on to whether or not people judged the book by the author’s photo on the book.

The gals on this blog are not only much younger than I am but definitely much better looking, I hope no one holds that against me.

For one of my first books I had a glamor shot done–no feathers or tiaras–but someone did my make-up and I looked pretty good–not too much like the real me though. That same shot appeared on about three books–it didn’t age, but I did.

I knew I had to quit using it when at a book event, someone would look at me, look at that picture and then back at me and ask, “Is this you?”

Now, when someone takes a casual photo of me that turns out pretty well, that might be the one I use for the book. One of my publishers puts my picture on a page on the inside of the back–do you suppose that’s a message of some sort?

Not even a super photographer and air-brushing is going to change the fact that I’m a plump great-grandma who’s been around for awhile.

Now if only someone could take a shot of my imagination and use that as my author photo, I know that would be far more interesting.

What’s your opinion about authors’ photographs? Would one ever make you change your mind about buying a book?


4 replies
  1. Susan McBride
    Susan McBride says:

    I would never buy a book based on an author's photo! I care about the story too much. If a writer is wonderful to read, I could care less about his or her physical appearance. Just like everything else, I think variety is the spice of life. I do believe that author appearance matters more from a marketing angle, and it's something publishers consider more than readers. And I would imagine it would depend on the book you're selling. If you're writing about beauty or fitness, your book will probably do better if your image reflects what you're preaching. Anyway, just my two cents!

  2. Zita
    Zita says:

    I can't imagine it would. Unless you were maybe my cheating ex-husband who owes me child support but is raking in the dough writing cozy mysteries under an assumed name. But then I would still buy the book AND call my lawyer. =)

  3. Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith
    Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith says:

    Susan, you sell books no matter what–you look great in person and in photos.

    Loved your comment, Zita!


  4. Bethany
    Bethany says:

    Well, not to rock the boat, but… Although, I wouldn't change my mind about buying the book, but it might change my mind about "falling in love" with an author that was new to me. Maybe it's just my training as a graphic designer, but when I see a professionally done photo it completes the aura of a book. It's like the cherry on top of my book sundae. I guess the key would be to get a photographer and make-up person who could make you look like you, but on a really good day.

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