The Importance of A Picture of The Writer

Hi, here’s a serious question for both writers and nonwriters: As writers, a lot of us spend a lot of money and usually a whole lot of time, getting good photos of ourselves to go on the jackets of our books and on our websites and promotional stuff.

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Most of the time if you pick up a book to read, you have no idea what the writer looks like. Have you ever read a book and then changed your opinion of it based on how the author looks? Have you ever been really surprised by the author’s appearance? For example, when I was a kid, I used to think VC Andrew’s was a man.

It wasn’t until I was an adult and I watched a show about how a man took over writing for that pen name, but all of the first books were female. I think it did sort of change my perspective on the books I’d read of hers. I also once read a book that was intelligent and inspiring, then I saw the writer on a talk show promoting the book and she was absolutely drop dead dumb, seriously she was jaw-dropping dumb. I wanted to give sainthood to her editors.

What if you thought the author was white but they turned out to be a person of color? What if they are extremely obese? What if they are super young or super old..? I tend to think many writers are outliers in one or other social way, with writing being an outlet. I know many drink heavily or have mental issues (I mean, E.A. Poe? that dude was screwy.) but writing can be therapeutic as a profession. It certainly is for me. Anyway, what are your thoughts? Is the author’s appearance important? Do you go looking for the author’s image? Does it change how you feel about the book?


What do you think?

18 Points


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    • Hi Andrew, Thank you for joining in and as you can see, many agree with you. What I am trying to ascertain with this post, is whether any aspect at all regarding the character or knowledge of a decidedly, skilled writer can influence your decision to continue reading his or her books. At the risk of being branded a cliche’ specialist, let me ask my question another way, what was your response when you found out that the noted specialist author of many child psychology books and celebrated funny man Bill Cosby was exposed as an Ogre?

  1. A picture of a writer? Really?! If those people took care of their appearances, they would choose to do something else, like to be actors or models. They are writers because they have something to tell, not because they want to show themselves. And I respect that. In fact, I have no idea how most of my favorite writers look like. And I am quite comfortable with that.

    • Hi, Jenna, thanks for commenting. If you have just read the most incredible adventure novel describing drop-dead gorgeous characters in some exciting, exotic settings, aren’t you just a little bit curious what the writer of such authentic settings looks like?

    • Hello Nela13, Thanks for your viewpoint and while I am quite sure there are many folks just like you, who would agree with you, the identity of an author or writer is generally deemed important enough for companies like Virily to require a logo identity of sorts.

    • Hi, Sandra, thank you for your contribution. Here you come with a statement that you care only for the contents and not about what the writer looks like and directly, your views are shared by Trenna Sue and even Alibb, below agrees to some extent. I intend watching this page as I believe it is important for writers to collaborate with each other and hopefully we can also take something of value back with us. Regards, Andre’

    • Well, Sue, no offense intended but frankly, I’m not alone when I say that I find some of his stuff screwy. Anyhow, thanks for your valued input. This is what I wanted to back from my article readership. Have yourself a fabulous weekend.

  2. I would like to think that a work of art – whatever art form we are talking about – could stand on its own independently of who created it, although that might be different if it was intensely personal and more information about the author – such as appearance – was important for a better understanding of the work in question.

      • Any work of art seeks to establish a relationship with the person who views/hears/reads it. However, the relationship can be either with the work of art itself or the person who has created it – and the nature of the piece in question determines the extent to which each alternative applies. In cases where a relationship is established between people it is usual for the parties to know what each other look like – this adds to the general picture, with the work of art being merely one element of the link. However, this is almost always a one-way link – the author usually knows very little about his/her readers!

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