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.
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?