PDA

View Full Version : To Picture or Not To Picture....



RobertEvert
11-24-2012, 04:10 AM
I'm going to kick myself if this has already been discussed (I looked, honestly!!!)...but I was wondering if we could discuss the inclusion of pictures of authors at the back of their books.

I have two writer friends who are against it. One is paranoid that people will manipulate her picture (e.g., put her head on some naked person's body). She's really against any kind of image of her being put on the internet and goes to great lengths not to be in group pictures.

The other states that the image of the author taints the work...that is, people will buy or not buy the book based upon how you look and so forth. She is a very attractive, busty woman, who often gets treated a certain way because of how she looks.

What do you all think? Is there much value at having your picture on the dust cover? Or is it just an ego thing?

Thoughts????

Susan Littlefield
11-24-2012, 04:33 AM
Bergen,

Seeing an author picture never sways me to buy/not buy the book. It's just a picture of the author.

I suppose if someone does not want to be recognized then they should not include their photo on the cover jacket. However, your friends both sound a bit paranoid to me. Books sell by word of mouth, and nobody ever talks about the author being busty or homely. They talk about the story in the book.

I would never buy a book because the author is handsome, just as I would not NOT buy a book because the author looked like an alien. :)

RobertEvert
11-24-2012, 04:35 AM
Bergen,

Seeing an author picture never sways me to buy/not buy the book. It's just a picture of the author.

I suppose if someone does not want to be recognized then they should not include their photo on the cover jacket. However, your friends both sound a bit paranoid to me. Books sell by word of mouth, and nobody ever talks about the author being busty or homely. They talk about the story in the book.

I would never buy a book because the author is handsome, just as I would not NOT buy a book because the author looked like an alien. :)

I wonder if this is true of most people. Didn't JK Rowlings use "JK" because she didn't want people to know she was a woman? Or is that just an "urban myth"?

fadeaccompli
11-24-2012, 06:10 AM
I wonder if this is true of most people. Didn't JK Rowlings use "JK" because she didn't want people to know she was a woman? Or is that just an "urban myth"?

She was advised that it would be harder to sell her book to boys--or to adults buying for boys--if there was a woman's name on the book, yeah. And I've certainly seen people state that they avoid books written by (insert gender here) authors, so even if that's not as big a percentage among adult readers--one hopes--it is a potential issue.

That said, on the picture front? Even if I think the worries about what could happen to pictures is a bit overblown, I also think that it's perfectly reasonable to not want your actual face on the books. Some people use pen names, after all, and that's pretty standard; not using an author photo is another version of that distancing between the Published Author self and the private self.

jjdebenedictis
11-24-2012, 06:33 AM
I never look at an author's photo on purpose. I often don't even look at their name. If the story sounds good, and the writing doesn't make me cringe, I buy it.

The author's name is only relevant if I decide I want more of their books, and that decision gets made after I read the first one.

To be honest, I often find it really jarring and unpleasant to find out what the author looks like. If I like the book, I always imagine the author to be a gloriously attractive and noble specimen of humanity. Funny how often I'm wrong. :D

Polenth
11-24-2012, 06:47 AM
Though it's all fluffy bunny to believe people never judge from photos, they do... we've had people on this forum say they do, because they thought the author looked arrogant / unfriendly / condescending. It's not something everyone does, but it happens.

On the other side, if you look approachable and friendly in your picture, maybe it'll help you. Or at least, not do any harm.

Personally, I'd rather my books never had a photo. I have one a few clicks in on my website, and that's as easy as I want it to be. I want people to have to find out who I am before they see the photo (because that knowledge will change how they view the photo). But it's often written into contracts that you have to provide one, so it's not necessarily something an author gets any say over.

elindsen
11-24-2012, 06:50 AM
I keep my picture to my website.

bearilou
11-24-2012, 04:29 PM
Hmmm. Never gave it much thought.

It certainly doesn't influence my purchases. But, being the nosy sort of person that I am, I like to know what they look like. That's because I'm nosy. :D

sargeorge
11-24-2012, 10:38 PM
I've never threw a book away is horror because the author looks like the back end of a horse. ( Not that I've seen one that does ).
As for me, I hate having my picture taken. I alway have the same cheesy grin. The thought of having it on display makes me cringe and I don't even think my face resembles a horse's arse ( At least I hope it doesn't but I suppose it could as i've never asked anyone)

Perks
11-24-2012, 10:43 PM
I always thought it would be fun to have my picture on a book jacket, until I had to take said picture. Awkward.

Still, I enjoy seeing an author's face, if they're willing, but wouldn't be frustrated by the lack of a picture either. It's difficult to believe that the issue would ever be a make-or-break or even a measurable factor in sales.

I think the name is a bigger deal. Myth or no, I can tell you that the people at Gallery were tickled that my name happens to be gender neutral. Thank, Mom!

Perks
11-24-2012, 10:50 PM
That said, I don't know what good it does to have a gender-neutral name and then my picture on the flap. Ha!

RobertEvert
11-28-2012, 12:19 AM
That said, I don't know what good it does to have a gender-neutral name and then my picture on the flap. Ha!

Very true! I'm just surprised that gender matters in this day and age.

amrose
11-28-2012, 12:58 AM
I hope when the day comes, they'll let me have a drawing instead.

quickWit
11-28-2012, 01:08 AM
I plan to wear my pants on my head for my author photo so I'm taken seriously as an artist.

Xelebes
11-28-2012, 01:44 AM
/dons the ugly fedora and struggles in awkward goofiness to look mysterious.

That's how I'll be remembered.

Perks
11-28-2012, 02:00 AM
I plan to wear my pants on my head for my author photo so I'm taken seriously as an artist.At least you've got pants at hand this time. I'm out of bail money.

quickWit
11-28-2012, 02:06 AM
That judge was gender-biased. Plus, she was totally naked under her robe. I could tell.

Totally.

Phaeal
11-28-2012, 02:17 AM
The author's pic can be useful, I think, if the author looks like the book. Being very attractive also helps. For example, they love to plaster Sebastian Junger's pic (shipboard, wind in his handsome face) on his real-life adventures (like The Perfect Storm.)

Ditto glammed out women authors on their glamorous romances.

The weirdest mismatch I can remember was Susanna Clarke's glammed out author's pic on Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. Didn't fit, and when I later saw a pic of her in "real life," I totally didn't recognize her.

Perks
11-28-2012, 02:47 AM
Ha! Phael, when it came down to two pics (my cousin is a professional photographer) he begged me to put it to the court of public opinion, because he and I came down on opposite sides.

So I did - here and on Facebook. The serious black and white won out over the friendlier color one. Often cited reason: it was more congruent to the suspense genre.

Chrissy
12-01-2012, 08:46 PM
I love it when there's a picture of the author and the little "About the Author" blurb. Especially if I loved the book. (I don't usually look/read until the end). With ebooks, there's generally no author picture. Kinda sucks.

Also it seems to help me remember the author better. Name and face.

Putputt
12-01-2012, 09:47 PM
I have never bought or not bought a book based on the author's picture.

Having said that though, after reading the first 3 books in the ASOIAF series, I googled GRRM and umm...I have to admit, seeing his picture felt really weird, especially when I came across his blog, whereupon he talks about how hot the actresses on his show are. It made me feel a bit squirmy, and not in a good way.

But I still think he's a fine writer and look forward to the release of his next books, so there you go.

VirtuousKnight
12-02-2012, 12:12 AM
I've never been curious or wondered what an author looks like. All I care about is if I like the book or I don't. I don't buy books based on whether or not the author is attractive. Their cover may grab my attention though :D

Rowan
12-02-2012, 12:46 AM
I've never been curious or wondered what an author looks like. All I care about is if I like the book or I don't. I don't buy books based on whether or not the author is attractive. Their cover may grab my attention though :D

Ditto. I don't care what the author looks like and sometimes I'd rather not know. An intriguing or interesting cover will make me pick up a book though.

For example, Jamie Mason's cover catches my eye and I'll definitely order the book when it comes out. (I also loved the writing--chapter one excerpt--but that cover draws me in. :) )

I must be shallow. A bad cover can really turn me off. :gone:

Perks
12-02-2012, 01:30 AM
Your check is in the mail, Rowan.

But I know what you mean about bad covers. The name 'Hugh Laurie' was enough to get me past this terrible cover (with the alternates in different printings being arguable worse.)

It went on to become one of my all time favorite books.

http://i457.photobucket.com/albums/qq291/whaskins/The-Gun-Seller2.jpg

Rowan
12-02-2012, 02:09 AM
Your check is in the mail, Rowan.

But I know what you mean about bad covers. The name 'Hugh Laurie' was enough to get me past this terrible cover (with the alternates in different printings being arguable worse.)

It went on to become one of my all time favorite books.


That Laurie cover hurts my eyes! LOL

I pre-ordered Three Graves Full (amazon) but it's a different cover. :cry:

Perks
12-02-2012, 02:48 AM
That Laurie cover hurts my eyes! LOL

I pre-ordered Three Graves Full (amazon) but it's a different cover. :cry:

No, no, you'll get the cover that's in my avatar - wait, that's the one you want, right?

The first cover was the shovel one. I actually liked it, but in October, I got to go to New York and the bombshell was that the fiction buyer for Barnes & Noble loved the book, but contacted Simon & Schuster and said she didn't care for the cover. She wanted my name up top and something more atmospheric.

There's that much power in that role. Isn't that wild? I mean it makes sense.

So, I love the new cover after I picked up my jaw from the floor. Then I got used to the new look.

The web pages should start showing the new cover within a few days.

And thank you, thank you for wanting it!

StephanieZie
12-05-2012, 08:17 AM
Personally, if I got a book published, I wouldn't want my picture on it. There's nothing wrong with people who do it, it's just not for me. I remember once picking up a mass market romance or something and the author was pictured on the back surrounded by several small monkeys, and I just thought "Why....?"

LadyV
12-05-2012, 06:06 PM
If I ever get a book published, I'll include a picture, but only if it's professionally taken. I don't want it to look like I snapped a quick shot on my phone. There's a few authors I've seen where I can tell they took the pictures themselves. Bad lighting, glare on glasses, etc. Interesting enough, as the series progressed, they got new, professionally done photos.

Plus, people say I'm photogenic, so why not add a picture? It would actually make me proud to put my face on something I worked hard on.