Friday, August 31, 2007

Wanted: Attractive Young Writers. Writing Ability Optional

I know I’ve blogged about this before but it seems to be getting worse. Here’s an article from The Phoenix, Aesthetic genius: Why can’t more writers be smart enough to be beautiful, handsome, or at least cute . It's interesting, although this author seems to think I should feel sorry for these attractive young Ivy League writers because people think they're getting such a huge push just because they're attractive young Ivy League writers...

My thanks to Sphinx Ink for the link.


Lisa said...

Candice -- there's something amiss with the link you may need to check; however, this article seems to be making the rounds this week. I've decided I won't buy books from any author unless they have as many, if not more crows feet than I do, or they are an especially nice blogger :) BTW, I received What Angels Fear this week and look forward to reading your work.

cs harris said...

I keep trying to fix it and it still won't work. I give up. If anyone else is desperate to read the article, it does come up if you Google it.

Lisa, I hope you enjoy ANGELS!

Emily said...

Above is the address for the article. Maybe it'll work as a link.

The article is certainly disheartening, and it explains why Andy Warhol hired someone else to go to appearances and pretend to be him. The next step, which maybe is already happening, is for authors to hire actress-models to represent them in author photos.

If actresses can hire ghost writers, maybe writers should hire ghost models.


Emily Toth

Shauna Roberts said...

I admit to being someone who'll buy a book because she likes the cover. Even so, I rarely look at the author photo unless it's someone I know, and I've never bought a book because I liked what the author looked like.

I have bought books because the author was witty, or charming, or intelligent when I heard them give a talk or saw them on TV. Those traits actually have some relevance to whether the book might be good.

I can't blame the authors for taking advantage of their looks to sell their book. But it hardly seems a foundation for a long-term career. This article supports the rumor that many people in publishing companies don't read books.

liz fenwick said...

Haven't checked out the link yet but I know authors who deliberately have their back turned when their author photo is walking down a country lane. Some people are put off by knowing what the author looks like - can't say it ever bothered me so long as what was in the book was worht reading :-)

Emily said...

I think a big point here is that it doesn't matter so much whether WE buy a book based on the author's looks.

What seems to matter is that better-looking authors get more attention in the book business--from editors, publicists, reviewers. So the book gets a big advance, gets sent to stores, the author gets on tour to give readings . . . in short, the author gets the opportunity to have a bigger career based on his/her genetics (or plastic surgery or makeup), rather than on his/her writing achievements.

That's called the fallacy of transferred authority--as in, a politician who thinks he's an expert on human relations or baseball. Being a beauty or an ugly doesn't affect writing achievement, but apparently it has a big impact on writing career success.

That stinks.

Emily Toth

Charles Gramlich said...

Maybe I should invest in a good plastic surgeon. And I mean a really really good plastic surgeon.

Lisa said...

Emily really has a good point. Maybe more/some authors should just boycott putting photos on book jackets. I wonder how that would go over? I also like the idea of writer photos that show the writer from behind or in shadowed profile. Even though I say I don't care what the author image looks like, on some level it probably does have an impact. I think sometimes it would be better to have no image or an unclear one if the world isn't open to seeing people warts and all.

Kate S said...

Ok, now I'm depressed.

Author photos interest me, but I'd never buy a book, nor turn down one, based on it. I've been surprised by the photos sometimes - usually when the person turns out to be much younger than expected.

If it's a decision I'll ever have to make for one of my own, I'll just say "no." :)

Jon said...

In the unlikely event that I ever become published, I think I'll use any advance money to hire a good airbrusher. Much cheaper that surgery.

Lana said...

Any room for a relatively non-attractive person who can't write? I sure could use a few extra bucks. ;) *L*