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  1. #16
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Picture-wise, I'd recommend you use TSOTNW's picture or one of the masterpieces you've concocted using her as model.Try to have the martini in her hand as this will endear her to many readers - at least two that I know of.
    Your likeness, Tolkien-esque as it is, would neither convince me nor discourage me. Remember, I stopped reading Tolkien after the first chapter The Silmarillon. He'd peaked.
    I am working my way up to purchasing your latest. It hasn't shown up on eBay or Alibris yet.

  2. #17
    Who would have thought 30 years ago that image would be the driving force behind the music industry.
    The last decade seems to have brought allot more attention to bestselling authors. Ie: J.K Rowling, Oprah’s book club etc..

    I think the more the literary world begins to filter into mainstream media, the more we’ll see the importance of image.


    ..sadly.
    Last edited by jeff p; February 22nd, 2010 at 01:42 PM.

  3. #18
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KatG
    ...but I doubt we'd find much data correlating looks and purchases.
    ...That an author is black or Asian, however, may unfortunately have an effect or publishers mistakenly believe that non-white authors will sell mostly to non-white audiences. And that an author is male or female can have an effect, because sometimes people won't buy based on that.
    Seems to be contradictory statements, ma'am, but very much to the point that prompted this thread. If the publishing side of the house is mired in the problem that proposal evaluators are, then photos have an impact on sales. There won't be any. Photos are not required with initial queries, at least not for any submission instructions that I've examined, so how do "publisher mistaken beliefs" get into the mix?

  4. #19
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Ahem...

    I would theorize that starting authors are probably best not to show their picture. At that point, no one knows anything about that author, and so instead will draw conclusions about them based on preconceived notions based on appearance. Thus, it is best to make strategic use of the masking phenomenon.

    By hiding your physical appearance, you can generate a perception of yourself as an author in much the same way that a reader builds a picture of a character. People will rely, then, on Jungian stereotype characters to "illustrate" you in their head.

    Then, as an author becomes established, I would theorize that developing an iconography for yourself is essential.

    This sort of thing seems fairly evident in publishing -- when a new cover edition is released of an author's back catalogue (which is typically tied into the release of some newer title), the author's name is presented in a standard format using a standard font. It is consistent from title to tile, thus establishing a system of imagery linked to that author.

    At this point, photos can be included or not -- I would say that it depends on the strength of your graphic design as iconographic for your authorial identity. If your mugshot jars with the Illustrated Model-Author in the reader's heads, this could be problematic. But a well planned and carried off iconographic system should support a glimpse of your visage.

    Or something...



    How's that, HE?

  5. #20
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Not bad, your wisdomness.
    How do you incorporate photos inside the back cover into your theory?

  6. #21
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Why, as a statement of ego, of course! A photo on the outside of the cover speaks to confidence, self-assurance -- I have arrived! The back cover is somewhat more modest than on the front, but only marginally so. You, the author, envelop your story, yet face outward from it, looking to new horizons. It speaks of mastery!

    Inside the covers... well, it's a whole new playground of introspective psychology! Inside-front obviously portrays the classical masculine -- he likes to be on top, demonstrating that he is the one doing the book.

    Thus, the inside-back cover obviously portrays the classical feminine -- the story is doing the author, and she stares up through its thick layering of pages...


  7. #22
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hereford Eye View Post
    Seems to be contradictory statements, ma'am, but very much to the point that prompted this thread. If the publishing side of the house is mired in the problem that proposal evaluators are, then photos have an impact on sales. There won't be any. Photos are not required with initial queries, at least not for any submission instructions that I've examined, so how do "publisher mistaken beliefs" get into the mix?
    They aren't contradictory, they are two separate issues -- attractiveness and ethnicity. Authors do not have to be attractive to sell a novel, largely because no one cares about the author. But when it comes to ethnicity, we unfortunately run into other problems and false assumptions:

    http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/...-that-a-shame/

    The cover was changed after outcry, and another Bloomsbury book on which there was the same problem was also changed. There was massive Internet discussion, which you can track down if you like. Unfortunately, the ethnicity of an author can still effect how they are received by publishers, what they are expected to write about and how their work may be packaged and marketed. And unfortunately, there is prejudice in the world, so while it's unlikely many readers care whether the authors whose works they read are "hot" or not, they may care if the author is a woman or is non-white, so in that case an author photo may be an issue.

  8. #23
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Expendable View Post
    Neil Gaiman - Neil's stated he liked fans who sent him $50.
    I'd be tempted to send Neil $50 if that's what it would take to keep him writing. I guess I should be thankful he gets royalties.

  9. #24
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    And more on KatG's point, I at one time mooted the idea of writing a romance, but she nixed that idea by pointing out that men can't sell romance stories. So I'd have to do the reverse of C.J. and come up with feminine-sounding initials...

  10. #25
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    Well, technically guys can write romances and get them published. Look at the empire Nicholas Sparks has created. And one of the most successful romance novels of all time -- Bridge Over Madison County -- was written by a guy.

    But many category romance publishing imprints won't take you as a guy author in their regular romance lines. Except for gay romances. And you can write gay or straight romance novels in general fiction if you're a guy. But yeah, category romance was a place where the more authors had to be seen, the more gender became an issue, because women are often stupid. (I as a woman can say this.) Guys are often more romantic than women. I wouldn't mind seeing a small press operation challenge it and put out some short romances with the specific hook that they are written by men. It might shake things up.

  11. #26
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Pix 'n Books

    One of favorite people in Southern Oregon was a guy named Con Sellers, kind of a typewriter for hire. During thirty or so years before his death in 1992, he wrote something like 300 books, many of them pure pulp, others coming quite close to being fine literature. He was best known for westerns and for the Brothers in Battle World War II / Korean War series.

    Con also wrote romances, using the female nom de plume "Lee Raintree" (and others). The picture problem did not get in his way at all, because so many of the female authors also use noms del plume to disguise their true identities ... so a very large percentage of these books are published sans photos.

    So here's a toast to all the Felicia Deirdre Fiona Passionetas out there ... whatever gender they may be.

  12. #27
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    If you're going to conventions as a writer, then people are going to see your real face. In today's world, writers are expected to have a web presence, starting with an author website. Your picture on your website (whether or not it's in your books) allows readers to anticipate seeing you at a convention they attend...to recognize you, if they don't have face recognition problems.

    It also means that when an imposter goes into a bookstore and claims to be you...or demands perks at a convention as you...the store personnel or convention personnel have an easy check...your familiar website photograph. (Both these things have happened to more than one writer. Not yet, to my knowledge, to me.) True, an imposter can put up a website that also pretends to be yours...but if your editor puts up the real one that you send the URL for at the publisher's website (as many do) the imposter will fail.

  13. #28
    We Read for Light Window Bar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by E_Moon View Post
    It also means that when an imposter goes into a bookstore and claims to be you...or demands perks at a convention as you...the store personnel or convention personnel have an easy check...your familiar website photograph. (Both these things have happened to more than one writer. Not yet, to my knowledge, to me.)
    Not a problem for some of us, Elizabeth. Now, there might be folks out there claiming to be anybody but me.

    Seriously, the human species is an entire ecosystem! We have our carnivores, our vegetarians, our parasites and our impostors. Thanks for another interesting post.

  14. #29
    Fulgurous Moderator KatG's Avatar
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    In something on Publishers Weekly about another item entirely, it said that about 12% of the category romances are written by men with female pseudonyms, so I guess it is still continuing. A lot of romance authors don't do a lot of marketing still, so it's possible to do. And again, it's possible in general fiction too, where romantic fiction is a strong sub-genre.

  15. #30
    Keeper of the Hikari Radthorne's Avatar
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    Believe it or not, there are people who do the imposter thing. Over on the art side of my world, one of the places I hang out is deviantArt. There is a lady there who does some very nice and innoative photography of herself (she lives in a small Swiss village, so not many models, lol!). She's actually had someone create an entire deviantArt page pretending to be her, re-posting her pictures and using her name, and responding to people's comments and messages on that page as if she were the actual person. Very bizarre...

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