Wednesday, January 14, 2009

If Looks Could Kill...

I had a conversation with a friend recently and the topic of how hot a certain male author is came into play. (You know who you are.) She claimed he only became “soooooooo hot” to her once she saw how “adorable” he was during interviews, thus causing a stir. Me? I don’t believe it for a second. It had to have happened before—reading his work because of the physical.

I mean, it’s not the first time I’ve heard it happening. How do you think I got some of my friends into John Green? Look, the back copy of Looking for Alaska failed to entice and you all know the old adage: desperate times call for desperate measures. I showed them

The Picture


and voila. They bought the book. Simple as. (No they have not read it yet. But hey, royalties for John and culture for them. I can pour them the glass but I cannot drink it for them.)

So it got me thinking about the aesthetics. We can all agree that covers are the most important thing for first impressions, which is generally why it’s good if they don’t suck. But beyond that, what about the author’s looks? Do you reckon there is an author you wouldn’t love as much if they weren’t so damn pretty? What about personality? Any authors move you to buy or at least read some of their work simply because of either of those?

I have one! Granted, I’d have read Paper Towns anyway, but damn y’all, John Green can part oceans with those glasses.

34 comments:

Amee said...

I don't think I've ever bought a book on an author's looks alone. I've been sort of shocked by author photos (good and bad), but never have based my purchases on the author's hotness. lol

Alea said...

I guess I saw his Vlog Brothers videos first so he was cute because of the way he was, not really how he looked. It's his personality for me.

I agree with Amy, sometimes you don't even know what an author looks like so then you make up a picture in your mind, sometimes it's very off. But I don't think it's stopped me or made me buy a book.

Zoealea said...

I don't buy a book because of the way an author looks. But, like Alea I saw the video's first, and anybody who is smart, thoughtful, and encourages nerds is cute to me. And, I have to admit, the looks help to!

anilee said...

Oh my goose, Steph. Talk about embarrassing posts. :P

Anyway, nope. Authors' appearances don't much matter to me.

Darling Diva said...

I find him cute, but it is his personality that wins me over. I had the pleasure of meeting him for the "Paper Towns" book tour and he was positively funny and engaging.

Steph said...

For the record: I love JG's personality, too. :)

And anilee, what's this about embarrassing? Please! :P Someone had to say it at some point. ;)

Steph

Alea said...

And glasses add to his cuteness factor too.

anilee said...

Ah...good point. Well, thank you, then, for being the brave one. :P

*Heather* said...

It's those glasses that make girls like him.

Lots of guys have them, and it's so true.

But I always read a book (or at least start to) before I ever look at the author picture, because I like to create my own idea of them first. And usually I'm way off, or even sometimes if it's a case like R.A. Nelson, I think they're a woman and not a man because they write a girl's point of view so well and because they are initials. (He does, in fact, have a really great teenage girl perspective, which I find fascinating and he's a great author anyway, so...yeah, gonna get back to the topic at hand now). So I guess you could say that answers the question--No, I never buy a book based on the author's looks. That just doesn't make sense to me, at all.

But his personality does win over quite a lot of people, because that's something that goes into the writing of a book. Looks don't factor in to writing quality.

sammyjones57 said...

I've never boughten a book or not boughten one because of the authors looks. But you just made me realize that when I do get a book, the first thing I do is look at the "About the Author" before I even start reading the first page. I dunno why either, I'm just nosey I guess lol

Anonymous said...

Sure, John Green is really attractive- physically, but MORE IMPORTANTLY otherwise- but that had nothing to do with my purchase of Looking For Alaska. The only Brotherhood 2.0 video I had seen before I bought the book was "I am not a Pornographer", which was... about Looking For Alaska. The only impact the video had on that decision was John Green's sense of humor. Because that would translate onto the page, where as the intense stare under those beautiful nerd glasses would not.

I actually don't look much at author photos until after I'm done reading- most of the books I read have them on the inside back flap. I hate it when the author has a giant poster-sized photograph that takes up the entire back cover.

So, no. I've never bought a book based on an author photograph. I think that's pretty shallow.

But I will listen to an audiobook based purely on the fact that the actor reading has a sexy voice. (Milo Ventimiglia reads Daniel X by James Patterson. Not a great book. But, oh, the voice...)

Sarah J said...

Anonymous1, I do not see how it is more shallow to buy a book based on an author's photo than it is based on the book cover. Sure the cover is related to the book in substance whereas the author photo is not but sometimes the cover has nothing to do with the text. With the next cover for Looking for Alaska I would sooner buy based on author photo than cover.

I think Steph is asking above all else how important aesthetics are. It's not 'shallow'.

sweetmelissa818 said...

I kinda get a kick out of author photos. Some are great, and some, well, it might as well be me on the back cover. Basing decisions like this on looks in not uncommon by far, sadly. It's the American way! Those people are missing out though!

Steph said...

Just jumping in to clear up that I hadn't ever seen even a video of John Green before reading LfA.

But I probably appreciate his works a lot more because of how active he as in the internet and how interactive he is with his readers. It makes them all the more memorable, seeing his personality and essence on full display like such.

So, to anon who thinks it's shallow... I agree. But I still think John Green is very good looking and I still have friends who only bought his book for said fact. *sigh*

AND on the subject of full page spreads on the back cover: That is why I don't buy Jodi Picoult hardcovers any longer. Hehe.

Steph

Laura said...

I find John Green overrated. I hated Looking for Alaska, but I do agree he is cute!

Liviania said...

I don't see the author photo until I finish the book. I've really been surprised sometimes.

He is cute with that haircut.

Bookworm said...

I've never read a book based on the author's appearance...but I DO judge books by their covers...teehee.

Amee said...

I can think of other reasons not to by a Jodi Picoult book. :P

Anonymous said...

I've always wanted to read Neil Gaiman, sine The Pratchett collaboration however when I saw his picture the other day he moved way, way up the TBR list.

Sigh his hair is just dreamy.

Anonymous said...

But, Steph, and others who hate the "full page" author photo on the back of books, John Green's PT *does* have that full author photo.

I guess I'm the opposite of everyone that's commented. I loved LFA (and thought PT was just okay) but I find JG's constant internet presence makes me like him less. He seems to be his main characters -- they are all tall, thin, with glasses, have that same wavy hair, and his same personal outlook (yearning nerd). So much so, I've started to wonder if he's writing Gary Stu books (ala Mary Sue). I'd like his work better if I didn't know him.

Steph said...

It does? I only got an ARC so I had no idea. Wow... Moving for the paperback.

I had no idea it was possible to dislike John Green in his videos. I thought he defied logic.

I thought wrong twice in one comment. How disheartening. :P

I think beyond his videos, though, he's done a lot of good with the Nerdfighters.

Steph

Alea said...

Yeah the hardcover back cover = not awesome. I hate those, it looks cheap like they didn't want to pay to design the back cover so they just used a huge picture!

Steph said...

HAHA how contradictory, Ms Alea :P

Steph

Alea said...

Ok this is what I want to know, why do some authors not even get pictures on their books, especially the hardcovers. Are they like "No No, don't put my picture on please" Because there is always room for a little picture on the back flap! How is that decided!

Steph said...

That's a good question. I'll go email a couple of authors. :)

Alea said...

Yay! Can't wait to hear what you find out! I mean it's one extreme to the other, huge picture or no picture. I'd settle for a little picture of everyone!

Amee said...

OOh, I've wondered the same thing, Alea. I'll get to the end of the book and there's an about the author but no picture! It's a little bit of a let down.

I personally don't mind the huge photos on the back. I only own a few of those types though. Probably because I rarely get hardbacks. lol

Liviania said...

Well, the authors do have to pay for the photos themselves. Some might choose not to get it done.

Alea said...

Really?? I've always wondered that because some I've seen are not very good. Why don't the publishers pay? They pay for the rest of the cover!

Amee said...

Yeah, I don't want to mention anyone, but there's one author photo that I was just like, "why did the publisher allow such an amateur, unflattering shot of the auther?" But it makes sense now if they don't actually pay for it.

Alea said...

Yeah you can tell some of them are not professional, lol, a friend or someone probably took it!

Brooke Reviews said...

While I find John Green's brain to be the most attractive part of him (okay maybe it's the butt chin), I don't think a writer's looks have anything to do with whether I like them or not. Personality is definitely something that will make me WANT to check out a writer's book though. :)

*Heather* said...

Okay, I didn't finish reading all the comments since I last commented, but I do have to say this in response to the one's I read:

I do think it's shallow to buy an author's book because they're *pretty*.

But I also think that if people do it, they do it. It makes me hurt for the authors who don't put a public image out there to be seen because people aren't just going to buy their book for no reason, though, because their book could be much better, but they're making less money (not necessarily, but as far as that group of readers goes-the ones that do choose books based on author looks-they are making less money). I know that writing a book isn't about money. It's about wanting to write it (if you're a good author, at least, that's why you do it). Most writers make little to nothing for a living-the do it because they love it. But it doesn't mean they wouldn't appreciate the money. So you shouldn't judge books like that.

I'm guilty of picking a book up because I like the cover, but I always read the summary/excerpt and the first page to see if I actually want it. I'm not going to spend my money on a pretty cover to sit on my shelf and look good.

But I also hate the HUGE author photo on the back of books. I want a summary, or blurbs, or an excerpt or something else. I don't want a huge face staring at me. I don't mind John Green's for Paper Towns only because it amuses me that he's wearing two different colored socks and that distracts me from the fact that it's a giant blow up photo of him.

Anyway, I'll stop rambling now, because I don't really have a cohesive train of thought.

writemeg said...

John Green certainly is a good looking man! Though I have to admit I didn't know quite how good looking when I read An Abundance of Katherines.

I know it's a really strange, quirky habit, but I actually try not to look at an author's photo until after I've finished a book. Unless it's someone like Meg Cabot or Stephenie Meyer -- they're everywhere -- I don't like having any "images" in my head besides the ones that I actually put there. Knowing who wrote the book is like breaking the fourth wall -- I don't like picturing that specific person hunched over a keyboard, writing this book. I want to just read it all for the sake of reading.

Would it bother me if they weren't good looking? Probably not. Though I guess if I were reading a hardcore romance written by a very unattractive person, I'd wonder where they got their inspiration from. That's mean, right? :)

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