Judging an Author by His or Her Cover

Everyone knows the saying “don’t judge a book by its cover.” But, we all do it. I do it. I won’t even pick up a book if I don’t like the cover; unless its name draws me in, or I love the author.

But, this post isn’t about book covers. I’m curious as to if you judge an author based on what he or she looks like. I’ve seen authors with many different physical appearances. Some are very neat and you always see them dress well, while others look like they spend all their time writing in mountains. Does this change how you view them as a writer?

Surely an author’s look doesn’t change their writing, just as a book cover doesn’t change the content inside. However, books sit on both real and digital shelves for years going unsold due to poor covers. Is this the same case as with the author?

Are you more willing to read a book by an author who looks professional? I mean, I have tattoos, my ears are gauged, (not disgustingly huge, however), and I have several tattoos. Does this change how you view me as a writer?

Note: Your answers won’t hurt my feelings, haha.

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9 thoughts on “Judging an Author by His or Her Cover

  1. Nope. An author’s appearance does nothing to influence how I expect them to write. It will always come down to the writing itself. I might look at an author photo, but they’re always professionally done with make up and stylists, etc, so you’re not even seeing the real person half the time, anyway. The most real thing about a writer is their writing.

  2. Appearance does not matter to me when regarding authors. Examples 1 & 2.. Isaac Asimov and GRR Martin. Two funky white guys, turning out some mind-blowing work. I worked for one of the largest internet providers in the 90’s, and most of the support geniuses (read NERDS) were pierced, tattooed, high or functioning so far past normal it was freaky. The quality of work they performed was above excellent all of the time. So appearance I have learned should not stop you from enjoying the work.

  3. No, I really don’t think about it one way or the other. Most of the time, I don’t even know what an author looks like until after I’ve started reading, let alone judge the book on it. Case in point? Stephen King is totally goofy looking. LOL

  4. I think it may influence what you expect from a writer’s content – after all, our writing is an extension of who we are to some extent, and we are constantly sending out messages about who we are with how we look. We’re hard-wired to do this (both the sending of signals and the receiving of them). It’s a primal human instinct…

  5. I rarely look to see what the author looks like, and even when I do it doesn’t influence my decision to read their book or not. I think that an author’s appearance might surprise me if they look like they live in the mountains and eat bears for supper, but write romance novels. But still, I don’t think it matters. As long as they’re a good writer, it doesn’t matter to me.

  6. What I love to do is form an author’s image in my mind & then look at the dustcover photo. How close am I? Truthfully, the beauty is of the mind (or not in some cases) and the physical trappings are mere distractions.

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