I want to know who I am reading and what they look look like. It's part of my search for ways in which I can identify with them and their frame of reference. When I read, I usually visualize, subconsciously anyway, the author sitting next to me, or across the table, and telling me the story. I do, however, expect the author to "look the part" of what he or she writes about. An 80-year-old writing about the latest teenage fads, or a "Shrek"-looking person writing a beauty guide, doesn't impress me.
Well crud...I was supposed to wear makeup for my photo???
Honestly, my pic was self-taken in my front yard, no makeup whatsoever. I brushed my hair, though. I think one of my mastiffs had just drooled all over my shirt, too. Hopefully my pic is not a turn off to readers. :-/ I'm certainly not considered attractive, and I can't imagine wearing makeup (which I seldom do) and I certainly cannot imagine holding a pipe...
To answer the question, no, the look of the author does not phase me...with one exception...if it's obviously a very phony pic where they are trying to look glamorous, that's another story. Big turn off. I feel the same about real estate pics on their business cards. I avoid the glamour-shot types. I want to deal with a real person and will go out of my way to chose someone who looks "real."
The entertainment industry in the U.S. is way too obsessed with physical appearance. It's ridiculous. If the writing industry starts heading that way - so only the "good looking" authors sell books, then I'm hanging up my computer.
To answer your question, if I haven't already, no. To me, it doesn't make a lick of difference what a person looks like. I want to be entertained when I read not distracted, say for example, by that picture of George (who I've met and is more worthy of the distraction in person! Holy smokes...) when I read and not wonder what the author looks like. If I see a picture of him/her - fine. If not...whatever...moving on....
Whether an author meets society's standards of beauty means nothing to me. I admit, I do wonder about some of the choices made for author photos -- I mean, glamor shots are so 1980s -- but that won't stop me from reading a book.
I happen to think Stephen King and Joyce Carol Oates are fine-looking people, and damn fine writers. He's in his sixties now, and she is 74. Should we not read them because they are older, and this is a world for the young?
I myself am not all that good-looking. I'm overweight, 55 years old and don't wear makeup since I left the public workforce. Does that make me any less of a person? Any less worthy of being judged by my work, and not how beautiful I appear to others?
Well said! I don't judge people I know by their appearance. Why on earth would I judge the author of a book that way? I don't care how old the author is, or how young. I don't care how tall or short or fat or thin or pretty or handsome or plain an author is. What I care about is how well they write and if they have written a book that appeals to me. I find it a bit appalling that if I were to publish a new novel, some readers won't want to read it because I'm not young anymore. But you know what? It's their loss.
Personally, I couldn't care less what someone looks like. If I like what they write, I'll read it. I don't even know if some of the books I've read were written my a male or a female, and it makes no difference to me. Lets face it, we don't actually know whether the picture people show is actually them or if the info they give is true. It's evident even from here that there are some authors who portray an image in their author info or the books the write but the posts here show a totally different character. One of them is false, so I wouldn't get hung up on any author details personally, it may turn out that is not the true person behind the book.
While many say they don't care what an author looks like, I keep coming back to the fact that we form impressions, and yes, even judgments in this day of no-judgments because it's not cool, by the appearance of those we meet and also of pictures we see.
I suspect that if those who claim it makes no difference (apologies to Hilary) were to meet the same authors, they would be affected, perhaps not impacted negatively, by appearance. If there were no such visceral reaction, trad publishers would never have pasted author photos on dust jackets.
I also suspect those who make such claims either aren't aware of the subliminal signals appearance send, or they "make the lie" in order to see their own behavior in a better light ("I'm not affected by appearance, only by writing, so that makes me objective and fair and overall a good person"). But then, human beings often lie in order to conform to some ideal.
I think it would help to use a picture of yourself just for marketing purposes. When you promote yourself and tell people about your books, it may help if they see your picture when they shop for your book. It may make the sale when they see that they really did meet the real author.