Saturday, October 28, 2017

Would Books Ever Be Sold Based On An Author’s Attractiveness?

Are authors hot?

I don’t mean those who have hot books – hitting best-seller lists, getting great reviews, winning awards – but those writers that are really good-looking.

Think sexy, pretty/handsome, and alluring.

Most industries rank their eye candy.  Instagram is filled with looks-centric images by the successful and the unknown.  Some fields are linked to beauty - Hollywood, models, athletes, and dancers to name a few. But do authors, often perceived as having beautiful minds but not necessarily the body or smile to match, possess the right looks to turn readers onto them?

Though book jackets, author websites, and press releases often feature photos of authors, these images often lack sex appeal.  Should the book publishing industry consider marketing its better-looking talent a bit differently?

People buy books because of the words in them and not the appearances of the ones who wrote them, but perhaps that will change. Should it?

There are some lists out there that rate author looks. put together “The Hottest Dead Writers,” showcasing only male novelists, poets, and essayists.  Of the deceased, it said the hottest was Jack Kerouac, Ernest Hemingway, Anton Chekhov, Hunter S. Thompson, and Roald Dahl. put together its list of 11 of the Hottest Female Writers in the World and round out the top five as:  Vicki Petterson, Gillian Flynn, Kiri Blakeley, Melanie Notkin, and Katherine Taylor.

A few years ago, Buzz Feed put together hot lists of men and women, dead or alive, 33 Literary Geniuses Who Happen to Be Super Hot, Ernest Hemingway, Alice Wallace, and Rupert Brooke were the top trio.

Not to be outdone, HuffPost had a piece, 9 Famous Authors Where Totally Hot, and it featured people like Albert Camus, Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemingway, Harriet Stowe, Lord Byron and Sylvia Path.

Perhaps we should be more focused on the sexiest erotic novels of all time, as an Esquire story earlier this year covered.  It highlighted books that included:  Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill, What Belongs to You by Garth Greenwell, A Sport and a Raptime by James Salter, and The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis., some five years ago, ranked sexy authors with Dita Von Teese on top, but Woody Allen was ranked 9th so not sure how reliable such a list is.

The cited 10 male authors who “bring sexy to the paperback,” but it was challenging to find many lists, and few by big media sources, that featured sexy authors.  People magazine wasn’t naming the hottest-looking authors.  Sports Illustrated didn’t highlight writers in swimsuits, and Playboy is not dedicating much ink to the hot authors of today.

So why don’t we have many stories featuring how hot authors are?  Because:

1.      It’s irrelevant to their ability to craft books.

2.      Publishers don’t market author beauty.

3.      Many authors are older and may not see themselves as sexy.

4.      Authors want to be taken seriously and don’t think baring body parts will help them.

5.      Society has a prejudiced misconception of the looks of people who write -- or read -- books.

6.      Many authors are introverts and wouldn’t know what to do with new found popularity.

7.      Too many other hotties seek the spotlight.  There’s no shortage of erotic images online and in our mass media.

8.      Authors may not believe that objectifying one’s body is the way to sell books or get their writing recognized.

That said, could the book industry benefit from a makeover and put a spotlight on the attractiveness of authors?  Yes!

It does this when it comes to romance and erotica, as if playing up the books of the author will make the writing better, more believable, or more exciting.

Would we be comfortable seeing an author photo for a business author featured, in a short skirt and a provocative position?  Will we want to look at the author’s photo of a historical book and see a bare-chested guy with a menacing smile?

Certainly, some books, due to their subject matter, simply would never allow an author to play up his or her beauty and sexiness.  Religious books, books on death and destruction, children’s tales, or books about suicide would not endear themselves to have authors dress provocatively or to appear in a sexy pose.

Maybe writers deserve a magazine that’s about the image and lifestyle of today’s writer, a kind of Esquire meets Cosmopolitan for writers.  Will we soon see a photo shoot highlighting.  America’s hottest authors?  For now, such a story would only focus on top-selling and popular writers and it wouldn’t be linked to looks or sexiness.  Maybe that will change. But would it be for the better?

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby  

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