Do Beautiful Authors Have an Advantage?



Customers don’t just see your books—they see you, too.

  • You have your author photo right on your Amazon product page. (If you don’t, it’s noticeably missing.)
  • Your face also appears on your blog, Goodreads page, and other online pages.
  • You appear in the book on the about the author page.
  • Your photo is also part of your press release kit.
  • You may also show up on promotional and marketing materials.
  • Your image may appear alongside any articles that you publish.
  • YOU are most certainly seen in all of your personal marketing endeavors, which can be some of the most effective marketing that you do. (Good luck hiding there. Or if you ignore these opportunities, even worse.)

You want to be seen.

Really, you do. Your author photo on your Amazon detail page offers proof of your humanity. It can help convince customers that you are

  • professional
  • humble
  • confident
  • thoughtful
  • playful
  • family-oriented
  • ALIVE!

When you add yourself to the shopping experience, whether in a photo or in the flesh, you make the reading experience more personal.


Not all authors feel that they are photogenic.

Some authors are intimidated by how they perceive society’s evident standard of what it means to be beautiful.

Many authors tend to be shy.

There are authors who feel that their images would detract from sales more than they might help.

Lucky authors who happen to not fall far from cover model status—do they have a distinct advantage over the other end of the spectrum?

Or maybe they don’t have to look like cover models, but just have to fit into some idea of how an author should look—or how the author of a certain kind of book should look. Does that provide a marked advantage?

Is it about the LOOK?

Or is it about the BOOK?

The look or the book: Come on, now, the book is far more important, right?

Yet that look sure can come into play.


Readers, hopefully, are looking for a good book—not a good date.

It’s the content of the book that matters most.

You buy a book and read it because the words show potential.

Not because the author’s picture shows potential.

Because the story shows potential.

Not because the storyteller has the right look.

You’re not dating the person. You’re dating the book.


But don’t readers already realize this?

They are readers. This isn’t the whole of society. Avid readers are just a slice of society.

Of all society, wouldn’t it make sense for the people who love and crave books to most appreciate and look for inner beauty, versus outer beauty?

Wouldn’t readers favor the words over the look?

Wouldn’t they explore the biography more than the author photo?

Wouldn’t they check out the author’s social sites to help judge character, rather than appearance?


Unfortunately, look may matter to readers.

One thing we know is that many customers do judge books by their covers.

Fantastic covers help to attract attention.

Lousy covers receive less attention.

Does this mean that the LOOK trumps the BOOK?


Or maybe these are apples and oranges.

A good-looking cover may be a sign that the author wanted to perfect all the details.

That the content inside the book was worthy of extra effort on the cover.

That the words and story inside eagerly need to be shared.

The reader will carry this book around, too. The cover has to meet some standards.

But the reader won’t carry the author photo around (unless, of course, it appears on the cover).

Maybe the same customers who judge book covers don’t also judge author photos.


What do you think?

Do you think the author’s appearance matters to readers?

Is beauty an asset for authors?


I have a little word of the day for you.

Pulchritudinous—physical beauty (of a person).

What do you think? Not such a beautiful word?

Read Tuesday

Imagine a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers.

You don’t have to imagine it. It’s called Read Tuesday, and it’s free:

Please support the Read Tuesday Thunderclap. This will help spread awareness on the morning of Read Tuesday (December 9, 2014). It’s easy to help:

  • Visit
  • Click Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr and sign in.
  • Customize the message. (Optional.)
  • Agree to the terms. All that will happen is that the Thunderclap post about Read Tuesday will go out the morning of December 9.
  • (The warning message simply means that Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr need your permission to post the Thunderclap message on December 9. This is the only post that Thunderclap will make.)

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2014 Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

  • Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
  • Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
  • Boxed set (of 4 books) now available for Kindle pre-order

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