I’m still working out this whole marketing thing and one thing I see and hear a lot is: Readers want to see your picture. They want to connect with you.
And, if you dig around not very deeply, you’ll find a picture of me. A slightly older picture from a modeling shoot I did a couple of years ago. And really, a couple of years. Not the “a couple of years in the grand scheme of the age of the world, 20 years is barely a blip” sort. The make-up and shadows are dramatic. You may or may not recognize me on the street. But it’s me. If you’re just dying for a face.
But here’s the thing: is that really what readers want?
Now, I’m in a semi-unique situation in that what I write is primarily gay. I sort of think my mug (no matter how great the picture) is distracting and maybe worse, a real turn off.
I’m up front about being a lady—I am who and what I am and don’t have the cash to change it. It’s not that I’m hiding that. And I don’t think I’m horrible to look at. But I just don’t see why anyone would want to see the man behind the curtain.
I’m going to say this with love, and don’t get offended (she says, knowing what’s about to come out of her fingers) but there are certain author sites I’ve seen where the author is working as the model and face of their work that made me embarrassed for them. They were primarily het writers and maybe that has its own set of rules, but really, I mean, really?
It makes me wonder whether the author pic isn’t a function of an author’s ego rather than what a reader wants. I really don’t know. I can only speak from experience in the mild disappointment I felt in how Chuck Palahniuk looked. Not that it mattered or that I stopped reading his work…but the not knowing let me make him what I wanted him to be.
But, it also told me that he wasn’t putting himself in the stories. Maybe it’s just me, but when I see the author’s photo and then read their stories and their heroine or hero looks exactly like them, it totally creeps me out.
Rationally, I know that stories are often fantasies, wish fulfillment that you can share with an audience. It’s not really how I write (another reason for m/m? you tell me) but I get that a lot do. And, if the heroine is a dumpy brunette who is whisked off on an adventurous life with a vampire, that’s pretty easy for readers to identify with (ouch, hurt myself with that one—covers dumpy brunette hair.) But do you really want to see how dumpy and brunette I am?
God. I just realized that all this time I’ve missed the point of the song “Words” by Missing Persons by thinking she’s asking “Do you see me? Do you care?” But no, it’s “Do you HEAR me?” which would make sense, since you don’t see words.
I mean, other than on a blog. Or a book. You know what I mean.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNSDwGPYfMM] But seriously, look at her. I can’t concentrate on what she’s actually saying. Dayum. I forgot how hot she is.