OPINION (of which I am entitled to and allowed to share. These are descriptive, not prescriptive. I am not telling anyone what to do) Maybe one of the worst social media trends I have ever seen is this “hot authors” bullshit. Authors post photos or videos emphasizing how hot they are with the encouragement for others to do the same.
Very well said, Sadie. Thank you for that.
“The book industry should remain uncorrupted from the patriarchal stain of vanity we see in the film industry.” 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 I’m glad I haven’t seen the “hot author” thing yet. It’s a sore spot for me—I’ve been accused of using my looks to sell books in the past by salty men and it made me livid. I enjoy modeling, but it’s not how I sell books—some don’t realize there’s actual work and skill involved in marketing. Wonder if those same dudes are having a field day over this.
I used to follow you on Twitter (before I left that platform), I'm pleased to find you here now!
- Signed a not-Hot author (but I do count as a Nerd Author, maybe)
There's a great video on TikTok about some older/"not stereotypically attractive" 80s pop artists and how great musicians they are (Tina Turner and Phil Collins are cited as examples), and just how sad a state the music industry is now simply because the demand for sex appeal is often more important than the artists musical abilities.
I'm sure a lot of authors feel that need to market themselves on social media in such a way simply becuse it's what one needs to do (especially as a woman) to get attention, and it's really sad, especially because people to use sex appeal to market their books are highly prone to be harassed online as well. It's such a difficult cycle that we're all kind of locked into.
No major publisher markers their big name authors this way, and while indie people are usually innovators in terms of marketing, you're definitely right that we shouldn't be resorting to tired sex appeal to sell books, of all things.
Thank you Sadie. Once again you've hit upon something that has spoken deeply to me.
What happened with your school play was a horrendous thing to do. I can't even pretend to know what it was like.
But I do know that stuff like that has a lasting impact. In December 1985, just a few weeks before I turned 11, I was selected for the Gang Show. I don't know if this is just a UK thing - the top 2-3 boy scouts from each troop put on a variety show - comedy, songs, dancing, drag, etc. It was a huge thing in the 70s and 80s. It was held in the main town theatre over a whole week, treading the same boards as Gary Numan, Bill Haley and AC/DC. 1400 seats sold out every night.
I was so proud to be selected.
The first show was traditionally performed for all the other scouts and girl guides of the town. The music started for the opening song, and we all danced out in groups of 5 or so to introduce ourselves. I glanced down at the front row - a gang of boys about the same age as me were laughing and pointing at me.
I knew why - I was quite a chubby kid.
That didn't just ruin the rest of the week for me. I think that exact moment was the root of my confidence issues - it plays through my mind every time I make a public appearance - which has been quite often as before I started writing, I played in bands for almost 20 years. . If I'm playing and singing, I can hide behind a guitar; if I'm reading, not so much.
Having my first proper appearance as a published author - at ChillerCon last year.- was utterly terrifying. Of course the horror community were all very welcoming and I soon settled into it, but in the corner of my eye, I could still see those boys pointing up at me and laughing. I'm still a big guy. I'm also 6'3". I cross the road if I'm out walking at night and I see a woman coming the other way - I worry that I will appear intimidating, especially on a dark, quiet street. I hate that people might think of me in that way.
One of the reasons I like social media is that I can control the image of me that I want people to see. I'm always scared rigid when I meet someone IRL for the first time - "What if this big fat lump is not what they were expecting and they hate me?"
That's why I was so grateful when I went to a book signing near my apartment and Gemma (Amor) was there. I wanted to go over and say "Hello" but instead did my classic sitting in a corner, trying to make myself as small and invisible as I could, thinking "Don't be stupid. Why would *she* be interested in meeting *you*?". She saw me anyway, recognised me, waved and mouthed "Oh hi you! Let's chat afterwards." If I hadn't already been on the back row, I'd have looked over my shoulder to make sure she wasn't talking to someone else behind me.
I'll always be grateful to Gemma for that, and other members of the horror gang who I've met IRL, and who have been so kind and friendly - and I never felt that they liked me *despite* my appearance, they made me feel that they just liked *me*.
I hope we see a trend towards that kind of thing instead of *Hot Authors* (of which I most definitely am NOT one).
I appreciate your opinion on this! I’ve been feeling a way about that trend as well. On the surface I’m sure it is well meaning, but fit does feel like something more sinister is lurking beneath.
Shocking to know there's an actual trend on hot authors! 😫
Standing O from me. I haven’t seen this trend and am appalled. Thank you for writing this.
I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this! I’ve been feeling less inclined to show my face on socials because I don’t feel like I’m enough, that there’s better people to look at. It’s my own insecurity though, no one’s fault for that. I’ve always been one to just share books anyway, not my face. I hope the right people see this and it helps them!
Great post (again!)
Thank goddess I look like Brad Pitt, I guess my career is set as a writer.
Ding ding ding!
Spot on, thank you for this.
Spot on. Perfectly said.
Yes. Yes and yes. Can you freaking imagine working months maybe years on a book and then a publisher saying that you didn't have the look they were going for? 😖 This was very much needed.