Friday, October 25, 2013

What's a Writer Look Like?

Once upon a time I was ticketed for turning a corner on a yellow light which turned red before I had completely driven onto the side street. The rookie cop was known for writing up his own grandmother for a minor infraction, so I knew my unblemished driving record was about to take a hit. When he asked what I did for a living, I said I was a writer. He wrote down housewife. I wanted to ask him what a writer looks like but bit my tongue, fearing that he would find other violations to ticket me for.

Technically, I don’t earn enough money to support myself with writing, although I did while working as a news reporter. But I still consider myself a writer after publishing 20 books. How many of us are able to earn a living writing at our craft now that the market is flooded with well over a million books, many of them from non writers? And all those freebies.  But that’s another subject.

What does a writer look like in the eyes of the general public? William Shakespeare, Agatha Chrisite,  Lee Child,  Danielle Steele, Stephen King?  Most readers would probably answer that it’s their favorite author(s).
Do attractive writers sell more books? I’ve heard they do, but more than the original purchase?  I don’t think romance readers care what the author looks like as long as a handsome hunk with a well developed torso graces the book's cover.   

My own conception of what a writer looks like is Henry Allen, aka Will Henry (1912 -1991). The bestselling author of more than 15 million books not only wrote beautifully penned prose of the American West as well as Hollywood film scripts, he looked like a cross between Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and William Shakespeare.  Even the Wyoming cop woudn’t have questioned his occupation.

Who epitomizes what a writer unquestionably looks like to you?
~Jean Henry Mead


Radine Trees Nehring said...

Third time to try posting to this blog!!! Maybe?

YIKES, Jean, your self-control at not hitting that guy or at least yelling is awe-inspiring. But, you're so right. Most novel authors today do not make a living with their work, no matter how fabulous (which yours is). Have to factor in the satisfaction level to explain why we continue, I guess.

Jean Henry Mead said...

Thank you, Radine! I agree about the satisfaction factor. Writing is hard work but comments like yours make it worthwhile.

Rachelle21 said...

I'd say in my case that some writers look like my friends. Since I do have many friends who have written books.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Oh, my, we writers come in all different shapes and sizes. My cardiologist was surprised that I wrote books and even more so that I was still doing it.