Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Does an Author's Age Matter to You?

On Monday, I asked the question on Make Mine Mystery,
Does What an Author Looks Like Make a Difference? I got quite a few answers, but the general consensus seemed to be that looks didn't matter as long as the book seemed interesting and the photo fit the tone of the book.

Today, I'm wondering about a similar question. Does An Author's Age Matter to You?

If you're young and you learn an author is pretty old, maybe my age, would that have a bearing on your decision? And vice versa. If you're a senior, or almost one, would you read books by a younger author, say in the 20's or 30's?

If age is a factor, what are your cutoff dates?


  1. None really as long as the writing and/or the story just is something worth reading to me.

    Breakfast Every Hour

  2. Good question. For me, no. It's about the writing, not the age.


  3. Age or looks do not matter -- it is whether or not the author is a good storyteller. Positive aspects come from young authors as well as senior ones.

    Betty Gordon

  4. MORGAN-- I have to say age doesn't matter, because of my own age. Certainly, I wouldn't want anyone prejudiced against me for that. But I am surprised sometimes when I see a person--I'll have them envisioned one way and a certain age, then they're older than I thought. This should prove that age really doesn't matter--it how much we can produce and how well we can do it.Celia

  5. These have been good blog topics. No, age doesn't matter though I admit to being surprised.

  6. I'm always amazed to learn that a female author has young kids at home. I don't know how she finds the time to write! I barely made it through the day when my 4 were young, and I worked 2 P/T jobs. Now they are young adults and I finally have the time to write. I don't let it influence my taste in books, though. A well-written book is still a good find, even if I could have changed the author's diaper!

  7. The age of the author doesn't bother me. The only time I have a problem with it is if the author is writing a character--younger or older than they are--and it doesn't sound authentic.

    If an 80 y/o author is writing a contemporary story with a 20 y/o protagonist--it better sound like a 20 y/o and not someone older trying to sound "hip" or "cool." Dig?

    I wrote an article for Writers in the Sky called "Act Your Age - Why the age of your character is important" because of a situation where an older author was writing a character who was younger, but it didn't sound right. Not just in voice, but in other things like tastes, hobbies, etc. It's the minor details that can ruin it as much as the major ones. It's all about character development and going deep below the surface IMO.

  8. The author's age doesn't matter to me, though I am impressed when a young person has the gumption to publish a book. Like Zetta, though, I don't like it when the author is older or younger than his/her characters and doesn't portray them accurately. I once read a children's picture book and the young girl acted like she was 40.

    Loving these great questions.


  9. Morgan,

    For me its less about age and more about gender. I find that, for the most part, I enjoy books by female authors more than their male counterparts.

    I never used to notice who wrote what I read, but now it seems I identify more with the characters penned by women.

    And yes, I do read books written by male authors. Its just that my top five favorite authors are all female.

  10. Guess I'm going against the grain here a bit but yes, an author's age matters to me. After reading many YA sci-fi and fantasy books written by teenagers, and having tried my hardest to like them, I feel that they are merely gimmicks pushed by the publisher.

    I'd probably enjoy the books a bit more if the author spent some serious time (usually years) to hone their craft, revise and refine their story, and develop as a writer. If your work is exactly the same at 23 as it was when you were 17, I'd say you weren't growing as an artist at all. I say this as someone who was published at 23.

  11. The age of the author is not nearly as important as the experience and credentials when it comes to nonfiction and the style when it comes to fiction. Style can be attained early. Polish adds to it as the weriter grows and learns his or her craft.

    I would appreciate you not using the put-down "Seniors" to refer to people (and writers) whose odometers have higher mileage than yours. The term is a pejorative denoting loss of functioning as opposed to "seasoned" which is the essense of a good meal and a good read!

    I have always been a writer but I've been an author for "only" 25 years, just sufficient time to develop a command of language that allows me to say what I really mean in a manner that leaves no doubt as to my intent. Read across the years of any long-standing writer and see how the timbre of what he or she says deepens. The only writers who burn out are the one-work wonders who had that and no more to say. It happens but the world is still better for having been exposed to their words.

  12. Okay, Morgan, first of all, you're not old!

    As for the question, an author's age doesn't matter to me.

    Although characters' ages do. I still like my heroes and heroines to be twenty/thirty somethings...even though I passed those ages decades ago!

  13. Age is just a number, but it's a number that carries life experiences with it. I guess for that reason, I find that while younger writers may do the literary stuff well, the older writers tend to have more depth.

  14. Hi Morgan,
    For me age is irrelevant,how the author looks too. I don't care if the writer is an old hag, as long as the story is good.
    Well, that's my humble opinion anyway.



  15. I usually pay no attention to the author's photo, and have no idea what age they are. Story matters, not who's writing it.

  16. Age matters to me, mainly from selfish reasons. I'm worried when my favoured authors turn out to be elderly... my dad used to say his favourite authors kept dying on him! These days, I think it better to read authors who are about my age; that way we'll live about the same life span and I won't miss any of their books, or run out of them either.

  17. Very interesting question. I never even considered finding out the age of an author. Does that say something about my lack of curiosity? Hmmm... As long as a book is well written, the author's age, sex or whatever really doesn't matter to me.

  18. Anonymous11:56 AM

    Strange I haven't seen this question asked before. My daughter and I are avid readers, most of our favorite writers are women. Hadn't thought about age though I love to see a picture and bio on the jacker. This is because I'm nosy, not because I'm prejudiced. LOL. Thanks for an interesting blog and comments.
    Jackie Griffey

  19. Anonymous3:48 PM

    I've read books in progress by writers much younger than I. (I'm 60 until December.) I could not care less about the author's appearance (or I'd never have read Stephen King) and age is not a factor either. I want the book to keep me immersed; that's my prerequisite. I think that's why I'm working so hard on my story; I want to be drawn into it, even if I did write it!
    BTW, I have a livejournal account and a google mail account. But putting it on this form for identification seems wrong. I'm shoebrera. Thanks for reading.


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