Sunday, October 16, 2005

This Is Not A Photograph

The Guardian's Frances Watson says author photos should be abolished. I agree. However, if you (or your publisher) insist on slapping your mug on the back cover of your book, here are some tips:
  • Chins are for sprouting beards or warts; they are not for resting a pensive finger upon in the vain hope that this will make you look intelligent.
  • We assume you own a lot of books - the writer is, first and foremost, a reader, and all that tosh - so don't pose in front of your book shelves, especially if your own work is prominently featured.
  • For God's sake, don't smile - you look like a serial killer!
  • If you write horror or fantasy fiction, do not allow your photograph to be touched up to include ominous black clouds, lightning bolts, or black cats.
  • Ladies: a come-hither look may inspire stalkers but it is unlikely to win you respect as an author.
  • Fellas: pipe-smoking is uncommon and politically incorrect these days, so put it away until after the shoot, there's a chap.
  • Try not to appear too surprised to be having your picture taken. It makes you look desperate. Ian Kershaw, this means you.


Adam said...

Is this okay? I realise I've got that smile thing going, but no hat, no pipe, no bookshelf, no come-hither (at least the way I read it) gaze...

Tim said...

It's a little bit stage hypnotist, but otherwise I like it. For your next book, you should go for more of a Tom Clancy aesthetic.