Monday, February 25, 2019

what's in an author photo?

The one question I get emailed more than anything is about the author’s photo on the back of the book. Is that a photo of me? No, it is not. I took a photo of my kids a number of years ago, and I was struck by the expression on my son’s face. I immediately thought it looked like a photo one would see on the back of a book. I made a copy of the photo, cropped out my daughters, and saved it with the thought I might use it sometime. I didn’t know how long it would take me to finish this first book. Why did I use a photo of my son instead of one of me? There are a couple of reasons for this. One, most important, no one wants my fat, orange head on the cover of anything. Two, I thought it was funny. Many author photos look a bit silly. The author looks so serious, so important, so pretentious. Look at me! I’m a serious writer. Or the photos look like something you would take your senior year of high school. I wasn’t too interested in doing that. Well, you might ask, couldn’t you have just not had included a photo at all? Yes, for sure. But I thought this would be a little more fun. The picture reminded me of a photo I once saw of Truman Capote. I can’t remember what book it was. I thought it would be tongue in cheek. An attempt, perhaps feeble, to have a little fun with the cover. I realize that it might not be too smart to mess around with something I’m actively hoping people will buy and read, especially since it is a “joke” that almost no one will get and only I will find amusing, but there you go. I assumed it would be self-evident that the photo was not me, but I’ve received a few emails letting me know that they found it hard to believe that a ten year old could have written a “story like this.” Which, I don’t know. That reaction tickles me a bit. I can’t help it.

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