Something I’ve been thinking about for a while now isthe author photo. Since I’ve written books and am starting to build a little following for it–thank you guys!–it’s becoming more and more a reality. I’m going to have to do this.
Because of that, I find myself torn between two distinct forms and not big on either.First, we have the standard pic. This one is of me from March of 2011, specifically the Patrick Rothfuss signing I went to. (The original version of this picture includes Rocky and Jonathan, two of the best and most different guys I’ve ever known. I wish I could read as fast as them sometimes.)
It’s a good picture. It’s got me, dressed like me–black t-shirt and denim shorts as much as possible. It’s a good look for a gigantic guy like me.
But. Double chin. Not great. Also, this picture does not scream “writer” or “novelist.” It doesn’t even relate to the tone of my stories. It’s just the picture of a guy who happens to be me.
In all fairness, while this is a good picture, it’s not a good author photo.
Like my actual picture above, I think this picture has a few good elements as well. It has the right wardrobe, like the previous image, though this one also has sunglasses, a pretty common thing to wear, since my eyes are sensitive to light.
There are two big problems with this picture. First, I don’t own it. For those of you in the know, and I hope many of you are, this is familiar as the headline picture for the podcast I co-host with Dan Campisi, Reality Check Fail – Pop Culture Radio. Rob Duenas drew it and did a fine job of it. But I can’t put a picture I don’t own on the back of every book I write. (Consequently, the first picture also has this problem.)
The second problem is that I didn’t draw this picture. As an artist of small ambition, I think it’s unfair to put up a drawing of me as an author photo and it not be a drawing I’ve done. Some writers have used drawings of themselves as author photos, but I feel more and more this isn’t something I need to do.
My solution is to go a different direction. I’m going to pose my own photo, use my camera, have a friend of mine take it in a specific location (my living room), in a specific setting (while I’m in my recliner on a sunlit afternoon). I’ll have my dark clothes on, though I’ll leave the sunglasses off. I even have a specific pose and facial expression in mind, one that should convey the right sense of me as a writer and the teller of the story.
That will be a great image. I need to work out a little more first and get into better shape. I have been for a while, but I think I can do better still.