Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ah, Joy. When a Camera-Shy Writer Consents to Pose for an Author Pic.

My aversion to having my picture taken goes waaaaaay back. Look, here’s me as a toddler hiding behind a curtain to avoid my overzealous, picture-snapping relatives. (I was the first born in the family. Some say I was cute. Not that we will ever be able to glean this from the picture.)

Cut to: me, now, being asked to have a professional photo taken for the back flap of my new novel. (THIN SPACE! Release date: Sept. 2013!) Well, I can tell you my response to this request: Start looking around the room for some heavy drapes.

But I rallied and swallowed my fear and hauled myself over to my favorite children’s bookstore Cover to Cover. There, I parked out on the floor surrounded by stacks of young adult novels so I could study the back flaps. Apparently there are so many factors to consider when taking an author photo. How to pose. What to wear. Type of background. Did I want to look serious and authorly? Or go for cutsey and fun-loving? And, sigh. All of these writers are so young and hip...

See what I mean?
The awesome John Green looking awesome in a collegiate setting--

And adorable Kiera Cass (author of The Selection)--

Ahh, Lauren Myracle. What else can I say?

And Libba Bray--Wow!--Rockin' it in her cool frames--

Anyway, my next step was to clue my husband in on my author pic research. Because I had decided there was no way I was posing for a professional. I know that many of you might think I made a mistake here. You get what you pay for, etc. But you don’t have my long (sad) experience with professional photographers... I leave a long string of awkwardly posed pictures in my wake. The kind with gritted teeth and fake smiles and closed eyes and weird stick-my-fist-under-my chin poses. Upon seeing one of these pictures, many people say, “That doesn’t look like you.”  God. I hope not.

That seemed to be the goal here, for my husband the picture taker. Just make it look like me, honey.

Oh, he was such a cheerful trooper, propping me against various potentially interesting backdrops around the city, before giving up and towing me around our backyard. Leaning me against trees. In front of bushes. And flowers. Then, in the house against bookcases. And blank walls. Telling me to smile. To not smile. To look away. To not look away. To think happy thoughts. To not think happy thoughts.

"For God’s sake," he said at one point. "Why do you keep tilting your head?"

Then later, "You’re snarling at me. What kind of smile is that?"

Which got me making a beeline for the curtains.

So we called it a day and he uploaded everything and we scrolled through the hundreds of futile attempts and finally out of sheer desperation, chose one. The best I can say for it is it's the one that most looks like me. I showed one of my friends and she said it looked like I was in pain. Well, yeah. Of course I was. From taking so many damn pictures. But I sent it to the publishing company before I could change my mind.

The cheerful, youthful editor gave me a positive response then added, "We can do photoshop if you want."

I had a hearty laugh in my head about that. But rallied again. "Yeah. Sure!" I replied.

I know. I know. You want to SEE the picture don't you? Well, you are going to have to work for it just a little, my friend. In the interest of self-promotion (another painful issue for me), here's a link to my author page on Facebook. There's the blessed neck tilted picture in all its full glory.

Do you think it looks like me?


  1. While I do love this author picture (you have an AUTHOR picture!), I would be glad to scan in some of my pics of you if you want to mix it up for all the future covers!

    Very cool!

  2. Oh Lord have mercy Tom. Please. Don't.