So, yesterday an anonymous commenter said s/he wouldn’t buy anything in support of Jay because of the photo on his blog.
I think they meant the one right over there on the left.
Now, personally I like that picture, it’s got some movement in it and some attitude. It gives me an idea what to expect in a Jay Stringer story and I think that’s a good thing.
I remember when I was trying to get a blurb for my first novel and the only writer I knew was Peter Robinson (our wives worked in the same office) but my publisher said it wasn’t a good idea to lead readers down the cobblestone path of decent Inspector Banks only to then hit them over the head with my foul language, violence and ugly Toronto streets.
So the author photo can serve a purpose, but it’s still very hard to get right. My friend, Ray Robertson (he’s written some terrific novels and I recommend them all but a good place to start is What Happened Later, his fictionalized account of Jack Kerouac’s return to his Quebec roots mixed with a story of the coming of age of a young Canadian writer) has put together the Three Rules of the Author Photo:
1) Keep your hands away from your face (particularly damning is placing a wistful forefinger to your chin.
2) No smoking (even though, undoubtedly, you're a tortured soul -- hence the nicotine addiction -- and, obviously, you're incredibly busy with important literary matters, hence the fact you can't put down your cigarette for the ten seconds it takes to snap a picture).
3) No pets in the picture, please (your acute sensitivity and deep humanitarianism will doubtless come through in your writing).
(Note if you can somehow manage to have an animal on your lap while simultaneously puffing away and stroking your temple or chin, feel free to ignore the previous piece of advice.)
Well, certainly Jay has broken one of those with the smoke and his hands are close to his face if not actually touching it and for all we know there may be a dog nearby so that should pretty much do it.
I have a photo that shows up on Blogger sometimes of me reading a book with my dog in my lap. He’s too big to be a lapdog but he was a rescue and has some serious seperation anxiety and tends to stay pretty close to me. So, he really does get up in the big chair with me when I’m reading sometimes. Still, that’s not an official author photo.
The other day Adrian McKintey blogged about Shel Silverstein’s scary author photo and really, this is on a kids’ book?
Me, I’m still using a photo taken before my hair went completely gray. That’s not breaking any rules. Is it?