I'm an old, shopworn, retired elementary teacher. After I handed in my chalk, I enjoyed doing nothing. No shoes to tie, no noses to wipe, just free time. Then God looked down or the devil looked up, saw me wallowing in sloth and put me to work as a writer. I still haven't figured out why because I'd never written anything in my life. My first novel was published by a small publisher when I turned 60.
Now, Harcourt has my latest novel. Here's my question. The author photo. I don't want one. It would definitely not be a selling point. Now, I was in the cutish category for the first half of my life, not anymore. Do the big publishers insist on author photos? I haven't brought up the subject with my editor because I'm hoping she'll forget about it.
Well, you might check your contract. Lots of them say "pony up a photo".
This is one thing you don't want to leave till the last minute.
Couple things; first of all, you're more self conscious of how you look than anyone else is.
Second, you'd be surprised what makeup artists can do, not to mention the airbrush stylings of photo shop. For proof, you need look no further than the hilarious comments posted by Kitty --who has managed to convince herself Miss Snark is Elaine Benis, AND put her in the arms of George Clooney. A situation to be devoutly wished for, but nonetheless....a far cry from reality.
If you want to see a truly wretched beyond belief awful photo of a guy who's not that bad in real life take a squint at Dan Kennedy's author photo in LOSER GOES FIRST. I think he was hungover. Or dead. Or both. No matter how you tried, you could not look worse.
And relax, Harcourt is no slouch when it comes to picking beautiful writers.