Happy 12/12/12! On Monday, author Laurie Boyle Crompton wrote about coming up with her author photo for publicity use for her upcoming young adult novel, BLAZE. She wrote that her publicist asked for a photo that fit the book’s personality: “comic book nerdy-cool.” Even though the photo isn’t going to be used on the book jacket . . .
So I ask you: Why do publishers sometimes use an author photo and sometimes don’t, especially on the book jacket? I bet most authors don’t especially like having it on there. Also, do most publishers consider the book’s content and how the author photo fits the mood of the book?
(My publisher for my first picture book Winnie Finn, Worm Farmer asked me to provide a black-and-white photo of moi for their website, no suggestions as to mood or personality. But they never used the one I sent them, as far as I know. Good. I didn’t like it anyway. But I did wonder, inferiority-complexly, why it wasn’t used. *sniff!*)
Like, what’s their criteria? Do you have to be gorgeous, like Laurie, or as handsome as Varian Johnson? If so, why on earth did they ever use Shel Silverstein’s author photo on his book jackets? I mean, let’s face it, that man’s countenance would frighten even Wednesday Addams.
I looked over the stack of recently-read children’s and ya books on my dresser. Most don’t use author photos on their book jackets, and the ones that do aren’t similar in genre or content. (I’ve shown a few of them here.) They range from picture books to middle-grade to young adult genres. Hardcover and paperback. The photos don’t really evoke a mood or personality; in general, they’re just really nice head shots.
So what’s the deal with author photos, huh? Does it have to do with the imprint? Is it printing-related? Is it decided on a whim?
Your guess (put it in the comments) is as good as mine. Probably better. Somebody out there probably knows the answer–if there is one.