September 18th, 2010 / 7:23 pm

Write a Book, Then Take a Picture of Yourself Looking Like a Douche and Put It Inside

Flavorwire has spoken out against the five major offenses frequently made in author photos. For my next book I want to take an author photo that breaks all five where I’m smoking while putting my hands to my face while twisting my torso to rest my arm on the couch in my office and supporting my head upon┬ámy fist.

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  1. Owen Kaelin

      For a while now I’ve been saying that the author photo in my first book (whichever one I end up finishing first, eventually) will be a picture of me eating a big sandwich.

      …But for some reason I seem to recall seeing another writer’s page where his photo showed him doing the same. If I had it should’ve clicked and made me think, “Aw, hell”, and yet… . Hmm… .

      Maybe instead I’ll have myself lying dead-like in a gutter, clutching crumpled papers.
      That would say more about me than the former.

  2. Guest

      What’s the verdict on 3D holograms of THE AUTHOR buttfingering Nabokov?

  3. Owen Kaelin

      I remember, now: he was sitting in a fast-food restaurant with his food. He wasn’t actually eating a sandwich.

  4. Owen Kaelin

      You’ve thrown me for a whirl, there, but I’m not looking forward to the verdict.

      All I can tell you is: The Author will not be me.

  5. Guest

      Duh. He’s me. I’m the one who desecrates corpses. You know this. YOU KNOW THIS!

  6. Guest

      I was joking about Nabokov’s butt and my finger.

      I’m actually planning on using this great headshot of me laughing at what’s being said on NPR. So witty!

  7. Owen Kaelin

      I suppose the green-suffused avatar should’ve clued me in. Unfortunately, I’m hopelessly disconnected.

  8. Owen Kaelin

      So, there’ll be a complementary CD, then?

      Will it include the sounds of… well… nevermind.

  9. Guest

      It’s my twitter picture. The green was to show support for something. Can’t remember what, but I doubt the situation has improved. Situations rarely do. We’re owning this thread man. Hot streak!

  10. ryder

      mine will be snorting a line of coke while sporting big hipster glasses; i considered a pic of me plunging head first into a pile of coke a la scarface but then i’d lose the shot of the lensless frames…

  11. Jhon baker

      This is why I didn’t include an author photo.

  12. John Minichillo

      My favorite is the Underworld photo of DeLillo. He missed a belt loop and it’s humanizing and makes him look like a dork, but probably no one noticed.

  13. Guest
  14. Owen Kaelin

      Oh, man. That negative space is compelling.

      I don’t even want to read any more of his books, now. I just want to stare at the guy’s beautiful, beautiful negative space.

      …Sigh… .

  15. Owen Kaelin

      Why? Is your palm permanently stuck to your cheek, or something?

      Just buy a hat that reads “I’m always like this”, and we’ll forgive you.

  16. chris r

      I always liked seeing “the office photograph” for some reason. I’m a voyeur i guess.

  17. Dawn.

      I actually don’t have a problem with the office photos or the smoking photos. They just seem like quick snapshots to me, like their boyfriend/girlfriend took them. People smoke. People sit in offices. Big deal. Sometimes people take pictures of them while they’re doing those everyday things. I don’t think it looks weird. Except for Hunter S. Thompson’s smoking picture. But he can do whatever the fuck he wants. He’s motherfucking Hunter S. Thompson.

      Personally, I don’t want to use an author photo at all.

  18. Khakjaan Wessington

      Corso had the right idea in that Beat documentary. His glasses are tilted at a galling 30 degree angle. You know, the shot where he’s going off on “there’s talent, and then there’s genius… and then there’s god”

      Of course, the next trend will be to get all ‘zany’ and authors will look like imps trying to have a good time.

  19. Khakjaan Wessington

      But you know, that’s something of a cliche. And I assure you, even the bums of SF refuse to sleep in the gutter. Are you saying you’re better (worse) than them? The space between two cars is their toilet!

      Now, a pic of you fishing out of you toilet, or watching tv in the gutter on a comforter–now that’s a way to bring it over the top.

  20. jesusangelgarcia

      If I can get away with it, I’m not using an author photo. I take no responsibility for badbadbad. It’s the people’s story. I’m just the guy w/ the bullhorn.

  21. Amy McDaniel
  22. Owen Kaelin

      No, actually… in my mind I was thinking Edgar Allen Poe.

      I wasn’t referring to homeless people. I would never, ever talk about homeless people that way.

      People don’t realize how big this problem is, especially in a city like Boston: they’re invisible. They’re on the bus, they’re on the street, you can’t identify them. They’re like everyone else. Nobody knows they’re there, nobody with a job and a home knows that Boston has a homeless problem.

      (Weird how, even though I’ve just moved, I still consider myself a Bostonian. I discovered today that when it comes to Yankees vs. Red Socks: I’m suddenly a vehement Red Sox fan, even though I haven’t liked baseball since I quit Little League. I found myself honestly wishing I owned a Red Sox hat.)

      By the way: I was almost homeless, once, myself. Luckily, I had my family to fall back on, and they were understanding. Not everyone is so lucky.

      And… yeah, I realized as I wrote it that that photo idea wasn’t really original. I’ve seen enough photos of people pretending to be dead people. They’re amusing at first, and amusing again when there’s something new about it… so given all of that: methinks this wouldn’t work as an author photo.

  23. Owen Kaelin

      The casual ones are the best, and then the ‘normal’ portraits which don’t put on airs but only say: this is what I look like.

      I also dislike the ‘posed casual’ ones . . . which, I guess, means that I’d also dislike my own suggestions. Oh, well. It’s good I found out now rather than later.

      The Hitchens photo is one of the more ludicrous, I think . . . knowing Hitchens.

  24. Owen Kaelin


      Amy: That’s hilarious. That’s one of the best author photos I’ve ever seen.

      I’ve gotta hand it to the guy.

      EDIT: AND he’s got his shoes on!

  25. Laura

      I tried to take a new author photo using all of those cliches, but it was actually pretty challenging. I didn’t have enough hands to put my fist under my chin, smoke, put my hands to my face AND casually lean on a couch. It was tough.