Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Picture Is Worth 60,000 Words

Apparently I’ve been going about this book-selling business all wrong. I thought it was the writing that was important, but it turns out the author photo is of at least equal importance in getting anyone to read your book in the first place.

National Public Radio reported yesterday that publishers were told: “If you have an attractive-looking author, there’s a better chance that your book will get reviewed.” Knopf’s publicity director Nicholas Latimer said the implication was “you have to have an attractive author first, and then if they’ve written something interesting, they might review it.”

I would really like to get my book MR. MALCOLM’S LIST reviewed, so I would like your help in determining which of my photos would most likely get me that starred review in Publisher’s Weekly or Romantic Times. (Or get me reviewed, period. Right now, none of the reviewers will even reply to my e-mails.)

You would think I would have a distinct advantage over many other authors as my husband is a professional photographer. However, in our house we have the same problem exemplified in the old proverb: “The shoemaker’s son always goes barefoot.” My husband is always shooting photos of other people, so I don’t have as many photos of myself as you might think.

But I have managed to scrape together some of the photos he’s shot over the years (I mean, as long as they’re attractive, right? Who cares if the photo is ten years old? I WANT A REVIEW! I WANT A REVIEW!)

Now I need your help. Which is the winning shot, the one that will tell all prospective readers and reviewers: “This woman is one serious writer. But she’s witty, playful, and entertaining, too. With one look into her eyes you can see deep into her soul, and you know she’s someone you’d like to spend a few hours with in sparkling conversation. But she’s not too deep; she’s not one of those literary snobs who think they’re smarter than you and are out to prove it. She’s not out to change the world; she just wants to enable you to escape it for a short while.”

Okay, maybe that’s a bit of a reach. So just tell me, which picture would make you want to read and review my book?

The first picture is my author photo for INCOGNITO, which did get reviewed. Maybe they like long hair? The second picture is my current author photo for MR. MALCOLM'S LIST. Apparently it's not generating much interest. Here are some other choices:

Personally, I think I make a hot Mona Lisa. (Don't I look a little like Neve Campbell?)

For more information about me and my book, please visit (Warning: My book is about as serious as my doctored photo of Marie Antoinette. Tolstoy it is not.)

Click here to listen to the story on NPR:


  1. I think you should send in the Mona Lisa pic.

  2. I just discovered your blog through a friend of a friend. If you don't mind my weighing in: I prefer the 1st photo. When I read a book, I think of it as having been written to me. If, in her photo, the author is not looking at me, I feel disconnected. just an opinion

  3. Disney! How did I miss your post? I just saw today I had one unmoderated post. I hope you didn't think I didn't love you any more.

    Mona Lisa, huh? I think you just like that one because my eyes aren't so big and round. :)

  4. Hello Beff,

    Thanks for weighing in. A lot of people felt the same way you do. Maybe I'd better hire my husband to take another picture.