People always ask me why I don’t put a photo of myself on my books.
Here are some reasons why people told me I should.
First off, I hear that readers want to know what I look like. I’m a Black man, so I suppose if I write a character from a Black person’s perspective it might make more sense, or a reader might feel more secure about the subject if it’s coming from me.
On the other hand, does that mean if it’s a White character I’m less reputable? As much as people say they don’t see color, I’m pretty sure they do. And if they don’t, I wish they would. I appreciate a world where people recognize and respect a person’s origins more than they respect a world where people just ignore it, as if identity is meaningless.
Another argument for placing my unshaved, gapped toothed mug on my book is my smile.
My journalist professor once told me I had a radio face. ‘Nuff said. I’m not saying I do have a radio face, but there is a reason why authors get dressed up and put on a serious face for their book photos. Let’s just say I’ll need to do the same, very carefully.
So, here are some other arguments against it.
There are so many other spots where a photo will make more sense, and you can change or update the picture easier.
For instance, the photo on my website, which makes me look like a serial killer, can be easily changed. The photo on my twitter account, which doesn’t make me seem like a serial killer, can be changed. My Facebook photo is chill, but is replaceable. The photo on the book is not replaceable. Once it’s bought, it’s like somebody hit you on the back and you’re stuck like that.
Another reason is, man, I’ve never seen an author pic and was like, yeah, that did it. I want this book. Never happened. However, I did see an author photo and decided that this must be a joke on me, and then promptly dropped it.
I can see how this might offend someone who already has their face on their title. If it’s you, you probably worked it up pretty good or you’re a damned good looking soul or you write horror and happen to look like you could scare Stephen King into a new genre, so it works for you. On any level, whatever.
My face will not go on my book. If you really want to see my ugly mug, you know where to find me. Maybe you don’t, but I’m still there, possibly sneering, but most likely looking away from the camera.