What do people think of author photos on the book jacket of a thriller?
I sent my editor the same photo I have posted here, but I'm wondering if a smiley faced writer is the right image to project. Should I do a more serious one or is the smiley okay? Can't do much about the ol' chubby cheeks ;-)

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You've got me. I photograph so differently at different times and different angles that I have an awful time getting a picture appropriate for use on book covers or promotional posters. I frequently have people comment that BOTH of the pictures they are looking at can't be me. Not even my hair photographs the same color. Some pictures it looks grey, some white, in my favorite picture it looks reddish brown. Streaks....all natural. I don't know what to tell you. Go with either the advice you get, or whatever you feel is right, or just forego the picture and let everyone guess who you are at book signings. I will say that anything real is better than anything contrived or pretentious, in my humble opinion.

:-p Mari
Why don't you take a look at some photos of well-known thriller writers. I see nothing wrong with the handsome smiling face above, but maybe readers like to think of thriller authors as a tad threatening and gloomy.
Whatever you do, don't do that ridiculous pose where you place your hand on your chin, or anything else even closely resembling that pose. That kind of post is so uptight and fake.

I like the photo you have as your Crimespace avatar. I disagree that a thriller writer should take on some persona to fit the mood of the book. It just looks phony and it makes the author seem that he/she is trying too hard. Just be yourself.
It's very difficult to be:
As Bad-Ass as Andrew Vachss
As Handsome as Robert Crais
As Pleasantly-Pleased as Harlan Coben.
As Academically-dorky as Dan Brown
As Tough as Mickey Spillane.
Guess I'll take a serious one, too, and let the publisher decide.
I think I'd choose a picture that shows some of my personality. The reader is going to get to know some of you by reading between the lines. If you think of yourself as a happy person, go with smiling. If you think of yourself as more serious, go serious. I doubt too many readers choose books based on author photos, except maybe to pass on those that look pretentious. (Like that hand on chin thing. I;d stay away from smoking jackets and pipes, too.)
Darn, smoking jacket was my next move ;-)
i'd advise against this one:



but seriously, i like your photo. i don't think there's anything wrong with a friendly and approachable thriller writer.
my publicity photo story:

i sent the photo i'm using in my avatar to my editor. i was pretty proud of it. she refused to use it, telling me that readers want writers who look approachable. next time around i told her i wanted it to be used. it was. feedback through friends has been that readers don't like it. i look scary and mean, and maybe a bit silly. so in the end i think my editor was probably right.
Well, with 19 books under your belt, I think you can be as scary as you wanna be ;-)
There is a photo of someone, I think it is you, sitting in front of some masonry that would be great, particularly if there was a hint of a smile. If you took the landscape photos on your page, you are a very talented photographer, so my guess is that you are usually on the OTHER side of the camera.

:-) Mari
But, it's seems kind of obvious you like to smile.
How about a serious, but, "I know something you don't know" smile . . .

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