Author Photo Angst

You know that messed up dog you found in the alley a couple of years ago? The one you took home because you felt sorry for it? And now every time you use the can opener it gets upset and chews its back leg for half an hour until all the fur is gone and won’t grow back?

That’s me thinking about having my author photo taken. I am the dog. I am chewing.

I am irrationally freaked out about the entire concept of an author photo.

(And for the shrinks in the audience, yes, I am absolutely transferring other more rational fears – like rewrites and sales and the impending zombie apocalypse – into this ridiculous thing. I know. It doesn’t make it better.)

I really don’t like having my portrait taken. This is different than having my photo taken. If you pull out a camera at a party, I’m totally fine with that, especially if I’ve been drinking and have oven mitts on my ears. But a portrait is something else entirely. It’s so…unnatural. The whole concept of posing is beyond me. I feel like my arms suddenly grow two feet longer, and I no longer have control of my limbs. I am awkward. I trip over myself. I. CAN’T. STOP. GRINNING. And if you tell me not to smile, IT JUST GETS WORSE.

Also I am unreliable in the photogenic department. Sometimes it’s okay. Sometimes a photo of me shows up, and I think, “Hey! So it turns out I don’t have four chins and a hunchback. Awesome!” And other times…wow. It’s like Picasso rearranged my face and gave me a snaggle tooth.

And okay, I can own that, right? Sometimes I have Picasso face. Except my agent just happens to mention that they’re counting on a hot photo. She has been pimping the hot photo, and I have been instructed to “Work it like a cheap whore.”

And I’m all, “Dude! You don’t understand. Sometimes my chin is where my ear is supposed to be!”

Seriously, that is not attractive.

We are weeks and weeks and WEEKS away from the photo actually needing to be taken, and I’ve already vetoed everything in my closet except for an apron, some driving gloves and an orthopedic bootie. I have researched blow dry-only salons – we have that in L.A. – and am agonizing between the “southern comfort” (volume) and the “cosmopolitan” (loose curls).

The cosmopolitan, right? RIGHT?!


Only one thing is for sure. When the time comes, I’m drinking. Possibly a lot. There’s every chance I’ll end up with oven mitts on my ears, and then everything will be fine.