“The Camel” or “How My Friends Tried To Ruin My Writing Career”

About a week ago, I got an email from my publisher requesting an author headshot.  As you might imagine, I immediately began to freak out.  I have been dreading the author photo for months now.  First off, I’m not even sure whether I approve of the concept.  As a reader, I sort of hate knowing the face behind the story.  Secondly, cameras and I don’t really get along.  The hilariously-deadpan photo from my “About Me” section?  That was me trying to look approachable.  And now I had to take a photo that would live on the back of Peter Nimble forever!  In desperation, I reached to friends via Twitter and Facebook asking for tips and advice.  Here’s what I got:

A)  “Laura F.” suggested I put my hand under my chin so people know I have a heavy brain.

B)  When I asked my agent what to do, he mentioned how much he loved J.R.R. Tolkein’s author photo and wondered whether I could do something like that.

C)  “Go Sleeveless!” was the advice from my friend Kyle

D)  Matt B. suggested I try and mix in a little Oscar Wilde.

E)  John E. recommended I show off some of my other skills by flashing a yo-yo1

F)  Several friends warned me against holding any books, so I decided to use them to prop up my elbow in the hopes it might further underline the heaviness of my brain (see “A”)

G)  Knowing my love for Shel Silverstein, “Rob O.” wondered whether I should grow a beard like my icon.

H)  My wife, not wanting to waste her weekend, recommended I hire Olan Mills to take the photo.

Put them all together and here’s the result:

It might be hard to see behind the glasses, but I also threw in a little “blue steel” to win over moms and lady-librarians.  Overall, I’d say it looks pretty damn good … glad to know my friends are looking out for me.2

  1. Fact: I used to be a professional yo-yo demonstrator
  2. The title of this post comes from the old maxim that a camel is “a horse designed by committee”

7 Comments Leave a Comment

  • Roboseyo says:

    would have been funnier if you’d retouched an actual photo of yourself… given that this is the photo I had on the side of my blog for years, and it’s still the thing about my blog which people mention most often when I meet readers, I’m probably not the person you should be consulting here.


  • Roboseyo says:

    by the way, the “hilariously deadpan” photo you have IS awesome.. it looks like you’re thinking, “PLEASE don’t look at my computer screen, unexpected visitor.”

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by John Schu, Jonathan Auxier. Jonathan Auxier said: New on The Scop: "The Camel" or "How My Friends Tried to Ruin my Writing Career" http://bit.ly/gvCH08 […]

  • david pasivirta says:

    http://www.jamesmoes.com is another good place to start, you could have him come down and see you, he’d make you look dreamy.

  • kbryna says:

    oh my god my second grade (or was it first?) school picture had that incredibly fierce laser background. I remember having to…convince my parents to let me have that, and not the traditional blue or “forest” setting. I actually *wanted* lasers behind me.

    In my parents’ wedding photos album, there is one that continues to shock and amaze me: their faces, somehow imposed inside a champagne glass. This was an early 70s wedding, and clearly their photographer was way ahead of his time, because that champagne-glass photo look has yet to catch on.

    Possibly now is the time for authors to begin using that in-a-glass look for their cover photos?

  • Lynne K says:

    I think you should use the Sherlock Holmes version of your “about me” photo on this site. But with lasers. Lasers are awesome.

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