“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”