My editor (NOT Alvina, an editor I've been working with on a non-fiction project) and I discussed the author photo for a book about South America. I said I thought it would be fun to have a picture of me in Cuzco, Peru, instead of just the usual boring head shot. She agreed.
So I sent her the picture, warning her that *I* looked kind of dorky but that thought the background (the light and that beautiful Inca stonework) was worth it. She agreed: well, she didn't say "You're right, you do look like a dork," she said it was "a nice picture" and that she liked the idea of the picture going along with the book, too. [NOTE: The images are sharper and the colors are deeper in Photoshop than here on blogger.]
So I asked what size they wanted, she found out, and I sent her this, as instructed, a little bigger than the final print sized so the designer could crop it:
A few days later I got an email from her saying:
"So much for thinking outside the box," and then giving the designer's comments....I better not quote them, but the gist was that they wouldn't use the picture because:
*the eyes were closed
*the sun was shining right on my face (that was the whole point, it was in the Temple of the Sun I'd written about in the book)
*all the other author photographs were head shots
blah blah blah
I'll get another picture taken, I should have a real one anyway -- but it seems bizarre to me that when the author and editor both like a picture we can't use it. If I don't mind looking like a dork why should the designer? I WILL get a professional to take a real author photograph; but I don't expect to be going to Peru anytime soon so it will have to be taken here. I have mixed feelings about how important it all is anyway: has anyone ever not bought a book because they didn't like the author's photograph, or bought one because they did? But come to think of it, probably how you look does have a lot to do with whether or not you're invited to schools, and red isn't the best hair color for me (what was I thinking?)so it will be just as well to have a better photograph. But I still think the picture should be up to the author.