"If you have an attractive looking author, there's a better chance that your book will get reviewed." - Nicholas Latimer, Knopf's director of publicity, quoting a People Magazine editor (via NPR).
I'll be frank, this post's origin lies in a shamelessly shallow conversation between store employees on Sunday night. Yes, shocking as it may be, it's true: we occasionally descend from the literary empyrean to discuss matters less profound than the existential foreshadowing apparent in Dostoevsky's Crime & Punishment or the influence of the nouveau roman on early 21st century Bosnian poetics. Last night, we were trying to come up with a list of attractive authors (and yet remaining vigilant in our service to you, the book-buying public), which led to the ever-so-slightly-less-shallow topic of The Author Photo. (Pictured above, Marisha Pessl, author of Special Topics in Calamity Physics.)
What makes a good Author Photo? Are they necessary? Do you even notice them? Have you - ahem - ever bought a book based on an author photo? I'm fully prepared to admit that I do pay attention to author photos, if only in a casual way. It's often a pleasant or at least amusing distraction on the job. While I'm not an aficionado or savant, I will offer up some memorable author photos, with the invitation to suggest some of your favorites/least favorites or simply remarkable for a certain Je ne sais quoi.