Thursday, 19 June 2014

To smile or not to smile, that is the question...

A recent article by Jill Dawson in The Author, raised the subject of the author photograph. Should an author take on a serious expression in order to present a "professional" image?

But it seems readers prefer their authors to appear "friendly" and therefore a smiling photograph is more fitting.

Being a writer of mystery/crime fiction, as opposed to romance or even light-hearted 'cozies', my inclination was towards a neutral expression, not one of me grinning from ear to ear. But when I went to have my author photo taken my husband and the photographer colluded in flattering me into agreeing to smile.

Now while engaged on social media sites, I cringe at seeing my smiling self looking back at me whenever I post a comment on Facebook or Twitter. And there are times when the Cheshire cat look is embarrassingly out of place, such as when posting a downbeat message or responding to sad or distressing news that a friend has posted on Facebook.

Perhaps, just as when Facebook gives a choice of thumbnail (or none) when sharing a link, they could devise a system where we could opt for our happy, sad or neutral selves to accompany our comments, as and when appropriate. Molly Mouse demonstrates below...

Standard pose
Serious pose
Sad pose


  1. The author photo has been the most taxing thing for me of this whole process. I hate having my photo taken at any time and have only had one flattering one taken which was when I was 21 and would be terribly misleading to use now!! As I have been writing in secret it's not been a problem, my lovely blue rose has done the job, but now I've 'come out' as it were I feel I should have a photo to replace the rose at some point. I think I might have to go to a professional to have any chance of ever coming up with something I could use - the thought of having different ones for different situations is definitely appealing! I do like your photo Wendy, you look relaxed but still professional - very good!!

    1. Thank you, Georgia! You're very kind! I think most people dislike photos of themselves, to be honest. The photographer I used had a picture of herself on her website which was very relaxed. I said, I'll have one of those, please!