Well, maybe not exactly shocking, but...I was working on the back jacket of Trang, and I decided to remove my author photo.
I have been told on multiple occasions that you simply must have an author photo--a really, really good-looking author photo. Of course I have an EXTREMELY professional-looking author photo on this very Web site, which has had many benefits, including allowing for me to reconnect with a pen pal I started writing to when I was in junior high. (Hi Stella!) But that's not the kind of photo they mean.
I know someone who clearly received the same advice and took it. She is a very, very serious journalist who published a very, very serious book on war. And her author photo looks like she's trying to be cast in a remake of Charlie's Angels. Don't get me wrong--it's a great-looking photo, and she is a beautiful woman, but honestly, would a man be expected to tart it up to sell a book on war? When said serious book on war was seriously and favorably reviewed in the serious New York Times, would the review have featured a HUGE reproduction of that author photo? Because, yah, yah, war is bad and it's really important to understand troubled countries, but hey--did you see how hott that author chick is? Rrrrawrrr!
So, I'm taking off the photo--I'm just not comfortable with the concept, I guess, and I've had enough problems with stalkers. Instead, I'm putting in that quote from New Podler instead. It's sexaaaay!
What else did I do today? I spiffed up the e-book descriptions a bit, since Christmas is coming and typically (or, as typically as people know--this is maybe a three-year-old market) there's a post-holiday bump in sales as everyone who got a Kindle or Nook for Christmas starts looking for titles to put on it. The problem is basically that someone, somewhere decided that multiple-paragraph book descriptions were bad, so all the "about the author" and "from the book jacket" stuff got run up together with the description and the whole thing is basically unreadable. It's especially annoying because when you're typing in the book description, the paragraph breaks work fine--it's only in the actual finished product that it's screwed up.