Awkward Author Photo: The Contest

I’m running a contest.

I want you to take an author photo of yourself. You know — an author photo, the photo that is meant to go in the back of the book? Or the one that exists on the author’s website, Twitter, and other marketing materials?

Author photos can be classy, great, compelling, curious, funny.

But some of them can be a little bit awkward.

(The hand under the chin, for instance: a classic awkward author look.)

So! I thought, HA HA HA let’s do that.

I’ll run a contest whereupon you take a truly awkward author photo, and then we all applaud and have a good time and further, I give out some prizes. Because, mmmm, sweet sweet prizes.

The best, most awkward(ly hilarious) photo, will be decided by all of you with a vote.

And the winner there will get:

One terribleminds t-shirt (either Certified Penmonkey or Art Harder).

And one terribleminds mug (either Certified Penmonkey or Art Harder).

(Merch visible here.)

Then, I’ll pick two other random winners to get a brand new set of terribleminds Post-It notes, which at the top say: #amwritingmotherfuckers (no image yet — still tinkering with the font and design — but I’m sure it’ll be cool and even if it’s not WHATEVER IT’S FREE).

Send your awkward author photos to me at: terribleminds at gmail dot com.

Make sure the subject says: [Awkward Author Photo Submission]

You have one week for the contest — due Wednesday, September 24th, noon EST. You can take them with whatever camera you so choose — and the photos can be awkward, weird, horrible, twisted. (Please don’t send me anything super-gross.) You can’t use someone else’s photo; gotta be your own. Have fun with it.

All your shots will go into one Flickr album and I’ll link to it here next week.

I will open this to international folks, but: international winners pay their own shipping.

One entry per person. Multiple entries disqualifies you.

Snap your shots.

Send ‘em in.

Any questions? Shoot ‘em in the comments.

29 comments

  • My favourite part about the hand under the chin move is that the head isn’t resting on the hand, the hand is just kind of hovering in mid-air, just under the chin. I think the last author who could use that pose without looking like a doofus was Jane Austen.

  • Can’t wait to see these. But man, how do you come up with these ideas? And shouldn’t you be writing?! These non-writing activities of yours are interfering with my writing!

    • I think there should definitely be a cat limit. No less than six cats should be in any author photo. Four dogs if you are a dog person. Minimum 20 ferrets if you are into mustelids. Of course, a photo with twenty ferrets would just be a blur-ball anyway

        • 20 ferrets, let’s see…at the end of the day, you will have 17 sleeping ferrets in a cage, one will be burrowed under the couch cushions, one will be in your kitchen cabinet, your car keys will be missing, and the last ferret will have used your credit card to order cheap jewelry of the home shopping channel to give to the newly-arrived girls from the escort service, also being paid for with your credit card. You have been warned.

  • Aw jeez, Chuck, now you’ve gone and reminded me that, some day, I might actually have to go get one of those bloody things done for REAL! Up until now (for my Blog posts and stuff) I’ve been side-stepping the issue by using a hand-drawn cartoony-version of myself instead…

    (And even THAT’s been Photoshopped…)

    I’m guessing I can’t do an awkward author cartoon for this competition then? (Hey, if you don’t ask… Can’t blame a girl for trying, right?)

    • Come on Wendy, I know we’re all hiding behind our computer screens 95% of the time… but doing this will give us all a chance to know who’s who and put face to names. :D

      I mean, haven’t you ever been curious of what we all look like behind the screen names? Like me for example… okay, my screen name is French, but I’m an Aussie. :)

      Go on… :P Take that photo… :) Ya never know, it might turn out better than you think.

  • September 19, 2014 at 6:42 PM // Reply

    I”m looking at the pictures from my readings, and there are sure a lot of awkward photos there. There’s a reason my actual author photos on my books are outdoor (hiking) shots taken from a distance. I’ve been going for the Lemony Snicket not-quite-recognizable approach. Hiding my secret identity, in fact.

  • Of course, you’ve hit on something I was thinking about on the same day you wrote this (spooky!!) and that is, the author photo. I have given the subject some thought, as I hate being in photos generally, preferring to disappoint people in person– and I hate most author photos more because they seem take a warm, inviting mind and pleasant, lively face as a starting point, then drain the life away and stick an iced pole way, way south of the formerly lively face, which kills all pleasantry. And then, when a person with the serious imagination required to make a non-twee book about fairy wars has been made to look as tame and bland as Ethel Mertz on a Sunday, snap! the pic is done, and another uncomfortable, boring face stares back at me from the display at B&N, and I wonder why that smart writer looks the same as every other writer on every other book.

    It’s a plot!

    But I can’t help wanting to resist, and look like myself, my real self, much as I loved dear old Ethel.

  • The worst part is I’m pretty sure I have some legit photos from the first “author photo” shoot I did, back in late 2012, that would work for this… like, actual photos that I considered using.

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