Why Don’t Authors Smile?

My sister Linda Woods took a tour of mystery & thriller author websites the other day and wonders…

Why did the author choose that photo for his home page?! Is looking mysteriously constipated a sales tool nobody told us about? Does being successful mean you can’t look happy about it? Does smiling make you less cool, less smart, less reliable?

So I pulled down some mysteries and thrillers off my shelf and did a casual survey of author photos. And my sister is right. The majority of authors try to look as grim and tough (okay, constipated) as the heroes they write about. The only consistently smiling faces I could find were women authors  like Sue Grafton, Elizabeth George and Denise Hamilton, even though they are writing about tough characters, too.

The only smiling guys I could find were Steve Cannell (if you were as happy, rich and successful as he is, you’d be smiling all the time, too) and Carl Hiaasen (but that’s because he writes comic thrillers). On some, it depends on the book they are writing.

Parkerhappy Judging by his author photos, Robert ParkerParkerdog_1 is happy to be writing westerns and Jesse Stone novels…but would rather be walking his dog that writing a Spenser novel.

Tjparker On the other hand, my friend T.J. Parker seems to get Tjparkerhappy happier with each book…and his increasing paychecks. In his next author photo, expect a grin from ear-to-ear.

Coben1 Coben2 And take a look at Harlan Coben. The way things are going, in his next book, he’ll have fangs.

I know what you’re thinking…Lee is going through his books looking at author photos? Why is he wasting time doing that?

Why do you think?

Yeah, writing’s not going too well today, but it’s only 10:30, there’s still time.

7 thoughts on “Why Don’t Authors Smile?”

  1. Funny you should post about this… When I took my new author photo–it’s on my blog, but hasn’t been uploaded to my website yet–I wondered whether I was smiling too much. But what the heck…


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