October 1996


Silly Author Photos

The point of this site is not to put big pictures of me all over the Internet. It's to let you read these stories, which is why I make you read to the end of at least one of them before finding a link to my biography.

But I like to keep the site fresh, and my photo on Who Is Xander Mellish? is nearly a year old. This month, I thought it was about time to change my author photograph.

Author photos on traditional books are guaranteed to look nothing like the actual author. It's always fun to go to a book-signing and see the real-life schlub behind the airbrushed demigod.

The absolute worst photos are the literary ones, those artsy, pained portraits that seem to say "A book contract hasn't made me happy! I'm still alienated!"


I also like the author photos you see on the back of mass-market paperbacks, those ones where the sixty-year-old authors have been all whitened out to make them look as if they were thirty-five. Fiction fans: I have heard from good sources that Jackie Collins wears make-up even on her hands. In this sample mass-market photo, I have whitened out my face so you can't tell that I am 28.

Actually, one of my own favorite pictures of myself is another cartoon - one by Don Bevan, whose celebrity caricatures I fell in love with at Sardi's, the old theater hangout on Broadway. I wrote to Don in Studio City, California, asking if he'd do a sketch of me, and he kindly did so on the back of an envelope. I think it's an uncanny likeness, seeing that we never met in person. You can see that cartoon at the top of this page.