It's always a bit of a disappointment to finish a good book and find a hammy, predictable back-of-the-book author photo beaming at you. With the exception of Herodotus, even the best literary demigods have gotten this treatment. Fortunately for wordsmiths putting the final touches on their masterpiece, Paul Hiebert of Flavor Wire has put together a humorous primer of how not to take your picture. Here are five ways that authors go horribly wrong with clichéd press photos:

1) The Sophisticated Photograph: You know, the one where the author stares off into the distance contemplating the mysteries of the universe.

2) The Office Photograph: "The Oh-I-didn't-hear-you-enter-please-come-in-it's-really-no-problem" variety.

3) The Comfortable Photograph: "aka 'The Torso-twist-with-arm-resting-on-back-of-couch''

4) The Smoker Photograph: self-explanatory, a classic last-century pose.

5) The Hand-To-Face Photograph: "The face-alone-is-boring-and-therefore-not-enough"

Here are examples of two (visit Flavor Wire for the rest):

The Smoker Photograph featuring Hunter S. Thompson:


The Comfortable Photograph featuring Marcel Proust: