The prevailing wisdom among those who write business proposals for a living is that you should never include photographs of the folk you are proposing to do a job. The rationale is that you do not know the team who will be evaluating your proposal, their likes and dislikes, biases and other personal quirks. You may propose Charlie Lauren as your manager and Charlie may possess the world’s finest credentials. On paper, they don’t come any better than good old Charlie. The evaluator may be quite impressed and willing to hire your company and Charlie in particular till he sees in Charlie’s photo that she is a slightly overweight Asian woman. The evaluator does not wish to work with a woman, definitely does not wish to work with an unattractive woman and cannot abide the thought of working with an unattractive Asian woman. Your company will not get the job. These days, it’s all the rage to put author’s photos on the dust jackets. I wonder if this kind of marketing ploy can backfire. I’ve never seen C.J. Cherryh’s photo on a dust jacket but I have seen Anne McCaffrey’s grandmotherly countenance on her books. I know not seeing C.J.’s photo has never prevented me from buying her work and I don’t think McCaffrey’s picture stopped me buying her writing. I still buy Tepper’s books despite having seen her picture. I had never seen Moon’s picture but I still bought some of her stuff. I saw Heinlein’s picture and Asimov’s and Resnick’s. I have never seen Simmons; I have seen Donaldson in person. Knowing what these men looked like didn’t help me buy their books nor did it preclude me from buying them. I was surprised that Resnick wasn’t black; I’d built an image in my mind that he must be but he isn’t. I saw DeLint in person and have yet to buy any of his stuff. So, the question is: does the fact some publishers insist on providing author pictures help us to buy their work or does it have an opposite effect? I suspect Katherine the Great or Flung Poo may have definitive answers but I don’t.