Flavorwire just dropped a list of different type of author promo photos, most of which included some type of big head resting on a hand. But you can see that Malcolm Gladwell types at a desk too! And Ana Veciana Suarez has a mean left hook! (Who's Ana Veciana-Suarez?)
Surprisingly, there is one category of author photos that were completely left out. The I'm-A-Rich-White-Guy-Genre-Writer-With-A-Smug-Look-On-My-Face shots.
You'll know these shots because a) these books are always in airports b) these huge mugs take up the whole back cover of the book c) these guys make ton more money writing than you ever will.
Let's take a look.
James Patterson. (doubles as a hand leaner!)
And the list of course can go on and on.
God bless the genre-thriller novel, really. It will become retro-cool eventually, just like Jim Thompson or those other hard-boiled noir guys. Ungrateful mid-list / low-list authors should realize this is who they're getting their paychecks from, not avid fans but from the excesses of these guys. The only way to make your own cash is to realize it's okay to be smug and write a best-selling genre novel. Then it'll be easy to pose like that.