Authors have to be pretty careful about the photos they choose to have on their dust jackets. Not only is it remarkably easy to fall prey to one of those pesky author photo clichés, but those first baby-faced pictures that grace debut novels might just go down in history — if they’re lucky. To that end, we scoured the web to pull together a few surprising, intense, and charmingly youthful author photos from some of our very favorite authors’ first works — check them out after the jump, and as always, be sure to link us to any great ones we’ve missed in the comments!
A very intense Norman Mailer on the back of The Naked and the Dead, 1948
Baby F. Scott Fitzgerald’s author photo (and note) in This Side of Paradise, 1920
A young Joan Didion on the back cover of Run, River, 1963. Always with the cigarette.
An exceedingly pretty Truman Capote on the jacket of Other Voices, Other Rooms, 1948.
Alice Walker looking thoughtful on the back cover of The Third Life of Grange Copeland, 1970.
Philip Roth on the jacket of Goodbye, Columbus, 1959.
Harper Lee on the back cover of To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960. Photo by Truman Capote, of course.
Stephen King looking super adorkable in his Carrie author photo, 1974.
A beautiful Maya Angelou on the back cover of I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, 1969.
Flannery O’Connor looking out disapprovingly from the back of Wise Blood, 1952.
A deceptively sweet-looking Anne Rice in the pre-publication copy of Interview With The Vampire, 1976.
Baby-faced Jonathan Franzen on the back cover of The Twenty-Seventh City, 1988.