Okay, I can admit it. When it comes to having my picture taken I can be a bit of a ham. There is photographic evidence in my family’s albums that proves this is very likely an inherited trait. I did not, however, become an author in order to have my picture taken. In fact, like most authors, the term AUTHOR PHOTO gives me an uncomfortable feeling in my chest.
While I didn’t need a photo for a bookjacket, I knew I’d eventually need an image to share for signings and web presence and, yanno, twitter and stuff. So, in typical writer fashion, I put it off for as long as possible. I made do with self-portraits taken with my camera phone and candid shots when my hair looked pretty okay. Which was fine. But by the end of the summer it felt like it was time to get a real author photo. (Read: I was about as fit and tan as I was ever going to get and figured it was either then or never.)
I’m friends with a number of professional as well as semi-professional photographers who offered to take my author photo for me. But that seemed like a bit too much fuss and pressure. Not to mention planning. Plus my Best Mate did happen to take a semester of photojournalism some twenty years ago. So, on a day when the sun was out and I happened to be wearing lipstick anyway he clicked some shots in the backyard and here’s what we got:
Probably not the best author photo, but it looked like me and if you’ve seen me anyplace on the web, this is probably the avatar you’ve seen. *Phew* Glad to have that over with, right? Well… try fast forwarding to last week when my ah-mazing publicist asked me for a few materials including an author photo.
Yes! I have that. I happily sent it right over and went back to the other two hundred things I was working on, proud to have been so perfectly prepared. Yay me! Except that Miss Wonderful Publicist wrote back and asked if maybe I could do a bit better. Maybe a photo that fit in more with the character I’d created with Blaze. She quickly added that she did not expect me to dye my hair pink. *shucks* But I should try to tap into that geek girl side of me that was inspired to write this particular book. “Something a little more comic book nerdy-cool and less outdoorsy would be great.”
And you know what? She was absolutely right. While the photo above certainly captures one side of me, Blaze came from a different place. I needed to channel the inner fangirl who inspired me to write this book and so I set about trying to get a new shot. Thankfully, my tan is faded and the holidays have me looking and feeling less outdoorsy. Nerdy-cool? I was ready. Grabbing my camera and my best 12-year-old daughter, we headed to her room (by far the coolest room in the house) and set about trying to get my new author shot.
We had a lot of fun and I found out what you end up with when a tween girl decides that you need her to be your stylist for your author shot. Yes, that is plastic fruit I’m holding. Don’t ask me why she has plastic fruit in her room. Or why she thought holding it would make me seem more author-like. Also: that thing on my shoulder felt slimy and cold, but notice I’m not flinching. I’m a professional.
Finally, we got what I felt was a decent shot which I cropped into this:
*Whew* Done. Except… Since my lovely publicist had pushed me to try harder I looked at this photo a little more critically. I wondered if maybe nerdy-cool should show a little less skin. Also, my necklace looks significant in the photo and while it is significant to me, I doubt most folks will be able to tell it is a Celtic cross combined with a mustard seed enclosed in glass. And while that necklace represents a big part of me, again, it’s not necessarily the fangirl part that channeled Blaze.
So, changing my shirt and promising my daughter I’d let her bake cookies afterwards (Yes. That is a reward for her. I lick the bowl because she doesn’t like batter. I know: she’s awesome.) we headed back up for round two. This time I ended up with a photo that I felt I could make work with a little rotation and a quick crop.
And here is the final version I plan to send to my publicist:
Not sure if I pulled off nerdy-cool, but I hope she likes it. And at least I have the shot of myself holding fruit and wearing a top hat with flowers in case I need a backup.