June 21, 2011

Scheduling Author Photos

*Taken from a series of articles on the CAN Marketing Blog
I don't know about you, but having my picture taken is not one of my favorite things to do. And yet, when you have a book contract, it's one of the requirements asked of you by your publisher. There was a time, long ago, when I believed myself somewhat photogenic, but then came the extra pounds, the graying hair, the wrinkles and crows feet--need I go on?
So began my journey of trying to determine what I wanted for an author photo. That far off hill looked mighty steep, but I began turning my wheels and chugging up the track. Did I want a formal pose against a basic background, or did I want a more casual look? Inside or outside? Props such as a desk or books? Should I lose weight first? And what should I wear? Is it really important to know which color looks good on me when I have all these other things to worry about?

"Oh little engine, this hill looks mighty tall. I don't think I'll be able to make it up this mountain!"
Chug, chug, chug--I kept going, one mile at a time. I didn't have the extra funds to hire an image consultant, but I knew what colors made me feel good--and that's one of the best ways to determine which color season you are and what color palette works for you. Click here for more information on determining your seasonal color. Once I had this figured out, I searched through my closet for the perfect outfit and considered make-up and hairstyles that would give me a natural look, yet call out to people and say "Look at Me--This is who I am." 
Another step included studying my favorite author sites. What sort of pictures did they use and how many shots did they have taken? Did they hire a professional photographer or do it themselves?
If you own a quality camera or know someone who does that has the prowess to take great photos, you can save money doing it yourself. But a professional photographer will understand light and shadow and can also work magic on those little "imperfections" I mentioned earlier, so you might want to keep that in mind as well. No matter what, you'll need to be sure the pictures are taken in high resolution, jpeg, or tiff images, with a 300 dpi or more. All of this jargon seemed foreign to my ears, but not to those in the publishing world.   
Loaded with the answers needed to make it up the hill, I managed to get an author photo I'm satisified with. Because I wanted to carry forward my Country at Heart theme, I chose to have my picture taken outside with a wagon wheel prop, wearing a casual jean jacket that helped define who I was as an author. I also chose to go with a professional photographer, and I'm so glad I did, considering the media campaign that has been done on the Internet, newspapers, and magazines. Believe me, when you see your pretty mug staring back at you from so many places, you'll be glad you took the time to figure out exactly what you wanted for an author photo.
Next week, we'll move on to the next marketing challenge--creating a book trailer. Until then, enjoy the moments AND keep chugging up those hills  . . .
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