Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Photoshop That Baby?

STATUS: Just got the new Korean copies for ENCHANTED, INC. Man, I’m just so tickled because I think the cover is darling.

Random House JoongAng/Korea

What’s playing on the iPod right now? WALKING IN MEMPHIS by Mark Cohn

I want to say first off that I can completely sympathize with authors concerning the trauma involved in having a headshot taken.

My current picture on my website (see it here) was taken during the Denver Magazine 5280 photo shoot for the profile they did on me. Great photographer. Good lighting. But I’m telling you, that young lad took over 200 pictures of me and when it was time to select a photo for the magazine spread, there were only two shots I remotely liked. I’m not that photogenic super close up.

So I feel your pain. Get out the photoshop, baby!

But I want to caution authors to resist that particular temptation. Why? Because I think you should look like your author shot. There is nothing more startling than meeting an author in person and he or she looks nothing like the photo and if the photo is better than the in-person moment, well, it’s downright awkward. I’m as politically correct as the next person but it sometimes hard to hide the shock.

And that’s certainly not the response you want your fans to have when meeting you.

Now I do think you should like your author shot and redo it until you get it right (however you define that.) You have to live with it after all.

If you detest the whole author photo thing, than you can get creative. I think it’s Kim Harrison whose author photo consists of a long shot of her from behind walking down a wooded road. I love that shot. Very dramatic and mood setting which kind of fits the books she writes.

No contract ever stipulates that it has to be a headshot of the author (at least none that I’ve seen.) I’ve also seen great author shots where the writer is anonymous because they are wearing a hat dipped low or something similar.

Photoshop is not the only option.