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Authors needing help > Author Headshots

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message 1: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments Hi everyone,
It's time for me to update my author headshot since my existing one is five years old. For my March 1, 2011 Midnight Ink release, DEADLY CURRENTS, my editor asked me to submit two types of photos. She wants a regular head-and-shoulders formal headshot and an outdoorsy shot that reflects the occupation of my sleuth, a whitewater river ranger. My avid photographer husband and I spent a day recently taking photos and selected what we think are the best three of each. Now, I'm gathering votes.

Please go to the Midnight Ink author blog, Inkspot, and let me know which one(s) you like the best:

Also, this may be the start of an interesting discussion. Which author headshots do you absolutely love and which ones do you hate? I my case, I find the "thinker" pose with the chin on the fist to be really old-hat.

message 2: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 661 comments I like the second one of the outdoor shots best and the first one of the formal shots best. Of course, I also like the one of you and me that I have on my FB photo album from this year's Malice. LOL.

One photo that I couldn't stand was an unrecognizable Joan Hess in sunglasses and such. I always thought, "If you don't want people to see what you look like - just don't put a photo!"

And I like smiling photos more than grim, serious ones because I think it makes authors seem more friendly. Of course, I'm just goofy that way. : )

message 3: by ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ, Cozy Mysteries Group Owner (new)

ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) | 1576 comments Mod
I like the middle photo of the rafting pictures. You look fine in all the first headshots, but I find the outfit distracting because of the distinct line where the two colors meet, distracts me from your face. Just my 2 cents.

message 4: by Sukhi (new)

Sukhi (svgoomer) #1 for the formal shots (your eyes are open wider and more friendly), and #1 for the informal shots (it's more natural, and your smile is bigger).

I like author headshots that feature a smiling author. But more likely than not, I find that the pics say a lot about how an author would like to be perceived rather than what an author is really like. Sometimes, you come across authors who are really comfortable in their skin and aren't afraid to be themselves. In those cases, you usually see a nice big smile. :-) (Beth, you fall in the confident category, in case you're wondering.)

message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (trm10) | 8 comments I like the 2nd outdoor shot.

message 6: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments Thanks for the recent feedback, everyone! My husband and I sent the second outdoor shot to the publisher, and we're going back to the drawing board for the indoor shots. They just didn't look natural enough.

As for what Caroline said about author photos with sunglasses, Midnight Ink asked for an "action shot" of me while rafting. The problem is that I always wear sunglasses and a helmet while rafting, for safety and because I wear hard contact lenses and need the protection from sun glare. As you can see from my most recent blog post about rafting for research (, if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't know the person in the second photo was me!

message 7: by Melanie (new)

Melanie Jackson (melaniejaxn) | 55 comments Headshots-- meaning photos, not bullets.... I have seriously debated replacing mine with a photo of the dog or the cat. Most people like looking at animals....

message 8: by Nancy (new)

Nancy Jarvis (screalwriter) | 154 comments My headshot is only two years old so I feel OK keeping it for a while (twenty years maybe) but I had two requests for different shots so my husband and I spent the morning doing them. I hate to have my picture hair is always better and I have so many fewer wrinkles in my mind.

message 9: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Wiley | 8 comments Like Melanie, my first thought for headshots had more to do with guns than photos. :)

I think you made the correct choice on the outdoor picture, your smile is more natural in that one.

message 10: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments Thanks for the feedback, Cathy. I hope to take a new indoor set of headshots with my husband soon, using the suggestions people gave me. I know Midnight Ink wants a different headshot for my gift basket designer series than the outdoor one we picked for the RM Outdoor Adventures series.

message 11: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 22 comments You know what they say about author photos, right? They're always five pounds lighter and five years younger than we really are. Thank goodness for the techno miracles of modern photo-editing.

message 12: by Caroline (new)

Caroline | 661 comments Deborah and Beth - Well, I think y'all look just as great or even better in person!
(And I wear contacts too, Beth so I know what you mean about sunglasses to keep from stuff getting in your eyes)

message 13: by Deborah (new)

Deborah | 22 comments Hey, Caroline! thanks for the kind words ....

message 14: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments Thanks, Caroline & Sabrina!
I, too, like natural headshots that show the author's personality. No studious "chin on the fist" pose for me!

message 15: by Robin (new)

Robin Allen Hey Beth - I'm a new Midnight Ink author. My first book, If You Can't Stand the Heat , is coming out on Mother's Day. I love how MI's author guidelines say something like "no photos with your hand on the table and your face on your hand."

I prefer more natural photos of authors, myself.

message 16: by Kelley (new)

Kelley (booknerd69) Hi Robin. I just marked your book as TBR. Do you live in Austin? Because, I do :) Lived here all of my life and love it...for the most part ;-)

message 17: by Robin (new)

Robin Allen Hi Kelley:

Thanks for wanting to read my book! I used to live in Austin, but I live a bit further south now. I'm there all the time, though. I love it too, except for the traffic.


message 18: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments Hi Robin,
Welcome to the Midnight Ink fold! I just sent you a friend request and an email.
- Beth

message 19: by Robin (new)

Robin Allen Thanks Beth!


message 20: by Nancy (new)

Nancy (nancyjcohen) | 53 comments It's interesting how Midnight Ink requested different types of photos from you and good that they are on top of your publicity this way. I've never had a publisher care which photo I've sent.

message 21: by Beth (new)

Beth | 616 comments Midnight Ink has a two page document on headshots, explaining what was acceptable (no "glamour shots", for example) and what format to submit them in. Also, my two series have very different feels--craft cozy vs outdoor softboiled, so it made sense to have an indoor shot for the first and an outdoor one for the second.

message 22: by Anne (new)

Anne I like smiling authors as well. I hate the serious ones. I think fiction writing is a great job so authors should be having some serious fun with their work. And if they are having fun, they should be smiling.

I hate the hand on chin pose and the tented fingers at chest height pose. It always seem like the author is trying too hard to portray she are a serious and deep thinker.

message 23: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Spencer (cm_spencer) | 38 comments Speaking of head shots, I love looking at the transition of authors as their looks change (and the promotion people get ahold of them, I'm guessing). On the other hand, there was one author who must have been using the same shot for about twenty years. I had no idea how old she was, and when she finally used a new head shot, I was very surprised. I guess that's a lesson to us to renew the shot over the years.

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