The dreaded author photo

Pretty good for a sweaty mom distracted by a toddler.

Pretty good for a sweaty mom distracted by a toddler.

A few weeks ago, I got an email from the PR department at Algonquin asking for–among other things–an author photo. I know how important the author photo is. It’s your intro. Your brand. My original photo was taken at a photo studio a few doors down from the place we rented my daughter’s violin. It’s of me in a white t-shirt, after running in with my then-toddler  and only 15 minutes to spare. I remember sitting on the makeshift stool and then realizing I had totally forgotten to wear mascara. I think we took 3 shots and I chose the first. The end. I had some delusion that Simon & Schuster would have someone in the art department photoshop it. Ha!

I mean if Oscar Wilde can do it, why can't I?

I mean if Oscar Wilde can do it, why can’t I?

After that first novel was released, I hired a real headshot photographer and spent some good money on nice headshots that I have been using for all my appearances. I hated all of the photos when I first saw them, but they’re actually fine.

The only decent photo of my pre-cancer curls.

The only decent photo of my pre-cancer curls. I guess I really like that navy sweater.

Of the many shots, I chose a couple that looked “authorly,” and got promptly teased for the head-on-fist shot. Apparently there are clichés in author photos and I had committed #1. Then I stopped wearing my hair straight and a friend suggested I get new pictures with my curly hair. I never got around to it. Then came cancer. And baldness. And now Algonquin is waiting.

I decided to go with a photo studio again. It worked out for the first book. And this time I actually made an appointment. So it’s prep time. I’ll pick an outfit tonight that does not include my trusty navy sweater, wash and style my hair in the morning (as if my hair ever does what I want it to) and I even bought one of those teeth whiteners from the drug store–a plan that is sure to backfire. But on I go.

DSCN0335_largeHmm. Seems like a lot of trouble. I wonder if they’ll just let me use this one?


8 thoughts on “The dreaded author photo

  1. Jayne Martin says:

    You’re so funny. You’re gorgeous! But I know what you mean. I’ve been using the same professional photo shot for a decade now and can’t a new one. Recently, I had a friend take some snaps. Lighting kind of sucks, but it’s the best I can do for now.

  2. Tracey says:

    You ladies are awesome. First of all Jayne, outdoor headshots are always a bit wonky as far as lighting, but they’re outdoors which is always nice.

    Elizabeth, you can borrow my mascara anytime.

    Rossandra, when I say “style” what I mean is pull a comb and some product through and hope for the best.

  3. newenglandmuse says:

    I actually love all the pictures you posted. I really really liked the first one. But you are such a pretty lady inside and out, it is bound to shine.

    I need to get some headshots soon once time and money permits.

  4. Tracey says:

    Thanks! You guys are making me feel so much better about these pictures 🙂
    I would recommend just going to a photo studio. I mean, it’s not that expensive, and they do come out pretty well. I actually thought about just going to a Target photo studio, but thought I’d feel too self conscious with all my makeup on. I usually don’t wear much, if any.

  5. debatterman says:

    If I looked like you, I would not dread an author’s photo. 🙂 but I totally understand what you’re going through re: getting the right one to reflect who you are at this point in your life. LOL re: the last photo. And I don’t think you could ever look like a cliche. Me, on the other hand 😉

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