Friday, January 17, 2014

Plan, But Be Flexible: Gina Fluharty's Author Portrait Shoot

Therese & Morgan Say: Gina Fluharty is our sister-in-arms and wickedly funny critique partner. We asked her to contribute a post on her author portrait experience. I'm sure you'll agree that the results are FANTASTIC! Many thanks to Gina for sharing her thoughts and words of wisdom. We love you, darling!

Gina Says: Even though I haven’t sold my first book yet, I KNOW it’s going to happen. And since I’m a planner, long-range and short-term, I wanted to have a presence already established for when I DO sell. I figured, if a publisher was going to be interested enough to read the entirety of my tale, then they’d probably go a little deeper once they hit ‘The End.’ With that end in mind, I collaborated with my good friend—who also happens to be a genius photographer—to set up my website.

While I love graphic art, I didn’t want that to be my ‘look.’ I wanted people who were interested in my work to be able to see a little bit of who I am. Mark Montoya—the aforementioned genius—and I got together in our natural habitat (a bar) and talked about what I wanted and what he could make happen. After all, those two things aren’t necessarily mutual. I joke that Mark is my brother from another mother, but it’s true. He gets me. He took all my excited utterances and wild gesticulations and distilled them down into tangible art. The result is something that I am still incredibly proud of:

It’s important to work with someone that speaks your lingo. It’s important to be willing to look at something that you didn’t necessarily have in mind. Case in point—the wolf shadow photo. I told Mark that I wanted a four-footed wolf to be my shadow. And he did it. Showed me the prop he’d drawn and cut out and I liked it. Then he says, “But I got to thinking and came up with this.”

Gina and The Wolf
 Holy…Hell. Ka-BOOM! I love it. It’s my favorite photo out of all the shots we took. Part of my shadow makes up that of the wolf. See if you can find it.

However, before we got to this point, he asked me how I wanted to look. I immediately said, “Slender.” And that’s how Mark posed me for the front page layout. I have a new respect for models after this experience. It was agony to hold that pose for as long as it took Mark to do the light thingymajigger, for his charming and lovely assistant Carla to lean over the base of the pillar with her prop, for him to take a shot and then repeat the entire process until he was satisfied. We did the shoot at twilight, so lighting was a challenge. Have I mentioned that Mark is a type-A perfectionist? No? My hip muscles and exterior obliques are still muttering about it. Still, no matter how painful it was, he pulled the shot off.

Holding poses is tougher than it looks.

Now, the only problem with establishing a presence and networking with authors on social media is that they will look for the avatar they see. Spoiler alert—I’m not a natural blonde. Megan Mulry was the first—but not the last—to point this out via Twitter at the RT convention in 2013. If memory serves, her tweet was, “The first surprise of #RT13? @GinaFluharty is not blonde.” Which poses an interesting question for the future: Do I need to buy a blonde wig for business events? I don’t know, but I doubt it. Women change their hair color all the time. It’s our prerogative since we can’t change the size of our asses as easily.

Whether you’ve sold or are working toward it, take your destiny by the ovaries and rule it. Wrestle it to the ground and beat it into submission or speak sweetly while wafting the fine fumes of bourbon in its direction. Do something to further your aims. If you have a vision but not a sale, do that. If you’d rather 

Gary D. Robson Book Signing Tips
Carry some spare books. If you’re lucky, the signing will be a smash hit. With the economy down, though, booksellers are being cautious about over-ordering. That means that if your signing is fantastic, they just might run out of books. If you have a box or two in your trunk, you can grab them (be prepared to sell them to the store at the standard distribution discount!) and keep on going. If you don’t, the signing is done.

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