Friday, January 24, 2014

Posing Your Persona

Therese Says: In 2005 I was attending my first national RWA conference in Reno. As thousands attend these events, local chapters and the industry magazine offer advice on what to expect and how to prepare. The advice that year was for even aspiring authors to have business cards, and a photo on them would be a good idea.

Original Terri Patrick Photo
Taken in my kitchen,
by a daughter, in 2005.
Being a romance novelist was still my hobby, for 15 years by then, but as it was my passion this means I cared more about advice and doing it right than I did about my day jobs. I knew business cards and photos for aspiring authors was New Advice. Until then, Author Photos were only for The Book. A photographer would be present at a conference to take pictures of the soon-to-be-newly-published in the same manner as school photos, or prom pictures, are taken. Set background, certain poses, a touch of glam or soft filtering, and the author now was a face as well as a name.

Genre novelists only got the publisher sponsored publicity campaign of photo and promotion tours as part of their "break out" from a midlist author to maybe hit a bestseller list, this was usually around book five or six. But that advice, 8 years ago, for even an aspiring author to have a business card and photo was from a trusted source so I contacted my local print shop and they did a short rush order. I even had a website to put on the card as a friend had created one for me in exchange for tech writing I did for him.

Fast forward through big personal life events, adventures in learning the craft of storytelling, the technology tornado in the publishing world, and suddenly I realized the above image was all over the web. Um... It was taken to be a tiny image in the corner of a business card.

So when Morgan and I took this blog interactive in June of 2012, I had my husband take a new picture. This was staged in my living room and I actually did my hair and wore makeup. Alas, it wasn't a great picture either but acceptable for an image of me, and for our message of free marketing and Do-It-Yourself advice, and it was only for this site. Then I got a publishing contract for my novel - and this site had already gone global.
Nancy Steele of Picture This Photography did my daughter's senior photos, and we had a blast for an hour in her at home studio. I had so many shots to choose from, some so awesome I didn't recognize myself, that I had to get opinions. Here's why I chose three different shots.
On the left is Terri Patrick-Romance Novelist.
On the right is Therese Patrick - Memoirist

On the sidebar of this site is Therese Patrick - Marketing Maven.

And after the opportunity to work with a professional photographer, and seeing so many different poses and face framing, and ways of holding my head toward the camera - plus injecting a huge dose of professional and fun energy - even random snapshots of me look pretty good now!

Even if you can only DIY, create the whole photo shoot experience for yourself with wardrobe changes and different poses then take the time to really study them. Practice how to look directly at your Audience and project the best of who you are. Then hand them your book, and offer to sign it!

Gary D. Robson Book Signing Tips
Allow a little bit of time afterward to sign their stock. Typically, my store will sell as many of your books in the couple of weeks after the signing as we do at the event. You can help to make that happen by staying after the event is done and signing their backstock. It’s also a nice touch to keep a package or two of bookplates with you. Then if the store sold out (yippee!) you can sign a few bookplates and leave them. 


  1. When it comes to publishing a book, every little detail matters. A professional look can really improve your marketing efforts. In addition to a great cover design, it also means having a great author photo!

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