Pub Rants

Category: promotion

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.

Perseverance Pays Off

STATUS: Triumph. Maybe. With technology I’m always a little skeptical but supposedly we have fixed all the errors with the e-Newsletter subscribe process. So, subscribe away.

And here’s another hint about our electronic submission database that we’ve recently discovered. Don’t try and upload your sample pages from your workplace (besides, wink, aren’t you suppose to be working?). Several writers have knocked their heads against the company’s stringent firewall that won’t allow uploads. Even if you’re on your coffee break, you should wait until you get home.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? DON’T WORRY, BE HAPPY by Bobby McFerrin

It’s no secret that many authors lament the stingy promotional budget/plan they receive from their publishers—if they even receive one at all.

But here’s a nice encouraging story. I have an author who sells well but certainly would be considered mid-list. For the last two years, she has plugged away mightily on her own promotional campaign—always keeping her editor in the loop. And her publisher has certainly done some terrific publicity stuff in conjunction with her efforts but nothing higher end.

But personal perseverance is finally paying off. Her publisher plans to cough up some dough for her next book release.

So even though you may feel like your wallowing all by your lonesome in the promotional dark, your unstinting and determined efforts can eventually translate into publisher dollars. Publishers like to see that can-do attitude and will often reward authors who soldiered on by themselves to start with.

Just a thought to keep in mind when embracing that daunting task called self-promotion.

Break the Code!

STATUS: Don’t worry. I’ll probably get back to myth busting tomorrow. I was a little more interested in hitting the beach today than blog writing. What can I say? In fun news though, my software guru is creating a new Nelson Agency web database where writers can upload their sample pages to a safe and secure site starting in January 2007. No more snail mailing sample pages for us to review. Serious. We are going fully electronic baby. It’s coming so be on the look out for the blog announcement but our goal is to launch this new submission format starting on Jan. 3, 2007.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? No little iPod.

Okay, for those of you who are huge Ally Carter fans and have been dying for any sneak peek at the next book, here’s your chance.

The title for the sequel I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU has been top secret until now. If you can crack the code, you’ll have the skinny that no one in the world has besides Ally, her publisher, and me—not to mention there are some cool prizes.

So, visit Ally’s blog for contest rules/instructions/prizes and for more details but here’s the code.

Happy breaking all you spies.

From Ally:


By far one of the most frequent questions I’ve gotten lately is “what’s the title of the next Gallagher Girls book going to be?”

Well, here it is for the first time anywhere!

What? You can’t read it?

That’s probably because the good folks at the Gallagher Academy have encrypted it.

Yep. It’s a real code!

Actual spies have used this actual technique to convey actual secrets for years.

So if you’ve ever wanted to be a spy, or if you’re just a puzzle junkie… Or maybe if you are simply dying to know the title, here’s your chance to have some fun and challenge yourself and think like a Gallagher Girl (or guy) for a while.

And I’m throwing a contest (with some pretty cool prizes) for those of you who feel up to the challenge.