Monday, July 15, 2013

How Early is Too Early?

Hi! I hope everyone had a lovely weekend. Captain Technology and I got a weekend away without the minis. We went up to Estes Park and stayed in a cabin. Hubby knows me so well he even brought the movie The Cabin in the Woods, because he knew I'd want to watch it. We should have grabbed Evil Dead, too. What better way to watch?!

I'm hoping I nabbed some good photos in Rocky Mountain National Park to share on Wednesdays, but I haven't had a chance to sit down and look since I got back.

Onto the topic! I've been trying to figure out the timing on author sites and head shots. See, I was asked to submit a head shot with the short story that will be published next spring. What I've got in the form of a head shot is the photo on this blog, in which I'm not even wearing makeup (I usually don't), and it most certainly isn't a professional head shot. I've had to give head shots for guest posts and profiles and the like, and this is the one I give. The funny thing is, this photo was taken because my daughter wanted me to take it. She liked the butterfly in my hair. It doesn't even pretend to be a real head shot.

But it feels weird to get a professional head shot at this time. I guess I always viewed them as being for the covers of book jackets. You get a head shot when you've made it big, not when you have one short story coming out. It feels...presumptuous.

Also feeling presumptuous is the thought of creating an author website. I keep hearing that I should already have an author page on Facebook, an author website, an author everything. That I shouldn't be using my blog as the site (I do own, but should have a site in my own name. In other words, it's time to start establishing "my brand." I've started doing that with my blog, but haven't done that as just me.

I have a built-in web design guy, right here in this very house, so the moment I decide to jump on that particular bandwagon, I can make it happen. But is now really the time? I've got one flash fiction piece in an anthology, and one short story that isn't even out yet and that I have no promotional materials for. I haven't even made the time to submit anything else since I submitted that particular short story this past winter, so until I "get off my arse" and make that happen, I don't have anything else coming out to cover.

So my question is, how early is too early for head shots and author sites? I think I've answered my own question on the head shots. I found a photographer I'll probably go to, who did the head shots of a local author friend. If I'm going to have a presence on the web, whether it be author or blog, or both, I should probably have a professional head shot, no? I was just going to take it myself, using my camera remote, but my research did turn up compelling arguments for having a fully professional head shot done, rather than ones done even by a good friend who dabbles in photography, for instance. (By the way, if you're looking into this same thing, there's a ton out there on the interwebs with tips for this sort of thing.)

However, the web sites and Facebook seem too early to me. What exactly am I going to be promoting? I'd connect it to my blog, of course, but what else? Then again, maybe it would give me the incentive I need to get back out there and start submitting again. I've thought about starting a couple little fun things based on characters or story lines. For my Urban Fantasy, I could probably post information on cryptozoological beasties. It's not that I don't have ideas, but I wonder how effective any of it will be without more to promote.

What's your opinion? Do you have an author site on Facebook and Twitter, and an author website? What do you put on it? How early did you set it up? Or do you just use your blog as your website for the time being? Have you had professional head shots taken?

P.S. I start my five-week CNA training course tomorrow. Wish me luck!

May you find your Muse.


  1. My blog IS my website. My publisher told me I could combine a website with social networking and a blog seemed like the logical choice. So a website is completely up to you. I know some authors who set up a blog within their site so their website isn't static.
    And I am the wrong person to ask about a head shot - obviously!
    Evil Dead II - yes, that would've been perfect.

  2. Yeah, what Alex said. I mean, look at our page. Right there you can learn everything you need to know about us, you can reach our webstore to buy our books, and it also happens to be a pretty neat blog. Basically, our blog IS our brand name that we created. And yeah, if we wanted to, we could go out of our way to create static websites called and, but that would just be such a complete waste of time and cyberspace when you can learn everything about us on our blog/homepage.

    Also, if I wanted to be a model I'd take headshots. But I don't, so I have no desire to take those. Are those really expected of us?

    Not sure if you're a family guy watcher, but when I think author headshots, I think of those cheesy "My head is so heavy that I need to hold it up with my hand" pictures.

  3. I have a author facebook page which was created for me but i don't use it. It is specifically about the book and I really don't see the point of it.

  4. Alex, thanks for offering the prospective from your publisher. It seems like a blog is more interactive than a regular website, anyway.

    ABftS, and I think you guys have a strong "brand" or "platform," so it seems to be working. And yeah, head shots. I avoid having any photos taken of me, when at all possible, which has lead to the current quandary.

    JP, thank you for that viewpoint. That's the thing, I use my regular FB page, and I help promote other writers, but it's just my personal page. When I'm Stephen King, an author page would make sense.

  5. JP, it won't allow me access to your profile to come visit your site in response. :(

  6. I am contemplating a head shot. *horrors* for the release date for my book. Guess I'll bite the bullet and do it.

  7. Shannon, I don't think it is ever too early. Why? If you don't take yourself as a serious, professional author--that lovely P word being the most important part as far as branding--then how the heck will others? Like Alex, my blog IS my website; it's $10 annually, for pity's sake, and I get to call it Does the job, you know, without costing a fortune. As far as FB and Twitter? No one can deny the usefulness of connecting with fellow authors, writers, and readers alike. Contests, book deals, or, heck, just shooting the bull--fact is it puts YOU out there. People learn who you are, what book(s) you have on the market, etc.

    Long story short? Go for it, girl. Get your pics, get your brand goin'. You'll thank yourself, I promise.

  8. Oh, and my head shot up there? Mom took it. Gotta love a supportive Momma. ;)

  9. Well...
    I think anything that costs money is a waste of money unless you are making the money from -writing- to support it.
    I'm also not in favor of websites, etc for writers that have no product. Generally speaking, when I come across those, I lose any interest in following that person. Especially the ones that have 10 WiPs and no actual books.

  10. My blog IS my website. I saw no sense in creating another site and paying for it plus getting followers. Yes, your name is your brand but there is so much more to you that readers want to know about.

    As far as early for head shots...mine is from twenty years ago for all my author stuff. An author page with one book and more coming is fine.

  11. Think I sorted out the profile Shannon thanks for pointing that out. It is because I started a sport blog which I didn't share the profile on deeming it unnecessary. I didn't realise it interfered with the main blog.

  12. I am not an author so I have no answer for this question.. but I love the pic you use for your blog... what about using that one?


  13. your pic is gorgeous darling!! i wouldn't have known about the makeup because the cool thing is, it's in black and white! :)

  14. Like a lot of authors, I use my blog as my website, so I knew I'd need a proper head shot at some point.

    I don't believe it's ever too early to get a head shot done. Even if you're far from being published, if a publisher or agent is interested in you, it'll look better if your website is as professional as possible.

  15. I had a website and a blog for awhile, but then I found it rather redundant. At this point in time, I use my blog to promote my stories and my writing and to interact with other writers and readers. If I had books to promote, I might do something different, but for now, this is working for me. Besides, I kind of like the idea of one stop shopping - readers can check out my posts, my stories, what I'm reading etc all in one spot. :)

  16. UGH - this is a struggle for me. I have a website that includes 2 blogs - basically 1 for real life and one for fiction/book related.
    For my story it's important that I build a "platform" that I pre-make an audience. SOooooo, I spend a lot of time on social networks and my website. Should I be spending that time on actually getting a book out? Um...well, not if there's no one to read it? Or Yes? Ugh.
    Also, I am in dire need of a "headshot" what I use now is terrible, but I too am not a get my picture taken sort of gal. SOoo, on it goes...

  17. There are many social media experts that say we must have a website so I did one ( and I can blog on there but I still keep my other blog going on the topic of two books I did. So yes, you do need a product (a book) and a brand for yourself. It's working for me.

  18. I've got to get one done as well and I keep putting it off. The thought fills me with dread. It just feels too contrived. I love your butterfly photo.

  19. I have no opinion obviously, I am just gald to read and comment on your site again! Can't wait to see your pics!!

  20. Just as a person who follows blogs and writers, I have followed a couple of writers and then unfollowed them because they did nothing with their 'author site',or their Facebook page. Therefore, if you are not ready to really be interactive with either the author website or Facebook page then my advice for you,don't pursue it yet,people follow things to be interactive. Do it when you are ready and able to be fully engaged.
    Another suggestion for you, use this website to promote and then once you actually get to the point of publishing you can announce the new website and Facebook page. I have had several bloggy buddies do that and I have gladly followed over to their new sites.

    Good Luck :)

    Lucy from Lucy's Reality

  21. Whoa, this felt deja vu like and thought this was the "writing a love scene" entry I commented on... I was like... wait I'm pretty sure I've already read this, but yet it wasn't highlighted.

    Definitely not my realm of expertise. Sounds like you got a lot of great advice, though.

    For myself, like others have mentioned, my blog is currently my site, but I have "dreams" of a site since I want multiple blogs and one place to get to them all, among other things.

    I know a handful with author FB pages, but I'm pretty hard on myself. Until I become published to where I feel like I'm getting somewhere... consistently... I will likely avoid going that route. This doesn't necessarily mean just with being published, but even a really successful blog.

    I guess I've almost done a FB one, because I feel I am "spamming" FB with my blog posts (though I only do it the one time after the post is made) and maybe an "author" page would stop that some? I dunno.

    I say just go with it when you feel you are ready.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of Ink