The dreaded author photo

I need an author photo. Like most people, I dislike having my picture taken. For me, it’s less about the final product and more about the preparation. If you know you’re going to have your picture taken, you try and look your best— put on nice clothes, fix your hair, maybe even dab on a little lipstick, right?

I am a stay at home mom and writer. My wardrobe has a section that I actually refer to as “work pajamas,” which are not to be confused with the actual sleeping pajamas. Aren’t all pajamas, by definition, for sleeping? Hush, you. We all have are peculiarities.

And the hair. It has been years since I’ve had a good, professional haircut. It’s confession time. I actually cut my hair myself. Given that I leave the house about three times a week, this hasn’t really been a problem, but when confronted with the looming author photo, I think it might be time to up my game.

You will not be surprised that a woman who works in pajamas and cuts her own hair doesn’t wear make-up. Chap Stick is about it for me. For really special occasions, I might wear the kind with some color to it. Tinted balm, I think they call it. So this author photo necessitated a trip to Target. Sure, I could have gone to the mall and got some much needed professional make-up help, but I considered that just prolonging the agony. Better to go to Target and hope for the best.

There’s something I haven’t talked about on this blog, something I wasn’t even sure I wanted to talk about. I had to ask myself what it was exactly I wanted from this blog. I want to get the word out about my books, sure, but if it were only that, if it were only about marketing, I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t do it. It just wouldn’t be enjoyable for me if that was the only reason for blogging.

But it’s not the only reason.

What I want most is a community. I’ve been a part of other online communities, and when they work, they are wonderful. That’s what I’d like this blog to be, but for that to happen, there has to be authenticity.

Yep, there it is— the buzz word for the 21st century. Authenticity. It’s a sparkly, mercurial little bugger that we all want, but none of us seems very sure how to get it. Is it something you have? Something you are? Something you do?

Who knows?

But for me, I think it begins with honesty. I don’t mean the Dr. Phil, confess-it-all brand of honesty. We’ve all got family if we want that kind of drama. I’m sure we don’t want that from an online community.

What I’m talking about is an honesty that comes from owning who you are while at the same time aiming for the you that you want to be. It’s being without judging, and making a conscious effort to let others do the same.

Self acceptance without the fear of ridicule and the years of therapy — that’s what the best online communities can offer, and that’s what I want here.

It’ sounds like I’m about to announce some awful skeleton in my closet, doesn’t it? Hardly. I’m not that interesting.

No, my big announcement is that I’m blind.


Since most of the readers here now are friends of mine from those previous online communities I talked about, this isn’t news for most of you. I guess it isn’t really an announcement that I needed to make for the sake of the information, but one I needed to make for myself.

I hesitated to talk about it here before, because it felt like once I opened up about being blind, that would color everything else I talked about. But then I realized — so? What’s wrong with that? Blindness has shaped my world view as much as my gender, ethnicity, or geography have, so what’s wrong with talking about it?


I’ll talk more about my blindness if anyone is interested. I’m open to sharing information about it. Feel free to ask questions in the comments.

So now that you know this about me, can you see how this author photo thing is keeping me up nights? Shiver. I had the following conversation in the make-up aisle at Target with my saint of a husband, Michael:

“Now I need lipstick. Let’s look for lipstick,” I said.

“They don’t have lipstick.”

“They don’t have lipstick? Seriously? I know you have the Y chromosome and all, but that shouldn’t make it impossible for you to even see lipstick.”

“They have lip balm, lip color, lip gloss, and lip shimmers. There is nothing called lipstick,” he said.

Keep in mind, this was before we got to the actual colors. That conversation went like this:

“I don’t want something for teenagers. I want make-up for grown ups,” I told him.

“How can I tell the difference?” he asked.

“The stuff for grown ups will show pictures of actual grown ups on the displays.”

“Then none of this stuff is for grown ups. It’s all for sixteen year olds.”

“Then look for stuff that doesn’t have glitter in it.”

Long pause. “Nope. Nothing.”

“Hmm. Look for make-up that’s next to wrinkle cream.”

Another long pause. “Got it.”

Then I had to sift through the mass of colors, all of which, though red, had names like: cranberry snow, molten sunset, Hot!, blaze, and spiced berries. I ended up with something called Ruby Star. When my mother saw it, she didn’t reach for her trusty pack of travel tissues and wipe it off me, so I assume it looked okay.

At this point, you might be wondering about the part above where I said that I cut my own hair. It’s true. Ill advised, but true. I confess that Michael, walking into the bathroom and seeing me armed with the kitchen scissors, offered — okay, begged — to help. He looked up a Youtube video about cutting hair, and Voila! Mission accomplished. I told you he was a saint.

So the author photo, I’ll post it here. Eventually. Probably.

Posted in Life Between the Lines
2 comments on “The dreaded author photo
  1. Hmmm. I think I’d enlist help. Get some female make-up wearing person (friend, mother, daughter – no probably not, aunt, cousin, etc.) you trust to do your make-up and possibly hair and then some photo-taking person to set you up for a good photo. Promise them cookies and signed copies of your books. Or something. It’s hard to do your own make-up because we really don’t see ourselves the way others do. I’d do the make-up and hair (I did my daughter’s for prom) and get her to do the photo if we lived closer.

  2. Karen, I wish you lived closer too! And not just because I could use all the help I can get with the make-up thing.

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