FACING REALITY: Choosing Your Cover Photo

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-sean-bean-image27214017There are myriad reasons why writers write: to purge their souls and rid themselves of inner demons; to offer the world insight and hope; to give themselves and others the gift of another world made from the uniqueness of their personal fantasies; to simply be creative and tell a good story.

My reasons for writing are twofold and not in the aforementioned list. They are:

1) Sean Bean. Yes, my ultimate goal is to write a bestseller that gets made into a movie starring Sean Bean. I will consult on set. Closely.

2) To have my picture on a book.

But not just any picture.

Many believe that in facing the reality of publishing , we should show our real face. I disagree. Writers usually deal in altered realities, so why not alter one more?

The task of taking a new profile picture for one’s website or author’s page, or choosing the one best suited to grace the back cover of one’s book is a gargantuan undertaking. For some. I am willing to concede that there may be an author or two out there who could care less about what his or her cover picture looks like, but they either model on the side or make The Elephant Man look suave and debonair so it doesn’t really matter.

I like putting my best face forward. Even if I don’t have it any more.

It seems every time I have to choose a new head shot to download, I get younger. My Amazon Author’s page picture was taken in my late 40’s. My Twitter profile shot was taken in my mid-30’s and I was in the last year of my 20’s in my current Author Mingle picture. If you ever see a published book with the picture of a fetus on the back cover, that’ll be me.

cartoon baby

This has not been intentional. Well, not at first. The first time I had to send in a profile picture that would introduce me to the world, I chose one that was relatively new and wasn’t clear enough to count my wrinkles. Vanity thy name is Denise.

The next one had to be different, for whatever reason, so I chose one even younger, but not from ego, but, honestly, from a lack of choice. I am the family photographer and am rarely alone in any pictures. The few that are around belong on the cover of The National Enquirer alongside sightings of aliens and Elvis at Dunkin’ Donuts, so I decided to be kind to the collective eyes of the reading public and offer them a Vintage Me that had only one chin, most of my own teeth and Sex In The City hair.

And really…who would care? The fact is, any form of you, whether it be present day or Teen Heartthrob from the 60’s, it is still you. It is the face you want your readers to meet alongside that particular book.

The way I figure it, my visual identity is mine to give or hide, play with or re-arrange as I see fit. A picture of me is a piece of my real self that I will offer the public at my own pace, and, to be frank, when I get one that people won’t mistake for Gandalf with a perm.

Maybe finding my current face will become a game, like Where’s Waldo (minus the hat), or a mystery like the elusive Great Garbo (minus the glamor) or the reclusive Howard Hughes (minus the Spruce Goose and the billions).

I make one promise though: should I ever get published in hardcover, I will send in a recent picture. It may even be one of me.

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Denise Sevier-Fries

About the Author ()

Denise is a writer, author, blogger and photographer who spends most of her time dodging the time-sucking Dark Hole that is Facebook so she can actually write columns, author novels, post blogs and take photographs. When not pushing the quill on her perpetual 'work in progress', her hobbies include playing with her husband and taking him for walks along the ocean, and dabbling in the lives of her five children (she believes four may have moved out already but is unsure). She has written five books, three of which are SP on Amazon and she sells her photo-art on her website. Thoroughly addicted to Lord of The Rings, Game of Thrones and Frasier, she also has a Black Belt in Garage Sales, collects First Edition books and hates the ends of pickles.