Sunday, October 17, 2010


Because I expect to be published one day, and because many of my friends seem to be signing contracts these days, I've been giving thought to my public image. Sure, I'll never get the chance to press charges against the paparazzi. I'll never have to wear a wig and big weird sunglasses to avoid a potential fan mob. But eventually, you will be able to Google my name and come up with a picture of me. And the more I think about it, the more I want that picture to be professionally done.

We hear talk about how author websites need to appear professional, efficient, and informative. So then, your author pic next to your bio shouldn't be of you in hair curlers, or you sliding down a suspicious looking pole. Probably you don't want the camera-phone picture your best friend took of you with that big glob of ketchup on your chin.

Does a good picture have to be expensive? Nope. Should you hire a professional photographer? Probably. You want to put your best face forward (and if you're a woman, you know you have variety of faces) so you don't want to leave that public image up to chance, flash, thumbs, zits, or lighting that makes you look recently resurrected. Sure, you don't want to spend a fortune, but you don't necessarily have to. Maybe you could exchange advertising favors. Maybe you could negotiate the price, or get a discount for referrals.

Bottom line though, I plan to use a professional. What about you?

Monday, October 11, 2010


I think it's safe to say I won't be making the RWA Golden Heart deadline this year. I've got 36k words of a 65k word manuscript, and while I'd love to hurry up and register my place in the contest, there's this itty-bitty section that makes you promise the manuscript is complete. I. JUST. CAN'T. DO IT.

So here's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna say that I have faith in my current WIP. That after it's spanked by my critique partners, after it's trimmed by the shaking scissors of self-editing, after it's shining so brightly I can use it to find my way to the bathroom at night: I have faith it will earn me an agent. Who will then win over a publishing editor. Who will offer me enough money that I can buy myself a flashlight instead of re-breaking the same toe on the corner of the door while I shuffle my way to the 2 am meeting.

So my question to you is: Have you or anyone you know ever landed an agent/publishing contract from entering a contest? And how often do you participate in writing contests, and what are your likes and dislikes about them? (No need to name specific ones, generalizing will do).