A Picture Steals a Thousand Souls…+ Giveaway!

A Picture Steals a Thousand Souls…or maybe I’m just a dork by Gwen Hayes

Thanks, Sue, for inviting me to spend the day in your corner of the internets. It’s lovely here. My second book, Dreaming Awake, was released a few days ago, and I’m running into a slight publicity issue that I could use some advice about. I’m hoping your readers can help me.

Every couple of months, somebody, usually somebody from my publisher, asks if I have an author photo. The embarrassing answer is always, “No.”

I’m no shy wallflower, as anyone who has ever met me or read my Twitter feed can tell you, but there is something about having my picture taken that makes me want to crawl under a table and hide. I know I’m supposed to have author photos—some sort of headshot, or a glib I’ve-crossed-my-arms pose, or even the ever thoughtful one-hand-chin-prop…but for some reason, I recoil in horror at the thought of posing at all. Perhaps it’s because I spend too much time at www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com or www.peopleofwalmart.com. I really don’t want to be remembered forever for being the “Just Don’t” poster child.

Maybe I’m reincarnated from a people who believe the camera steals souls (and isn’t that a great idea for my next paranormal?), but I am not sure how to get over it. I’ve tried self-bribery. I promised myself a new outfit if I just make the call to schedule, but that opens up a whole new level of stress. What could I possibly wear that says, “Gwen” more than the pajamas I don daily to write my books? And if I’m getting dressed, surely that means I have to style my hair, which I have no idea how to do, and wear makeup the likes of which I don’t really know how to apply. I am socially awkward, people!

So, my editor, my book publicist, the reporter at the Tribune, my German publisher…everyone wants me to send them a jpeg and a photo release, and I have to pretend I’m mysterious and that’s why I have nothing to send them. No really, that’s what I told my editor. That I’m mysterious. I know, I’m amazed I still have a job too.

I suppose I should have known before starting this gig that part of my job is publicity…but I just keep wishing that people would just go ahead and imagine me how they think I look and leave it at that. Next, people will want me to be coherent on radio shows and read my books out loud at book signings…oh wait…that’s already happened. To varying degrees of success. I didn’t throw up at any rate, and that’s always a good thing.

Being an author really is my dream job…I just need to get over my fear of publicity, right? Maybe I should hearken back to the grand days of the ‘80s when romance authors had lavish photo shoots. I’ll wear a feather boa, smoke a Virginia Slim while holding a small white dog, and recline indolently on a chaise in my chintz boudoir. No? I didn’t think so.

Dear readers, I’m asking you…What do you do to psych yourself up for things you know you have to do but make you uncomfortable? And does anyone have a small white dog I can borrow? Remember, 5 winners are chosen every week for a random drawing of a random FREE book – good luck!

When she’s not avoiding the camera, Gwen Hayes can be found at www.gwenhayes.com or, even more likely, at www.twitter.com/gwenhayes.

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