Another good Daisy week has just finished. I’m really excited to say the advance check arrived! Now, before you think I’ve just won the lottery, this check wouldn’t exactly cover a ton of items, and after thinking things through for quite a while, other than perhaps a dinner out with my hubby, I’ve decided that all of the money earned so far will be put back into Daisy through marketing efforts.
I went out this week and had new business cards printed. When final artwork arrives for the book cover, I’ll have post cards and bookmarks made as well. Then there will be ads to buy. In today’s publishing world, the author is taking on more and more of the marketing responsibilities.
I think one of the best investments an author can make is in a good photographic portrait. You know what I’m talking about–that picture of the author you see on so many book covers. A lot of author photos look like snapshots someone took off their cell phone. The big, professional authors, have celebrity shots taken with their patches-on-elbows-pipe-in-hand-and-bookshelves-behind-them kind of thing.
I was lucky. My photographer is a friend, Melissa Butler, who is someone I met at my local ballroom dance studio. Melissa is a wonderful person with a sharp wit and a kind eye. By day, Melissa works in software, but outside of work and dance, she uses her natural talent with photography to make people happy.
“Photography is a creative outlet for me where I try to frame pieces of the world in interesting ways,”said Melissa. She is mostly a self-taught photographer, but recently began taking classes to hone her skills. Her subjects vary, but include landscape, architecture, travel shots and “irony” photography.
When I asked her to do my portrait, she didn’t hesitate for an instant, even when I mentioned I wanted to put my dog in some of the shots. Now that’s brave!
We spent a few hours with me sitting in and around my house in what felt like over one hundred places and poses. My dog romped and hammed it up for the camera, and constantly bugged Melissa for treats and attention. She stayed calm and kept our portrait session fun. Before she left we whittled down a cadre of shots to three or four that both of us agreed looked pretty good.
Then she went home and made the magic happen. She took those handful of good shots and worked on each to “clean them up” with Photoshop. Gone are wisps of uncooperative hair, lightened up are some wrinkles, softened are the backgrounds. I couldn’t have asked for a better result.
When I asked her about her photographic aspirations, Melissa said, “I’d like to take great natural pictures of people that they are proud to show other people.”
Melissa, you sure accomplished that for me. Thanks!
Here is Melissa’s flickr site. Keep an eye out, as this photographer gains a great reputation and a potential second career.