Sunday, April 25, 2010

Will Grayson Squared Dance Contest

Holy catfish. Dude, check. out. my sidebar. Eeeeeeeep!! I can hardly believe my eyes. Oh yes, I think it’s time to celebrate the wonder, the joy, the amazing, super duper ultra slice of awesome that you are. Friends, it’s time I throw a little party.

Because holymolyrolypoly, I have 300 bloggie friends!! So in honor of this fabulosity, I think it only fitting to host the:

Will Grayson Squared Dance Contest

Of course, this means, we are going to have a dance off.

Okay, not really, though there will be some dancing involved. But first, lets get to the mega fabuloso prizes, shall we?

So, obviously, there’s a Will Grayson or two involved in this little party. Why? Because Will Grayson, Will Grayson happens to be one of my favorite YA books of all freaking time. And it so happens I have a few signed books to give away. Because, you see, the amazing authors of (Will Grayson)2 John Green and David Levithan just adored me when they met me the other night, and so they graciously handed over a ton of signed books for me to give away (after I paid for them and offered them my sixth-born child*).

And as I see it, no contest is complete with only one winner. So, I will have…3. So, yeah, 3 packages, cuz I’m random like that.

Package 1: David Levithan Rules!


1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, hardback, signed by both authors
2. The Realm of Possibility, by David Levithan, signed by David Levithan
3. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, signed by David Levithan

Package 2: John Green Rocks!


1. Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, hardback, signed by both authors (yes, I have 2 copies, both signed)
2. Paper Towns, by John Green, signed by John Green
3. An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green, signed by John Green

Package 3: Miscellaneous FTW!


1. An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green, signed by John Green (yes, I have 2 copies, both signed)
2. Looking for Alaska, by John Green, signed by John Green
3. The First Five Pages: A Writer’s guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, by Noah Lukeman, signed by no one.

You know what? I think I’ll throw in a 4th package. BUT, I’ll only offer a 4th package for a 4th winner if I get at least 50 more followers by the end of this contest. Okay?  That means, if I don’t get 50 followers by 25 May 2010, then I get to keep the 4th package for myself. So that means it’s in your best interest to get me 50 more followers. Because what if you might have been the 4th name drawn, yeah?

It’s not cruel, it’s creative.

So, in the event I get 50 more followers from today (that means, I need to see 350 bloggie friends by the end of this contest, 25 May 2010, midnight EST), this is what a fourth winner will receive:

Package 4: Maybe, Baby

B and N gift card



1. $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card
2. $5 Starbucks gift card
3. A bar of Ghirardelli chocolate

By the way, if I get 100 more bloggie friends, ( as in 400 by 25 May 2010), then, I will add a Package 5 for a fifth winner, which looks like package 4. 150 more bloggie friends, add package 6. I think however, despite the incredibly poor odds of it occurring, that I would have to cap it at 6 prize packages as I’m not made of unobtanium.

Dance Steps

Ohyeahkayso, I forgot the dancing part. In order to win, please follow these dance steps:

1. Fill out the Form below (+1 point)

2. Be an old follower (+2 points) or new follower (+1 point). Non-followers get disqualified cuz I’m snarly like that. And please don’t follow anonymously because I can’t see invisible people.

That’s it. You’re in, baby.

Want some extra entries? Follow any of these additional dance steps:

1. Leave a comment on this post (+1). Please be gentle with me.

2. Tweet this contest and tell the world how amazing it is. Please be sure to mention me so I can be sure to see it: @cvaldezmiller  (+2)

Note: you can earn an additional point for every additional tweet (though only up to 1 point per day)

3. Be my facebook friend: find my FB profile on the sidebar and friend me, if you’re not already my FBBFF (+1)

4. Post a link to this contest on Facebook—you will need to be my Facebook friend so I can see it, kaythankshello (+2)

5. Follow me on Twitter (+1)

6.  Follow me on the Networked Blogs thingy: Find the thingy on the sidebar (+1)

7. Blog about how fabulous this contest is (+5)

8. Add this contest to your sidebar (+3)

9. Send a follower my way. That means, you have to make sure they tell me in the form when they fill it out
that YOU sent them cuz I’m not always accurate with my ESP (+2)

10. And OH YEAH THIS ONE ROCKS: I want to see you film YOURSELF dancing to your favorite song for at least 30 seconds (or maybe if it’s totally cute as ever, your kiddo, but you have to be totally non-abusive and non-humiliating and have like some sort of legal guardianship or permission).  Film it, upload it to Youtube and add the Youtube address to the form. You can also leave a comment with it later. Also, by making the video, you are totally giving me permission to post it (although, I will only post one). Just for making the video, you’ll get an additional 15 points. If I choose yours to be the absolutely most rocking dance video EVER, you’ll get 25 points. Oh, and, um, please wear clothes when you do it. I’m normally pretty, like, okay with nudity, but generally not with other people’s nudity.**  Let’s aim for tasteful, shall we?


1. I will draw the names and award the prizes in order using If there is one package you seriously DON”T want, please email me, and I’ll remove your entries when I draw for that prize and drop it back in for the others.

2. Once your name has been drawn to receive a prize, you will not be eligible for any other prizes.

3. Contest ends at midnight EST 25 May 2010.

4. I can totally change the rules if I want, but I swear on my mother’s non-grave that I won’t alter them to make things suckier for anyone.

OKAY, I think that covers it. My apologies to those hoping for Gerard Butler and ponies as possible prizes. I got b***slapped by the post office just for asking about possible shipment.

EDIT: P.S. Open to residents of the US and Canada (yeah, Carol=no unobtanium). Sorry guys :(

Any questions, just Email me or leave a comment.  The force be with you.


*I’m kidding about one of these things.
**I am not even remotely okay with sharing my nudity with you either. Totally not what I meant.

Click BELOW to ENTER the William Grayson Squared Dance Contest

Click Here to Fill Out Form and Enter the Contest

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Is Not an X-rated Post

So, a while ago I was tagged by the adorable Kimberly Franklin to um, do this.

book boyfriend

Um, yeah.

If you can please peel your eyeballs away from the picture and take note of the title of the picture, you will understand that  1. this is not an X-rated post; 2. this actually almost sorta has something to do with writing; and 3. I will shamelessly entice you with alluring titles and pictures to get you to stop by.

And, oh yeah, I’m supposed to build my own Book Boyfriend. Here are the rules:

From the Gutter Girls: We all have our favourite book boyfriends and now you have the chance to create one just for yourself and your fantasies! How do you play? Fill out the quiz bellow, post a picture of sexy man and tag five (5) other book addicts to do the same. Don't forget to pop to their blogs as let them know they have been tagged! Once tagged... you have do do the same, grab the button, answer the questions, and keep it rolling! But don't forget the picture of the sexy man! It doesn't have to match your fantasy man, just a little eye candy for the rest of us... heheheee!

Now, contrary to what my header says, I actually live in a very realistic world and base a lot of my fictional characters on real people I have encountered in my life. So, I thought it would only be fitting to base my book boyfriend on all my ex-boyfriends. But please do not judge me for my past indiscretions. It’s taken me a long time to find the strength to post on my blog what is essentially a photographic journey through my heartbreak.


1. Hair color and style

I know it doesn’t seem like it, but these two pictures were actually all part of one picture. I cut them in half after Hugh broke up with me for working too much. Then I photoshopped my half to try and forget the hurt.


 laptop traveling_2

He does have such nice hair, and such a remarkable sense of style. How I do miss him. I have no idea how to dress myself.

2. Eye color and facial features

Okay, so it’s really difficult to see his eyes (green and gray with a hint of blue) in this sepia toned photo, but it’s the closest shot I had of Gerry. Although, truth be told, I should’ve burned this one. He actually sent me this one after I broke up with him because he refused to quit smoking. Go figure. That’s Gerry for you. So snarly sometimes.


Snarly and really antagonistic, too. He sent this photo of me in the same envelope. I didn’t even know he had it, the wanker.

feeling good

3. Height and body type

Okay, so clearly I’m still a little obsessed with Gerry.  








In this photo, I had just shooed Gerry out of the house so I could make some cupcakes for his birthday. But, here’s the thing. He didn’t go buy milk like I’d asked…he went to visit his ex-girlfriend. She’s the one who sent me the picture. I know, right? Still, he’s 6’2” of pure, raw manly goodness.

And I laced his cupcake with laxatives, so I was pretty sure he wouldn’t attempt a visit with his wicked ex Jennifer again.


4. Visible Age

Okay, so, I’ll be honest. Taylor was just a brief affair, like a few months ago (after his 18th birthday, thankyouverymuch). It was just too hard to keep it up much longer. I mean, really, the guy is so uber famous right now.  Like, for example, here we are on a spelunking trip. The paparazzi somehow got word of our travels and caught up with us as we exited the cave.

gallery_main-taylor-lautner-shirtle  carol

And just so you know, the whole shirtless thing? It’s totally as a favor to me—you know, a little thank you for the time we’ve spent together. So, in the future, when you see him take his shirt off, feel free to drop me a line of thanks.

5. Human or other

Yeah, the rumors are true. My boyfriends haven’t all been human. I mean, come on. If you’d had a chance with Edward, you would’ve dated a vampire, too. Butsookay, that relationship didn’t last all that long because I like my guys warm and a little more pliable. And yeah, okay, less sparkly. Still, I miss him sometimes,  even though he did try to drink my blood on occasion.

In this film publicity image released by Summit Entertainment, Robert Pattinson portrays Edward Cullen, left, and Kristen Stewart portrays Bella Swan in a scene from "The Twilight Saga: New Moon." (AP Photo/Summit Entertainment, Kimberley French)


6. Paranormal skills

Oh man, how I loved my affair with Colin. The guy’s a total dreamboat, and the things he can do with his hands…actually, it’s sort of one of his super powers. One touch, and BAM! I’m out cold. Yeah, so pretty much that relationship didn’t go much beyond us staring at one another because every time he touched me, we ended up looking like this. Tragic, really. By the time he figured out that latex gloves prevent this little problem, I’d already moved on to David.

ColinF-32  sleeping_cropped


7. Habitat

I think a beach setting would work well, wouldn’t you? This picture was taken the split second before I passed out from Colin’s touch. So, his supernatural talents really did come in handy sometimes. I’d been suffering from a two day insomnia spree at this point.

colin and carol

P.S. It was really cold on this day. I’m not really sure why Colin was so sweaty.

8. Interests

I’m not a huge fan of football, really, or even of sports in general, but that would never stop me from dating an athlete. I mean, seriously… I think a book boyfriend would most definitely have to be flexible athletic with a serious degree of stamina spirit.

david-beckham-mens-health-6    60987-david-beckham-637x0-1

P.S. See that blue smurf-looking mascot? That’s totally me in there. How do you think we met?

 9. Special skills

I’m pretty sure his special skill speaks for itself…considering, he didn’t even speak English. Still, I think this skill should have a name, don’t you think? I shall call it: holymotherofdrool

holy mother of drool 

He was my one and only ex boyfriend who didn’t break my heart. Some boyfriends are just like that, because, well, they’re not really boyfriends. They’re just there to serve a purpose and serve it well.


Ah, there you have it, my own personal book boyfriend made up of a compilation of my past boyfriends and one very friendly foreign dude.

And now, I will tag a few other people.

Sara McClung

Alexandra Shostak

Melissa at Chasing the Dream

Talli Roland

Amber Murphy


Try to keep it real, darlings, or I shall begin to think that all book boyfriends are nothing but mad flights of fantasy.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Here is what it’s like one hour after you send out your queries:

And it’s simultaneously like this:

check email

glance at blank screen of new document to continue writ—

check email

check email again

check Twitter







new document


new documentemailnewdocumentemailemailemailemailemailemail


stare really, really hard at your email screen

apply powers of persuasion

what? there’s an email



Autoresponse: “We have received your query.”

continue to stare


check email again

consult WikiHow:   How to Be Patient

Shallow. Frigging. Breaths.


flip on some music to drown out the crickets

create split screens: one for new document, one for email

stare at the email screen out of the corner of your eye

check email


Shut off the computer and go make a cocktail.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sometimes, I Sing in the Shower. Wanna see?

singing in shower

Let me set the stage for you: stand up shower, two tiled side walls, one glass wall, and a glass door. I step into the shower, and in walks


my toddler.

Actual conversation:

Little Bean:   Mommy, can I sit on the toilet and wait for you?

Carol:   Okay. But don’t—[Sighs. Too late.]—flush the toilet.

Little Bean:   Careful with that soap on your face.

Carol:   Of course I’ll be caref—S*it!

Little Bean:   What’sa matter, Mommy? Get soap in your eyes? [Opens shower door.]

Carol:   Erg, yes. [Reaches blindly for washcloth. Little Bean slams door on Carol’s fingers and Carol cries out.]

Little Bean:   That’s a bad word, you know.

Carol:   [Grunts to keep from screaming.]

Little Bean:   Hellooooo. Anybody home? Talk to me, lady.

Carol:    [Grits teeth, groaning. Squeezes aching finger.] Yes, I know. Don’t tell Daddy. And don’t  repeat it.

Little Bean:   What’sa peat-it?

Carol:   Nothing.  Just don’t say it again, okay?

Little Bean:   Careful with your toes.

Carol:   I always am.

Little Bean:   Don’t get soap stuck in them.

Carol:   That would be tragic. [Starts to sing Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.”]

Little Bean:   Mommy, don’t sing. That’s my favorite song. [Walks over to light switch. Laughs.] I turned the light off.

Carol:   [Feels for the shampoo not visible in the dark.] Yes, I see that.

Little Bean:   You can’t see now, can you?

Carol:   [Sighs.] Little Bean….

Little Bean:   Hahahaha! [Turns light back on.] Good morning!

Carol:   Hello.

Little Bean:   [Turns light off.] Night-night.

Carol:   [Sighs more loudly] ….

Little bean:  [Repeats light switch trick several more times.]

Carol:   Well,  that was fun. Why don’t you go watch Little Bear in Mommy’s bedroom?

Little Bean:   Kay. How come you’re washin’ your hair again?

Carol:   Cuz I always rinse and repeat.

Little Bean:   Ahhh. [Nods head, as if to say, “that makes sense.”] Can I use your lotion?

Carol:   I’d rather you— [Watches as Little Bean squirts lotion onto her palm.] Fine, dear. [Sighs.] Will you let me shower in peace now? [Turns around. Ignores Little Bean.]

Little Bean:   Look mommy, I did my hair!

Carol:   [Takes one look at Little Bean’s blonde curls plastered into place with greasy lotion, likely smelling now like she’d dipped her head into a vat of Japanese cherry blossoms; blinks several times; turns back around, squeezing eyes closed.]

Little Bean:   Look at me, Mommy! I’m wearing your bra thingy. This one’s my favorite.

Carol:   Oh. Gads, child. It doesn’t go on your head.

Little Bean:   But it looks good like this. [admires reflection in mirror; then wraps towel around herself] You like my dress?

Carol:   It’s lovely, dea—where you going? Wait, come back. [Watches as Little bean takes off with the only towel]

Little Bean:   [From the hallway] Gonna get a snack !

Carol:   [Imagines a chair pushed up to the fridge, milk on its side dripping on the floor, eggs cracked and gooping yolk.] Little Bean!! Little Bean!! Come back here!

[Eyes drift to the hand towel hanging over the sink



What? Did you expect a VLOG???? Pshaw….

Ever get tired of narrative? I thought about writing an entire book with just dialogue. And then I realized it would be a script (well, with a slightly altered format). BUT, as it turns out, this has been done before. Walter Dean Myers’ Monster was a script published as a YA book  in 1999 (which you should read, by the way).

Everybody steals my ideas before I think of them. How annoying.

Hey, guess what? I hit 250 bloggie friends. I’m thinking of holding a mini contest before my big one at 300. What should  I give as a prize? And please stop voting for ponies. They’re so hard to ship.

P.S. That is NOT me in the shower. That photo was found here.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Sit at the computer. Open new e-mail:




Lean head on the back of the seat. Inhale a deep breath. Okay. Then open up synopsis. Read through it.
Stare. Stare.  Set it aside. Browse Facebook, and Twitter. Check out out some blogs. Watch the clock inch closer to noon.

11:00 AM
Heart thrums a brisk pizzicato. Feel the pulse thumping between the ears.

11:02 AM
Turn back to the synopsis. Tweak it a bit. Then a bit more. Turn to the query. Tweak it. A little more now.
Hit print. Printer jams. Husband hears cries, and enters--fixes printer. Feel the the pressure to make it.

Frantic curses.

So the husband:  “Sit. Don’t move.”

11:47 AM
He returns, leans on the doorway:  “I couldn’t find the number for the one close by, but the other one said all of them should be open until three.”

Well then. Set everything aside. Decide: breakfast. Yes, breakfast. Eat. Take a shower. It’s cold: put on a sweater.

Then, finally, sit down at the computer. Finish printing. Prepare two envelopes—one with a query and a synopsis, another with just a query. Both with a SASE.

2:10 PM
Long sigh. Slip on shoes. Throw envelopes into husband’s car. Drive to the post office.

2:15 PM
But the sign says: Saturday 7-2

Pick up the phone. Don’t cry. Just: “It seems like a sign to me.”

“The other one is still open,” he says. Hear his sigh. Feel the shrug on the other end of the phone.

Drive back home. Drive past the house. Keep going. And going.  Get a little lost in the unfamiliar town. Don’t push it. Don’t panic. Look for signs.

Stop at red light. Stare upwards. Signs. Signs. Please, signs.

Find the other post office. Sign says: Saturday 7-3

Clock says: 3:03

On the drive home, think: It’s not ready.

Think: It’ll never be ready.

Confidence? It’s an illusion.

Do it anyway? But the signs.

Internal dialogue: How easy to think that which was once beautiful is now unworthy. But maybe you simply deluded yourself to begin with finding beauty where there was none. But maybe you’re just a fraidy cat.  Maybe the only ones telling the truth are the ones who don’t like it. Maybe the only ones telling the truth are the ones who do. Maybe you can’t please everybody. Maybe you should just


do it

Or don’t

6:59 PM
It’s hot—take off the sweater. Open up the manuscript. Read the first page. Close the manuscript. Compose e-mail: Dear Agent

Lean head back on the seat.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Persuasion…It’s All in Your Head

Okay, so Thursdays are MY days. I don’t have to run anyone to practice or lessons or dumb school. Save for a mumbled, sleepwalking hello to my eldest before she heads off  in the disgustingly wee hours of morning, I get to sleep in on Thursdays—except when my toddler thinks that 7:30 is a perfectly acceptable time to wake up. But I was up until 2 AM last night, so yeah, no way. I dragged my toddler into bed and said, “Sleep. Now.”

And after only a half hour of crying and promises to make her a Mickey Mouse pancake as soon as she woke up, she finally fell asleep (and I stopped crying to fall asleep with her). Rise and shine? Two hours later, baby. I even got up before her. So what’s my trick?

I’m half Jedi, of course.

This would prove handy with agents if I were only able to look them in the eye. I wonder if perhaps I shouldn’t show up to their offices in person instead. I know what you’re thinking: that’s a ticket straight to non-represented hell, Carol!  But really, those rules don’t apply to half–Jedis. One look into my eyes, and they’ll be like: yes master, sign this contract while I go dump all my other clients for you.

Don’t judge—I live in a fantasy world.

Now let me show you the ways I’ve been employing my Half-Jedi powers.

Check out what I won from Elana Johnson:


A signed copy of Lisa McMann’s Gone (from the Wake Trilogy). Nice, huh? I’m a bit behind posting about it. A while back she had a contest for her, like, millionth follower, and she gave away a ridiculous number of signed books. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How did she get a million followers and where is she getting all these signed books? Well, she’s full Jedi, for one thing. But don’t ask her about it or she’ll Jedi mind trick you into eating your own shoe. But yeah, I was crazy excited to win. You should’ve seen the little dance I did for it.

AND, I’ve been awarded a little more blog bling. I’m now at the stage where, looking at my sidebar, I’m beginning to wonder if all those people really meant to give all those awards to another Carolina Valdez Miller. I mean, really,  me? me? For realz? Dude, I would so be that person that accepts her Oscar crying like a loon (even if it was rigged-Avatar-should-have-won).

So, the blog bling…for the rules, click on the award pics. I’m not following the rules, as usual, so I won’t post them here.

Big thanks to the uber stylish and funny as heck Kimberly Franklin. I feel so Sex in the City with this one.

I pass this award on to:
Courtney Barr (Southern Princess)
VR Barkowski
Sara Mcclung
Karen Amanda Hooper


This award is so very cute, given to me by the super sweet, super talented Roxy Haynie.

I pass this award on to:
Alexandra Shostak

Thank you to Liza Carens Salerno (Middle Passages) for this one. It’s a beautiful one, to be sure, and so much appreciated.

 I pass this award on to:
Alexandra Shostak, who has a passel of cats all bedecked in steampunk gear (including goggles and leather gloves for their paws) that she’s taught to meow-sing along with HIM and to bow whenever they see images of Ville Valo.
Sara McClung, who has a magic dragon that hides on her body in the form of a giant tattoo on her back. The dragon comes out at night while she’s writing to whisper stories into her ear. It also defends her by breathing fire on morons who use really back pick-up lines.

Wendy Morrell, who has a chicken that gives her golden eggs filled with secrets to the universe. But Wendy likes the eggs so much, and is so certain that the human race is not yet ready for this knowledge that she hasn’t cracked  open a single one of her 435,256 eggs.

Sunshine Supportive Commenter Award
I could just hug Julie Dao for giving me this award, because I love to leave comments. In fact, I love it so much that I will leave novellas as comments sometimes. I can’t help myself. It goes against my nature to be brief.

I pass this award on to:
Tricia J. O’Brien
Simon Larter

From the lovely Patricia Stoltey and Yvonne Osborne. Thank you my dears. I don’t feel like a prolific blogger at the moment. I’ve been so immersed in query preparation that my bloggie has suffered. :(
I pass this award on to:

Frankie Diane Mallis

The final three awards, I’ve previously received:Lesa's_Blogger_Award
Thank you, Kristi Chestnutt!

 happy award
Thank you, Annika of A Swede Abroad! This reminds me I never posted my happies list. I should do that. Someday.

Thank you, Jon Paul for the Picasso Award!

Finally, guess what? I’ve also come up with a super brilliant contest with super brilliant prizes that will make you drool and earn me like a million followers. Cuz, yeah, the prizes are that awesome. I can tell you that serious Jedi mind tricks (and possibly even  bribery) went a long way towards acquiring these prizes. But first, I must acquire 300 bloggie friends. That’s the rules. So, you know, feel free to send some my way.
(I am using my Half-Jedi mind powers on your right now).


Oh yeah, Susan fields is giving away Barnes and Nobles Gift Cards. Yes, you heard me correctly, all you bibliophiles. So hurry up, sign up, and win something. Ends 24 April.

Lola Sharp is giving away a $20 B&N card or The Hangover. Pretty dang cool.  Be cool and show up to the party with a good bachelor(ette) party story.

And be sure to check out Lisa and Laura Roecker’s Totally Epic 500 Followers Contest for some seriously fab prizes.  Ends…I don’t know when. But they’re drawing on 14 April, so hurry up. Warning: arm wrestling may be involved

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Maybe Some Days Usher Wears a Beanie

Before you do anything, be sure to go check out this photo titled Life Happens that my dear friend Faye Sommer posted on her blog . It’s so dang cute and hilarious. Seriously. Do NOT miss out on this. Faye is a professional photographer—and an amazing one at that—so I’d much rather send you to her blog where you can check out all of her other amazing photographs while you are there (plus there’s this little issue of copyright—and friendship--that prevents me from being and ass and posting her photo here).

Faye will likely do my professional author pics…eventually. Can you just imagine it? Me, in some stuffy suit and pearls? Perhaps I will give the camera that Usher stare—you know the one he does with his eyes kind of crinkly and half-closed, where you’re not quite sure if he’s half asleep or merely debating different ways to eat you.

I think if I were to post a photo on my book jacket, I would want to have one that looks like this:

It’s not quite the Usher stare. Rather, I’m pretty sure this look says, “I-totally-see-your-soul-and-it-looks-rather-tasty-doesn’t-my-book-look-awesome?” Plus, the phone over the face adds that air of mystery I think all authors should have.

If you think you don’t need professional photos, well, maybe you don’t. What do I know? You can ask Jane Friedman* if you’re uncertain. She’ll likely tell you that every author needs professional headshots.

Actually, I’m pretty dang sure that’s what she’d tell you.

I’ll be honest. I’m not sure how I feel about this. I’ve been rather resistant to the whole notion of author branding, and this just seems to take it one step further. Like, look at me, I’ve now been hermitically sealed in a brand with this uber professional photograph of me sitting in a random field of poppies staring off like I’m thinking really hard about my super story.

It’s not that I don’t agree that branding is necessary. I mean, fans and followers need something more concrete to hang on to, an image that they can put to your name, right? Usher, for example, will indelibly be, in my mind, that guy with a lazy, fresh-from-the-bedroom smile and a crinkly-eyed, will-you-go-best-with-pinot-or-merlot stare. This look is something I can remember.

But I bet Usher is more than just a sex god. I wonder if it bothers him that this is how he’s viewed? Maybe he doesn’t imagine every woman naked save for stilettos and a spoon. Perhaps, some days he sheds his sunglasses and puts on a beanie and sweat pants. Maybe he thinks to himself, “I really wish people knew about my stuffed pig collection and my penchant for fish tacos. I’m not only an oysters and champagne and handcuffs kind of guy.”

usher with beanie_red_and_white

I suppose his image sells, and in the end that’s what matters.** I just don’t know how to be only one thing. How do you capture in a photo—or in a brand—the everything that you are?

Maybe I’ll just keep taking photos with a phone over my face, so it doesn’t matter who I am. I’ll just be the author with a phone face. Think it’ll sell?

Just don’t look into my eyes. Cuz your soul’s looking mighty tasty.

*Jane Friedman is publisher and editorial director of the Writer’s Digest community at F+W Media in Cincinnati, Ohio

**I feel the need to clarify that I have no idea if Usher actually has a beanie like this one or a stuffed pig collection. If it’s not blatantly obvious to you that the photo of Usher has been altered to suit my purposes, don’t feel bad—perhaps I’m just a crazy good photoshopper (Original photo found here).