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Every Girl Wants to be a Princess


Today I turn thirty-seven. I’m months away from publishing my first book as a solo author. (I write solo because I used to be a ghostwriter so there are a few books out there with my name after the author’s name). So what is one of the main reasons I’m dreading putting it out? The author photograph.

In general, I’m not a huge fan of them. There’s that old phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, we do. The cover is one of the main reasons a book sells. I considered reading The Dream Engine by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant when it came out in 2014. The cover is gorgeous artistically, but when I look at it I think “That book is not for me.” Recently, the authors redid their cover. It’s not so original, but even though not one word of the actual story has changed, I’m now considering buying it. Consciously, I know that’s stupid, but that’s how our minds work.

What about the author photograph? Have you ever flipped over the back of a print book or scrolled down the description of an eBook and caught a glimpse of the author photograph? Did you stop and reflect on it? There is a series by an author with a not so great photograph. It’s in black and white (which can work but does not for this one) and the author looks miserable. I’ll add to that. She looks annoyed. Yes, I still bought her books and loved them, but I took an extra second to decide after seeing her unhappy face.  Sometimes that extra second, that pause is all you get before a reader moves on to the next potential book to buy.

Maybe you think I’m being too dramatic. If you know me at all this would not come as any surprise. I am OCD about everything so of course I’m going to freak out about the author photograph. Maybe you think, “Who cares?” or “Just let it go.” I’m trying. Letting go of my hate for author photos is a work in progress.

Since I was already dreading the author photo I did all I could to prepare. I scheduled to get the pictures taken months in advance. I scouted out a great location, because I don’t want a boring wall behind me. I got my hair done and spent weeks trying on different outfits. I wanted to look professional but not stuffy.

The big day finally arrived. It was day number three of beautiful weather. This is something to celebrate in England. As I drove to the photo shoot I realized my new used car has no A/C. Two hours of hair styling and makeup applying were melting. Fortunately, the wonderful photographer I was going to chauffer offered to drive. Erica and I arrived at Bury, and I gathered my large bag which included a handheld mirror, a little makeup, and extra shoes and clothes for comfort to change into when we were done.

Erica had never been to this location, and I was pleased with how excited she was after seeing it. We walked through The Abbey Gate to the Abbey Gardens. There are ruins, flowers and stunning architecture throughout the area. Upon passing through the entrance we immediately stopped. The first spot I picked here included a great wooden black door I stood in front of.

The spot we chose was full of visitors. As Erica clicked away passers-by paused and gawked. My nerves were high as we began. I’m shy and don’t usually like being the center of attention. Erica occasionally told me “That’s a great one” or did something to make me laugh. Slowly, I began to relax and enjoy myself.

Next we moved a few feet away to an archway leading to an enclosed area. After a couple minutes of me smiling so much my face hurt, Erica came over and showed me a photograph. To my enormous relief it was stunning. The light from the south lit up the area behind me, and I had a great smile. At that moment all my anxiety evaporated. I knew there was at least one picture I could use.

From then on I let myself relax and have fun. I climbed precarious steps made of sharp rocks.


I got cosy sitting on enormous tree roots sticking out of the ground.


I rested on the grass surrounded by flowers while Erica climbed a tree to take pictures from above. It was an adventure. 

At one point I felt beautiful. I felt like a princess, and I actually liked it. As a mom of two young boys I rarely make the time to glamor up and go out with other females. And when I do the day is never just about me. As Erica took the final photographs I teared up. Not wearing waterproof mascara, I quickly grabbed a tissue from my bag and dabbed the intruders away.

I dreaded this day so much I worried I’d get a migraine and have to cancel. However, my unwanted author photograph turned into a fun day with a friend celebrating the fact I’m about to take the giant leap of publishing my first book as a solo author. It is something to celebrate.

At the end of it all, maybe the author photograph I choose to use won’t appeal to readers. Maybe they’re too critical (like me), and they’ll point out how horrible it is. Putting my face on the back of my book may give a potential reader one more reason to reject my story. Or maybe I’ll have one which deserves to be on the cover of a magazine. Either way, I no longer care.

What I realized when I examined why I’m freaking out so much about this is it all boils down to my fear of rejection. I’m not going to let my fear of being rejected keep me from publishing a book that took me a decade to complete. I’m not going to let my fear of being criticised keep me from sharing my story with the world. But, what I am going to do every time I see my author photograph is always remember May 8th. It was the time I almost tumbled down jagged ruins, the time I couldn’t get all the flowers out of my hair, the time I felt like a princess for a day, and the time I overcame my fear of author photos.



 How do you feel about author photos? I'd love to hear your opinion in the comment section below.



Thanks Erica for the great photos!

Facebook: Erica Lindsey Photography

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Erica W. wrote:
I love this post so much! I'm glad you had fun & felt like a princess. I had a blast working with you. You're a beautiful person, inside & out :)

Fri, May 13, 2016 @ 8:42 AM

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