Our guest today is Kelly Simmons whose novels have been hailed as electrifying, complex, and poignant, and aren’t those nice words? Her third novel, One More Day, just came out and everyone calls it riveting, so don’t buy it unless you want to stay up all night reading it. She’s a member of WFWA, Tall Poppy Writers, and The Liars Club, a group of published novelists dedicated to helping fledgling writers.
If I had to pinpoint one reason I wanted to write this post—I guess it’s because my sister is the pretty one. Oh, and social media is a demanding b–tch.
Writing & Bathing
“I already wrote a great book; do I also have to wash my hair?”
When I was in college, one of my professors tried to convince me to switch from print journalism to broadcast journalism. It’s more lucrative, he said. You have a good voice. No way, I said. I’m not gonna blow dry my hair every day!
And so began a life lived authentically—and mostly behind the scenes. A life of writing and brainstorming, and only occasionally going to meetings, or teaching a seminar or two. A life you could live with a pair of blue jeans and a pair of black jeans.
But now, the life of an author is more visual than ever before. Every event, from a book signing to a book club appearance to an author meetup, is splashed all over social media. With photos. Without filters.
My kids and my beautiful friends have all tried to teach me how to pose, but I am hopeless. Do I jut out my chin at the same time as my arm? Do I smile with my eyes or my mouth? Is saying “cheese” even a thing anymore? And is it all right to scream “Not my thighs! Do not photograph my thighs!” at a bookstore employee?
As our President likes to say, “When I did it, I didn’t consider the optics.” Sigh. But the truth is, most readers and influencers encounter you first through your optics, and often, only through your optics. The impression you form through your author photos and social media feeds becomes who you are.
Admit it; we’ve all had visceral responses to photos of people we have never met. We’ve said, she seems nice. She looks like a great person! And then—We’ve also recoiled. We’ve rolled our eyes and JUDGED. What was he thinking, posting that? And her—Too perfect. Ridiculous! [Read more…]