Pictures In The Eyes Of The Beholder


Woman Hiding Behind BookIn going through the process of getting my website completed, I’ve been thinking a lot about author photos. For writers of erotic romance, in particular, this can be a tricky decision. To have a photo, or not to have a photo. That is the question. Like many, I have a “day job” unrelated to my passion for writing, and the day job folks  . . . well, let’s just say there’s a certain image in the corporate world which may or may not look favorably upon an erotic romance writer.

So. The photo. In my quest to address this issue as it pertain to my own site, I decided – for inspiration – to go on a voyeuristic exploration of other writers’ sites and see what they’re up to, photo wise. My first stop was at the port of Ms. Misty Dietz.

Now, before I say anything about the photo Misty uses on her site, let me just say that I really love her site in general. First off, it tells me what she’s writing. I know within seconds after her homepage opens that Misty’s stories have a dark side, that she veers toward suspense/paranormal romance versus sweet or inspirational. Her tag line, “Love, Sex & Danger. Buckle Up.” gives me a pretty darn good clue about that. And she does have a picture, beautifully displayed in the bio section of the site. Good on ya, Misty.

Hmmm. OK, that was informative. But perhaps I also need to look at a writer who’s really known for her blistering hot erotic romances. I decided to check out Delilah Devlin’s site.

Like Misty, Delilah chooses not to put her photo on the homepage but instead reserves it for when readers click through to the bio page. There we can learn about her childhood, her writing awards, her loves and interests, even where she went to school. Very informative! And we also get her photo. Unlike Misty’s photo, which is so good it looks professionally done (or maybe Misty is just uber photogenic), Delilah’s picture is more like a good picture that a friend took with a smartphone. Oh, and she also has an adorable picture of her and her sister when they were kids. Love it.

Next stop, Tiffany Reisz. Author of the very sexy and extremely hot The Original Sinners series, Tiffany’s a writer we love here on Lady Smut. (see Madeline’s Q&A with Tiffany here). Tiffany also has a really cool website. It’s moody, all black, white, and grey, well organized, and let’s us learn a lot about her. Going with the theme of no photo on the home page, Tiffany’s pretty mug is revealed on her bio page. The picture, I must say, really goes along with the mood of her writing. It’s a black and white picture of her in profile but looking out at the viewer. Really cool.

In my (admittedly somewhat limited) research of romance and erotic romance writers’ websites, the majority (although not all) of writers are indeed using author pictures. Other sites I looked at include Shoshanna Evers, Erica Chilson, Joey W. Hill, Robin Schone, Ella  Quinn, and Lisa Valdez. Now, I wasn’t born yesterday and am aware that some of the pictures may not be of the authors themselves. For a variety of reasons, some of us just don’t feel comfortable having our faces out there. Hey, I get it. That was the point of this exercise, after all. To photo, or not to photo. How do you answer the question?

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8 Comments

  • cmkempe
    June 19, 2013 at 5:59 am

    I have a photo of me at my homepage that really is me, though artfully obscuring some of my features with a Fosse-like hat tip (it’s my icon here, too). I dislike obviously fake photos, but I understand the need. I was kind of surprised when my students (avid readers, English majors and mostly wannabe writers) said they’d prefer in the whole *not* to know what an author looks like, in case they don’t fit their image.

    • cmkempe
      June 19, 2013 at 6:00 am

      “Their image”: unclear! I meant the image they had developed as readers.

      • Elizabeth Shore
        June 19, 2013 at 11:21 am

        Ha! I knew what you meant. Yes, there’s certainly a bit of fun with the element of mystery. What exactly does that CM Kempe look like anyway?

    • madelineiva
      June 19, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      I had a crush on Kurt Vonnegut and was devastated when I finally saw a picture of him. I think I actually wailed. So I get what your students are saying. Writers are an unkempt lot for the most part. We don’t have time to shop and get our hair done–we’re busy writing!

      Yet there is that yearning I feel when I read SEP or some other author I madly love to see her face, to connect more deeply…

      Good luck with your decision, Elizabeth. xo

  • LizEverly
    June 19, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Pink wig. Sunglasses. Need I say more? 😉 Great post!

    • Elizabeth Shore
      June 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

      It’s another great point with both of you, actually. The photo is there, but your faces are a little bit “obstructed,” for lack of a better word. I’ve been using for quite some time Titian’s painting of Judith as my icon, but I’m thinking that’s not going to cut it for the website.

  • cmkempe
    June 19, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    Surprisingly, CMK looks an awful lot like her identical cousin K. A. Laity.

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