At the end of April, I will be speaking at a conference here in Austin. It'll be my last appearance while my immediate family consists only of adults, so I'm feeling a bit nostalgic towards it.
Today, I received an email asking for the obligatory bio that every conference presenter needs. Turns out that I dislike talking about myself just as much as I dislike telling random strangers about my books when working in my bookstore. After a few snarky false starts, I managed to type something only moderately sarcastic. Job well done.
But then came the horror, the terror, the hideous request of the email. They wanted a photo.
Now, I am always making my authors have author photos taken. They are very important. Whether they like it or not, authors are the faces of their books. We need pictures of them for press kits, jacket flaps, event posters, websites, etc. I have a headshot for all my published and most of my soon to be published authors on file.
But I am not an author. I am a shadowy, insubstantial being hiding in the background deciding whether the manuscript in my hand will live or die a slow death rotting in the rejection pile. Well, that's a bit melodramatic. Okay, very melodramatic. But my point is that I am not the public aspect of my books. That's the author.
(You could argue, and argue rightly, that I am the public persona of my company and therefore should have been prepared. And yes, you would most certainly be right.)
So, I was completely unprepared for this photo request, mostly because this is the first time a conference has ever asked for one but also because I have generally worked to preserve my anonymity. You may or may not have noticed, but my name, image, or any other identifying characteristic generally do not appear on the web.
However, since I'm about to be outed (so to speak) in this conference's marketing material, let me present to you the Publisher of CBAY Books: