Review: Knowing by Laura Dewey

Title: Knowing
Author: Laura Dewey
Publisher: The Story Plant
Genre: Suspense

ISBN: 978-1611880496

Reviewed by Jo Linsdell

"After the life-altering ending in the third Jane Perry thriller, REVELATIONS, Jane Perry takes time off from the job to find the missing part of herself she never knew existed. But her journey is quickly hijacked when a wanted criminal, Harlan Kipple, steals her car. Kipple—accused of the heinous murder of a prostitute in a seedy motel—is on the run and desperate to stay that way. Jane’s personal plans take a back seat as she tracks down her stolen ride and discovers through an unusual source that Kipple may be innocent and is being framed by a nefarious group. When she trails Kipple and confronts him, every belief she ever had about this world and the next is put to the test. 

Kipple, who by his own admission is not the “brightest bulb in the box,” received a heart transplant seventeen months ago. His life changed from the moment he woke up in the recovery room. In fact, he’s not so sure where he ends and his heart takes over. As strange as that sounds to her, Jane cannot deny what she witnesses after spending just two days with Kipple. It becomes clear that nothing is what it appears as Jane is drawn into a deep rabbit hole with dark webs and darker crevices that force her to operate on the other side of the law. With the police hot on Kipple’s tail and a devious faction intent on finding him first, Jane is caught in the middle and realizes that solving this crime could have fatal consequences." 

I've not read any of the other Jane Perry books and Knowing is in fact the 4th book in the JP series. I'm not sure but maybe if I'd read the others first I would have liked this one more.

On the whole a good read and the story had some interesting twists and developments. It has a strong spiritual theme, without being religious, and definitely raises some points that leave you thinking.

This book wasn't what I was expecting from a crime novel as it veered off into the supernatural a bit.

Although in some places I found it a bit slow, if you like conspiracies you might enjoy this one.

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Writing To Me Is…

Writing has become a therapeutic way for me to reflect back on my thoughts and rethink the world around me. Aside from being an author, I work full time as a corporate salesperson. Many times I am on the road for days at a time, and I don’t get much time for rest and relaxation. I spend ample hours treating clients to late dinners, traveling from various hotels to the airport, and preparing presentations for meetings that land us a few million dollars’ worth of business. Although I enjoy my job, I always welcome a relaxing escape from it.

Taking time out of my day to write allows me to disconnect for a few minutes (or sometimes hours) from my normal routine. I get to lose myself in some of the most interesting subjects where I can create a detailed account of my imagination on paper. Once my book came to fruition, it was astounding to receive feedback on it. I never imagined publishing material that other people would read and enjoy. I remember the first (and many of the following) reviews that I received on my book. I was simply thrilled to think that someone actually read the book and had something to say about it. It was an adrenaline rush like I got from skydiving the first time. I was so excited.

Writing can have that effect on people. It’s not just words on a page, it is much more than that. I know for everyone it is different, but for me it is an experience in itself. I am taken into a different mindset and I enjoy every minute of it.

Guest post by Kersten L. Kelly, a self-published author of narrative non-fiction and semi-fiction books. She grew up in Munster, Indiana, and currently works in a sales role based out of Chicago, Illinois. She started writing at an early age and graduated from Indiana University with a dual Bachelor's Degree in Economics and Communication & Culture. She then went on to earn a Master's in Business Administration from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University. She has a passion for learning, teaching, and writing as well as international travel in her spare time. 
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Interview with Michelle Elliot

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I get asked this all the time, but the truth is, I don't think anybody decides to become a writer. I started writing when I was a teenager, I guess. Nothing huge or big. Just generally putting my thoughts and feelings down on paper, more for self beneficial purposes than to achieve anything else.

Though, by doing this I picked up on a potential talent and just decided to take something I already loved doing and looked into making more of it than just scrap bits of note paper. I'm glad it paid off now.

What genre do you write and why?

I can’t say I have a specific genre of writing. I have written short stories and novella, to poetry and song writing. I have written self-help guides, erotica writes and I have recently moved into the “Chick-Lit” genre – a style of writing I thought wouldn’t suit me, but I’ve found myself surprised by how much I’ve enjoyed it.

Tell us about your latest book.

“Until We Meet” is my latest book, it is also my debut chick-lit release. Writing this book was more of a spur-of-the-moment project, rather than something I had planned to do. It has been the easiest thing I have written in the last six years, because so much of it is relevant to my own life. The book includes several characters and it goes through the motions of how it is to date in modern society, the trials and tribulations of finding love and meeting the wrong people. Ultimately though, "Until We Meet" tells the story of the two main characters - Darren and Katy. Unlike the typical romance tale of boy-meets-girl, "Until We Meet" plays out the lives of two people who have never met.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 

I am still marketing the book at the moment. In the last six years of being a published author, I have realised the importance of creating a 'buzz' before the release of a new book. It gets your audience excited and keeps them keen to read. This time I opted to advertise "Until We Meet" using a book trailer:

I can now publicise that there is an even bigger team of people working behind “Until We Meet” and we are currently in the process of creating something more of a movie-like trailer. We have been lucky enough to secure some fantastic actors and actresses and well known artists to create the backing tracks. This will be the first of it’s kind I have ever done, and I am excited to see the end result.

Alongside this, I also have a facebook page where I encourage anybody to come over and chat to me. Will soon be connecting via Twitter too.


What formats is the book available in?

“Until We Meet” will be available in both digital format and in print. You will be able to buy the book online through sites like Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my own personal website which will be live in the coming weeks. You will also be able to download the book on your Kindle.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Think about the writing I will have to do when my spare time is over! Besides this though, I spend time with my beautiful family, doing as much as we can together. Trips to the park, lake and messy paint days at home. I listen to a lot of music, like discovering new talent on places like YouTube and I am an keen reader myself.

Who are your favourite authors?

don't have many favourite authors as such. I love books - sometimes I'll love one book from an author, and hate their next. But in the last few months I have read and enjoyed the likes of Sibel Hodge, Sophie Kinsella, and EL James

What advice do you have for other writers?

Be prepared to do more editing than writing, to delete more pages than you will create but remember the first manuscript is always the hardest. Re-read your work in progress but not too often because no matter how gripping your story is, after reading it for the 100th time, it will seem like the most boring news bulletin you have ever read. Set yourself up to be prepared to hit a few hurdles and set backs along the way. I have realised that even if you manage to traditionally publish, things get put on hold and dates get pushed further back most times. Nothing will go according to plan, but it will always work out. Make time to get involved with other writers and as many events and promotional opportunities as you can. They will all help you on your way to becoming an established author.

What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?

I always get asked this, and the answer is always the same.

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil - but there is no way around them.

- Isaac Asimov

I think this is a big quote for me. I've been rejected so many times as an author. I used to get so, so disappointed when I recieved a form later or rejection mail. I'm glad of each of them now because it was an extra push to keep going.

What's the best thing about being a writer?

Holding a book in your hand that has YOUR name on it, knowing that it is all your work. Recieving mail and feedback from my readers. Knowing that people enjoy reading what I write is an incredible feeling. The idea that I have given my children a reason to be proud of me, when they are older. I've had the opportunity to write with some INCREDIBLE people in the last few years too which has made for some very special experiences.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

You can find out more about the book through my Facebook page and book trailer. In the coming weeks, my personal website (still a work in progress) will be available which will include a personal biography, information on my books, and free goodies.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I would like to thank Jo, for hosting me here today. I would also like to send my thanks out to my book cover designer Oliver Bennett (Who has taken my rubbish sketches and ideas and turned them into something amazing) . Thanks to my amazing agent, who has had to put up with endless complaints, requests and just general whining from me, and for pushing me to achieve my best. An even bigger thanks to my supportive friends and family who have encouraged me to keep writing, and to my readers - who have helped make a big dream a reality :)


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The Dreaded Action Scene

When I first started writing fantasy I found myself procrastinating the action and battle scenes. I have to admit, they scared me. I wasn’t sure how to get movement into my story that was both exciting and yet clear.

But I’ve learned that there is a secret to executing action scenes well. It’s a technique known as pacing.

In a battle scene, for instance, there needs to be enough detail so that the reader sees exactly what is happening and can follow along. But too much detail will weigh the event, and the reader will lose themselves in adjectives and adverbs and unnecessary telling.

If the environment needs to be drawn, it should be done before the action begins because once the events start, the author needs to imply quickness. The best way to do that is to make the sentences as short and quick as the scene that is taking place.

Emotions are always an important element in every scene and I personally like to include them in high-tension battle scenes as well. But in real life how often, in the heat of the moment, are we aware of our emotions. It seems that we become too involved in the action to be feeling anything?

For instance, if you see a child about to step into a busy street you act on impulse. You race out to grab that child and bring her to safety. It isn’t until after the fact that you feel your heart beating a mile a minute, or fear overwhelming you.

The same is true for characters in a story. Up to the moment before the first shot emotion can bring anticipation. But when that first blast of gun, or sweep of a sword happens, your characters will act on impulse. All emotions and thoughts will come afterwards.

So how do we show the action itself so that it’s believable and clear?

I’ve found that short to the point sentences work the best.

Jane picked up a towel. Randy raced at her. Fist flying. Sweat beading down his face. The towel flew. Blinded by the impact, Randy fell. The door slammed. Jane was gone.

Not the best writing probably, but you get the point. Quick and precise sentences will move the story at an exciting pace.

Dianne Gardner is both an author and illustrator living the Pacific Northwest, Olalla Washington. She’s an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the National League of American Pen Women. She has written Young Adult Fantasy novels as well as articles for national maga­zines and newspapers and she is an award-winning artist. Her book The Dragon Shield is out now

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A Reader or a writer, which would you rather be?

A reader or a writer? Both. I feel that by reading other writers’ works, I learn a lot about writing. There are some writers that blow me away with the beauty of their words, and then there are others who teach me what not to do. Things like:
Don’t overwrite. Sometimes writers get carried away and have a need to explain something important to them in several different ways. For example: “It changed my life forever. It would surely make me think first from now on.  It would make a difference in the world.” Snore. “It changed my life forever was more than enough.”
Don’t tell. Some writers tell us everything their character feels instead of showing us. For example: “She was shocked.” No, no! Make her muscles tighten, or jaw drop, or something.
Don’t use too many words For example, take the line: She now understood why Mom told her to keep away from Mr. Joans. (Right after Mr. Jones gave her heck for walking on his lawn.) Inexperienced authors will add on, “Mr. Jones was a mean man who yelled at everyone. So why should she try to talk to him? It didn’t make sense since he was as mean as a junkyard dog.” See what I’m getting at? We, the readers, can figure it out by ourselves. We don’t need the author to elaborate so much.
But as far as writing goes, I oftentimes tell people, writing is like reading a really good book except that you’re writing it. I write off the top of my head and my characters take on a life of their own and start doing things I never planned on. And I just follow along and see where they’ll lead me. It’s quite fascinating.
Guest post by Suzanne De Montigny
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Middle Grade Fantasy
Rating – G
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Seven Tips for Being a Better Writer

Writing is something we all do, every day of our lives. We compose emails, social media posts, write heartfelt letters to friends and family or crisp missives to business associates. Some people are gifted wordsmiths, delighting everyone with their talent, and yet they don’t think of themselves as possessing any special writing skills. Others know they’re writers, because they are published authors or popular bloggers. No matter how¾or if, you see yourself as a contender in the literary world, you can’t escape the fact that you are a writer. And in the course of writing day to day, you’ve collected valuable tips and strategies for being better at it. If you’re like me, you’re always thrilled to find a new piece of advice, or a tip or technique that you can add to your arsenal. Here are seven of my favorite tips for being a better writer:
Don’t dream about it, agonize over it, or talk about it. Do it. Writing, like standup comedy or skydiving, is best done by doing. Sure, you want to be prepared and well-informed about the risks and benefits prior to the experience, but don’t hold back and obsess on every little detail of planning and preparation before you get started, or you run the risk of getting bogged down in perfectionism and the resulting procrastination that can block your process. Instead, jump in and go crazy. Really let yourself go, leave your ego in the backseat and don’t let it drive. Your process will guide you, and the process of writing generates new ideas as you go.
Write with an audience in mind. When you write to a potential reader, you automatically become more conversational, flexible and realistic in your dialogue and description. Be intimate. I visualize a friend who knows me well and who would never judge me, but will be honest and call me on my B.S. And this friend is funny; gets my sense of humor. When I do this, it’s easy to get into the flow. Personally, I write to an audience of one at a time. I never envision a collective audience of readers or I tend to be stilted or phony.
Make use of tools that improve quality and work with an editor. Spelling, grammar, correct punctuation and illustrious vocabulary are all available through a variety of channels. The internet has brought all the manuals of style and reference books to within a click’s distance. Word processing programs have spell check and every other possible device to ensure excellence. Keep a thesaurus and dictionary on hand. Beyond that stage, work with an editor. Every writer needs a second set of eyes, or as many sets of eyes as possible to read, proofread and then do it all again.
Write about what you know, and what you love. When you’re writing, you’re communicating your innermost feelings and ideas on the page. You want it to sizzle and reverberate with passion and authenticity. A writing project is intimate, it’s your partner. Choose to write about something you can live with. When I wrote Never Give in to Fear, I had to wake up with it in the morning and go to sleep with it at night. Some of the things I described in my memoir were painful to recount. But I knew my story, and I love the fact that I’ve come back. The telling required me reliving some very traumatic experiences from long ago, but I knew it was necessary to relive those things in order for the description to hit the page and raw. But I lived in peace with the book, because I’d already gone through a process of forgiving, making amends and creating a new lifestyle, so I felt safe through it all, in that present moment.
Associate with positive people, and get rid of any negative influences. Writing is a work of the soul. You want to take very good care of yourself and be sure that your environment is supportive. Don’t listen to naysayers who speak from their own fear. Instead, stick with the winners: positive thinkers, preferably writers who share the experience and will offer honest feedback and share pointers and lead by example.
Description and detail, action and excitement are essential. Paint the scene with your words. Let the reader experience the entire moment, hour, day, or year through all five senses. Bring it all to life. The more detailed the description, the better. The character jumped in the car? What kind of car? What was the make, the year, the condition of the chassis, how did the engine sound? Did it sputter, or purr? Action verbs create action in your story. Avoid passive voice at all costs. Keep your description fit and muscular, if it gets soft and flabby it won’t carry your story.
Never give in to fear. Banish fear from your writing environment. Fear, more than any other obstacle, can hold you back from the fun, the satisfaction and the glorious discovery that writing brings. Whenever the scaredy-cat, monster-under-the-bed doubts and negative statements rise up in your consciousness, recognize them for the irrational, creativity-crushing lies that they are and push them aside. Don’t be afraid to write badly, you can always go back later and edit out any parts you don’t like. The main thing is to write, write, write until you find your rhythm, attitude and voice. Just get that first outline down, and paddle it out into the waves of creation, and keep riding those waves till you get your first draft done. After that, you hone and refine and polish and destroy and create some more until you have what you recognize as your work.
Here’s a quote from acclaimed author Frank Herbert’s Duneseries: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” I love that quote. I hope you do, too. And I hope your writing will grow, multiply, amaze, and thrill your readers. Enjoy the process.
Guest post by Marti MacGibbon
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – Biographies & Memoirs 
Rating – R
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Making Characters Believable

Making characters believable and finding your voice as a writer can be hard to do. It’s what I like most about movies and books and my own writing—carefully crafted characters and strong, unique, voices. To help me create characters that are layered and rich I study the world around me—the people I encounter every day. I love when characters do unexpected things.
I guess I’m sometimes bothered when someone says, “that character wouldn’t do that…” part of me thinks, “well she just did, that’s what makes her interesting!” I also adore unlikable characters. Not cartoon characters, but characters who are abrasive, selfish, insecure, worried, but with good intentions…damaged, well-intentioned people are so interesting to me. I do understand that many readers don’t appreciate those characters and I know that when/if I create characters like that, there will be readers who dislike them and tell everyone just that in their reviews!
I was actually interviewed this year for the Writer’s Guide to 2013in the article, ” Not All Grandmothers Have White Hair: Making Minor Characters Fresh,” by Chris Eboch. I think the most important part of crafting memorable characters is to be purposeful with their creation and know that not everyone will see the person you’ve crafted. They might be called flat, awful, boring, or what have you so it’s important to be able to look back on the work you did, to comfort yourself with the knowledge you layered the characters in the way you wanted them to be. You can’t please everyone!
I think finding your writing voice is different for all writers. The decision to write in first or third person can really alter the feel and tone of your book. I wrote Love and Other Subjects in first person—it’s women’s fiction. It has a chick lit tone with some more literary explorations of education and love. It screamed for first person. With The Last Letter and After the Fog I felt more comfortable with third because I could show the reader more than just what the protagonist sees and feels, etc. I think I prefer and feel more freedom with third person, but I love Carolyn’s voice in Love and Other Subjects.
Guest post by Kathleen Shoop
Buy Now @ Amazon & Smashwords
Genre – Women’s Fiction
Rating – PG15 
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Why Book Covers Are So Important

Why are book covers so important? Well, the pat answer to that question is because it is the first thing a potential reader of your book sees. And we must not underestimate that answer.
As humans, we are prone to weighing and judging initially by our vision. Unless a person is visually impaired or in tune with what I call the ether levels of life, like aura, vibes or the cloud of intelligent non-matter that I find precedes most people when they enter your awareness, most people analyze and compute visual data first. In the case of things or a book, well, the initial judgment of your writing will be attained by what is on the cover of your book.
A reader will either get a positive or negative response, both have there merits being that the book has caught the readers attention. The last thing you want is a bland, indifferent cover that does not stimulate interest. Anything you can place on your cover to capture a reader’s eye  and hold them, gives your book the opportunity to create curiosity about what is beneath your provocative cover. You may have written the best novel ever, but if the cover does not grab  the viewer, you have lost a potential reader.
The reader will immediately compare the visual data from your cover with like data that is already in their intelligence system. Their analysis will generally be computed in statement or question form… This looks like that television show I saw. Is this book about Rome? Why is that guy bleeding? Is this book about a doctor? Or the simple… Wow, that guy/girl is hot… what’s their story? So, while the first job of your cover is to provoke interest in the book, to stop the viewer and make them question what is inside its pages…the second is to provide major clues as to what the book is about. 
I’m going to go a bit further and talk about something else that is related to the cover issue and just as important, especially to those who publish their book in e-book form. You should place a blurb about your book within its initial five or six pages.
In this age of new authors and e-reading this is extremely important. E-readers and self-publishing have created a Renaissance in the writing, reading and publishing industries.  Readers with a Kindle, iPad, Nook or other e-reader devices have access to thousands of e-books and many opportunities to get free reads. Once a reader starts collecting e-books, their e-shelves can hold tons of titles. These titles are seen as covers, so, we again see the important of  a stimulating cover; it has to stand out among the many on the e-reader device.
If by chance the reader selects your book to read next, the first thing they are going to do is try to remember what the book is about. They may have attained your book three weeks ago and have added twenty-five more books to their device since then. By placing a blurb in the initial pages of your book, you make it easier for the reader to refresh their memory of the book’s contents and increase the chance that they will read your book.
I myself have well over four hundred books on my Kindle and I don’t remember what each book is about. I organize my books by topic, I may have fifty under paranormal, one hundred under romance, etc. but if there is no blurb I have no sense of anticipation. I may read the first few lines of the story, but if the initial passage doesn’t grab me, I generally move on to another title.
The typical owner of an e-reader device has hundreds of books and not a lot of time; also people tend to select what they will read next by their mood. Upon finding no blurb within the books pages, they may again search the cover image looking for a clue, something that will spark their memory about why they originally picked up the book, but if that doesn’t work, they will choose another title.
So in this way, not only is the cover of your book important, but an inside blurb is imperative. Readers have so many choices, it is up to you, the writer or publisher to grab and keep their attention or you shall lose them to someone who has taken the time to make the reader’s choice a joy and not a job.
Guest post by Alex Akira
Buy Now @ Amazon
Genre – M/M Romance
Rating – R
More details about the author & the book
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Interview with Blaize Nolynne

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I loved creating stories at a young age. It never occurred I actually wanted to do this as something professional until Senior year in High School.

What genre do you write and why?
I love to write fiction, mostly mysteries, but anything fiction!

Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book would be ‘District One Stand By: On the Bleeding Edge of Change’ which is the sequel to ‘Firefighter Down, District One’.

It begins two years after ‘Firefighter Down, District One’ ended in the story sense.

It begins with Catisha Spadoni two years after she solves her father’s case. She gets a phone call about her old fire station in New York City, being blown up. At the same time she is trying to solve the case, she isn’t only trying to save her relationship, but beginning to try to fight domestic abuse that is happening.

What marketing methods are you using to promote your book? 
I am promoting with Social media, blogs, radio, news, television shows, newspapers and magazines.

What formats is the book available in?
Hard Copy, however my publisher and I are discussing e-book form.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love being outdoors, cook and paint. I also like to search for gems. I love to look for Maine amethyst and tourmaline during the summer months after a good rain.

Who are your favourite authors?
My favorite author would be Ray Bradbury

What advice do you have for other writers?
Never to give up no matter how many rejections you get!! If you believe in yourself and know you can tell an awesome story then do it! Get out there and don’t be afraid!

Blaize Nolynne
What's your favourite quote about writing/for writers?
“When you pick up a book, you enter into a completely different world… It is something you cannot replicate with anything else” - Greta Guest and Zlati Meyer

“Good books don’t give up all their secrets at once.” Stephan King

What's the best thing about being a writer?
Being able to express myself and live out many different lives through my characters. It is wonderful being able to research the things I write about to make it realistic feeling.

Where can people find out more about you and your writing?

Twitter and Google Plus under Blaize Nolynne

My books are available everywhere,, books and if your bookstore doesn’t have it, they have access to it.

Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you so much for having me! I appreciate you taking the time to interview me!

I would like to add one thing and that is that part of my own royalty goes to the 9-11 Foundation and the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.

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What Makes a Good Author Photo?

When building your author brand it's important to have a good author photo. People want to see the face behind the book. They want to feel like they know you. Having a good author photo is a good starting point. But what makes a good author photo?

I came across this guide on how to take a great author photo and, once I'd stopped laughing, it made me think about what works and what doesn't.

Image source:

Whilst I appreciate that some people prefer not to put their own face everywhere (there are numerous reasons why people decide to stay in the shade) I always feel a bit disappointed though when all I get is an avatar or caricature instead of a real person.

Another clear lesson here is that if you decide to use accessories in your photo you need to choose wisely. The "writer at work" pose isn't bad in itself but it needs to look natural.

Although animals are very cute the main subject of the photo should be you. Is a character in your book based on your cat? If not should he really be in your author photo? 

How old is your photo? Although you may have been more of a looker in your younger years can you still honestly say that your photo is current? Author photo's should be updated at least on a yearly basis. If your bio reads that you started writing full time when you retired having an author photo of you as a twenty-something might seem a bit odd.

I decided to do what most of us do when we want the answer to a question, I asked Google. Doing a search for images of "author photos" gave a huge number of results. This is a screen shot of the first page:

screen shot of Google results for "author photos"

One of the first things I noticed was that most of the photo's were in black and white. Does this mean it's the "norm"? If the answer is yes, maybe it's not a bad thing to go against the trend as the colour photo's stand out a lot more in the mass.

Other things I noticed were that the majority make eye contact and that most of them feature just a close up head shot.

This is a photo I took of myself this morning (I used the timer setting on my camera to delay the snapshot by 10 seconds to give me time to get in front for the picture). 

Jo Linsdell
As you can see I then edited the photo to make it black and white. Which photo would work best as an author photo? Does it make a difference if the photo is for use online or for print?

I've still got to find the answers to a lot of questions on this topic but my research has definitely given me food for thought.

What are your thoughts about author photo's? Is yours black and white or in colour? Did you get it professionally taken or D.I.Y.? What, for you, makes a good author photo?

Have your say in the comments section and feel free to post the link to your own author photo.


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