Deanne Ouest, Author

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2014-08-14

Created by Deanne Ouest

Photographs – A self-portrait.


I love taking photos. When I travel, I always take too many photographs. It is one of the reasons I love digital. I no longer have to ration my photos to the 24 on the roll of film. I can take as many as I want and decide later.

Conversely, I hate having my picture taken. I am okay with random, I do not know they are happening shots, but I despise posing for photos. Selfies are not in my future. I have tried much to my amusement to take a selfie but I always look like I ate something nasty – you know that look. My kids always bemoaned the fact that I do not like getting my photo taken when they were younger and had to bring in family photos because 99% of the time I was on the other side of the camera so the pickings were slim.

So this weekend took a bit of a hilarious turn when a writing friend and I made a concentrated effort to get some professional photos taken. As an author, you need a public presence, which translates into having to have your photos taken so there are pictures to put on the webpage, FB, Twitter etc. For self-publishing, it is necessary. There is no publicity team taking care of such things. Personally, I thought it would be neat to pick a photo at random of someone you wanted to look like. Alas, that just is not the way to go. No Milli Vanilli’s allowed. Sigh…

After dozens of poses and background changes and quite a few laughs, we ended up with a total seven pictures that were acceptable and amongst those were fun shots. I think the total count we started with was around 48 pictures. The term to remember is acceptable. We don’t love them but at the same time, we don’t hate them. Thankfully, the photographer was a good sport. We were probably one of the stranger appointments she had.

They are not the worst I have taken but not the best either. That’s my opinion. I guess it comes down to what my friend said to paraphrase her, “It never looks like the real you.” I guess that is why I like random shots. Even if they are not perfect, I always feel like the facial expression is real – not forced. My smile always feels frozen when posing for a photograph.

It is similar to the reaction that occurs when you record your voice. You have in your mind what you think you sound like until you hear your recorded voice played out load. I use to dictate on a Dictaphone back in the early nineties and it took a while to get comfortable hearing my voice played back as I checked what I had recorded. I suppose getting you photos taken is the same. If you do it often, enough you get accustomed to it. I get my photos taken so rarely that it is uncomfortable whenever I have it done. Now I’m in no hurry to get to the comfortable stage.

I do have to say that going with a friend was a lot less painful than going alone. A friend will laugh with you during the process and not at you. In addition, there is the added support of knowing they are feeling the same way.

For chuckles – mostly my own – I have included some of the finalists below. The final cut was three for me and eventually one will become my ‘new’ photo presence.


 

 

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Foray into Self-publishing


I have dipped my toes into the water and I like it.

At heart, I am doer who likes to learn things hands-on. So I decided to start small with a collection of poetry I had composed thirty years ago in my teens that I stumbled across during a fall cleaning. It was a pleasant surprise to find my compositions were well done – remember I was teen when I wrote them. After pondering for a bit, I figured why not. Nothing ventured nothing gained.

It gave me the opportunity to learn the basics of Scrivener. From setting up my template to formatting and then exporting to epub format. The next step was registering for the dreaded ISBN. It wasn’t as difficult as I had thought and the staff at Library and Archives Canada were very helpful. Then I had to compose a unique but relevant title and finally, design a book cover (see below) to compliment the collection.

After a few missteps, I had created an epub file that worked. In the end, this was the easy part. The hard part was actually publishing what I had created – putting it out in the public domain.

The next step was where to publish it. There are many options depending on what you want. For the newbies, me being one of them it can be a bit overwhelming. As well, you receive a lot of advice and feedback from others that can compound the conundrum. A good friend and fellow writer mentioned Draft2Digital, which I had not heard of. I checked out D2D’s website and was intrigued. Creating an account gave me an opportunity to look around some more.

Wow, what a great experience it was. The site is fresh, clean looking and has user-friendly instructions. The whole process was quite easy. I owe my friend a bottle of wine for that genius. D2D even gave me the option of downloading a mobi file. This worked out great, as I was able to upload it to Amazon.

My first experience in self-publishing went well. It makes me much more confident that when I go to publish my first novella I will have worked out most the kinks.

To close, a great big thanks to all the wonderful ladies in my local association who constantly share their expertise and experience with the group at large. Those tidbits and tips helped a lot.

 


Introspections-2sig

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