The photo they didn’t want you to see.

Contrary to my ubiquitous jabbering on Facebook, I’m a little uncomfortable when it comes to actually trying to get people to buy my books. A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING, the third  in my Cajun Country Mystery series, launches October 10th. I want to make my publisher happy with decent sales, which means I need to promote the hell out of the book. So I decided to be brutally honest about my goals and create what I called the Shameless Shilling Campaign. On the tenth of each month prior to the book’s release, I’ve shared a silly and hopefully amusing graphic promoting the book. (Thanks to Judy Penz Sheluk for introducing me to a wonderful and wonderfully affordable graphic artist.)

Here are the first and second photos, posted July 10th and August 10th…


When it came to the final photo, though, I wanted the image to pop in a big way. So I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. Hunter – my Graphics god – loved it and produced a great image. I proudly showed it to my husband and daughter… who were HORRIFIED. “Oh my God, Mother,” my kid said, dismayed. “You CANNOT use that photo! You look like a pedophile.” My husband stood next to her, nodding more vigorously than a bobblehead doll on a truck dashboard. Now, you need to know that given my background in comedy I have very few boundaries. I wrote off their comments as an over-reaction, and ran the photo by my publisher and agent. Turns out they heartily agreed with my family. I grumbled, but came up with a new image, which I was going to  debut yesterday, September 10th, but held off sharing out of respect for Hurricane Irma victims. (Its debut TBD.)

xmas tree2 (4)

It’s a perfectly fine picture and gets the point across. But still… I ran the verboten photo by a couple of friends who I thought might appreciate it, and they did. They encouraged me to go public with it. Keeping the opposing views in mind, I decided to split the difference. I’m only going to share it here with you, my nearest and dearest Chickadees. Brace yourselves…

santawmoustache (5)

So readers, what do you think? Are you Team Your-Family-is-Totally-Right or Team-Ellen-No-Boundaries-Byron?

38 thoughts on “The photo they didn’t want you to see.

  1. Although I don’t think you look like a pedophile at all, I have to say the photo is a little disturbing–but more because you look like some sort of creepy winter creature from Game of Thrones. (But it sure made me laugh, girl!)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think you’re adorable, Ellen! But, I have to admit, the book cover isn’t the first, second or even third thing I notice in that picture! So probably not the best from a marketing standpoint. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As much as I love this series, I have to admit, it is a bit creepy. The beard is definitely not you, the little girl is way cute but I would of added a home-style Christmas with maybe an older friend opening it as a gift and looking excited. The girl looks a bit put off. You are creative, I will give you that!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks, Meg. It’s actually a doctored picture from when my daughter sat on Santa’s lap at a function. It’s funny how kids are so much less thrilled about doing that than we think they’re going to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Haaaa!!!! I’m glad we can laugh about this. I think it’s the facial hair that’s the deal breaker. I think you should make Christmas cards with this image just for your family members — or maybe even wrapping paper!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Well…once again my old kids’ book editor’s hat rears its pointy self. Have to side with Team Tree because it’s probably not good PR for Santa to present a little girl with a murder mystery (however fabulous for adults and YAs). But love the other pic!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I like the tree picture better for your campaign but I do have to say the Santa picture made me laugh! So thanks for that!! I can’t wait for the book!

    Liked by 1 person

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