Friday, October 3, 2014

Putting Your Best Face Forward with Emilie Hendryx

Hey all! Casey here. Today I am so thrilled to introduce and share with you the talent that is my friend, Emilie Hendryx. Emilie and I connected at ACFW this year (she was the conference photographer) and I just have to say, God is going to do big things with this woman! He already has. I'm excited to see where her writing takes her as many good things came out of this conference for her. Emilie is also a photographer by trade and has a great post on why a professional headshot is so important. Heeeeeere's Emilie!

Photo credit

Whoosh! Bright light floods the stage. All eyes are glued to the empty spot now illuminated by several 1000-watt bulbs. Footsteps sound against the hardwood floor, slowly approaching the light. The crowd holds a collective breath. Who is it?


Yes, that’s you coming to center stage on a brightly lit platform ready for all to see. Now, I may have exaggerated a bit here, but your writing platform is important, and so is showcasing your professionalism in all areas.

I’ve broken these areas into three categories…

Professionalism in Media

Media presence is huge for the modern day writer. I’m talking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and email (there are a few others, but I think these rank the highest at this point).  

I’ve chosen some guidelines to help you when thinking about what you post to these sites:

1) What is the purpose of your post?

Posts on social media tend to fall into these categories:

·         Promotion: This is obvious, but it’s you promoting your work or someone else’s.
·         Interaction: A post geared to garner interaction with your audience. This tends to be more personal.
·         Information: Possibly a shared photo, link, or status that informs your audience about something you’re passionate about.

Pay attention to the amount and types of posts you put up. Your audience could potentially “tune you out” by skipping over or blocking your posts if you error too heavily on one of these. If your readers only see promotional posts from you, those posts become white noise. If you want to fall heavily on one of these categories, I’d recommend the interaction type. Your audience want’s to get to know the real you!

2) Is the post error-free?
For writers, this one “should” be easy…but unfortunately we fall prey to typos and mistakes just like any normal human ;) Make sure you check (and double check) your formatting, spelling, grammar, and any links or photos attached to make sure everything is in great shape to hit the world’s spotlight.

3) Is the post timely?
This one is slightly more difficult because we don’t always have time to post right when something happens, but timeliness is extremely important! In order to draw on trends and attract outside interest, make your posts relevant.

On another note about time, recognize there are good, better, and best times during which to post to social media. Check out this great infographic for more information.

Professionalism in Materials

Ooo-boy! This one is a hot-button topic for me. I think it is so important to have professional materials. For writers, these materials typically are: business cards, one-sheets, proposals, and any promotional materials for your books. This may require you putting in a little extra money, but trust me – it will be worth it. You will stand out if you have high quality materials that are clean in design and showcase the best “you” possible. Hire a great graphic designer, or use a template, but make sure you don’t skimp when it comes to the “only” piece of information a publisher or agent may have to remind them of you.

My recommendation for business cards and one-sheets is that you include a great quality headshot. You may think I’m just saying that because I’m a photographer, but I promise I’m not! Too often I’ve seen poorly done headshots that do a disservice to the writer. Make the investment, it’s worth it! If you need more convincing, check out this informational series I did about headshots; it may just change your mind.

Professionalism in Person

Last, but certainly not least, is the professional you! When you step from the darkness into the light on the stage, what will you look like? I know a lot of us writers tend to be introverted and…dare I say, like to hide in the background? But you must know that, if you have a platform, your readers will want to see you. They want to know the person behind the pages they are reading.

I have two points of advice on this:

1) Be you.
Being professional doesn’t mean you lose who you are. It just means you take care in your appearance and bearing. Professionalism is an attitude as much as it is about what you’re wearing. Be confident! If God has given you a passion for writing, don’t second-guess Him or His calling for you.

2) Be professional.
Don’t know how to do that? Look for a friend who’s clothing style you find attractive, then ask her for help! Also, check out Pinterest. Some of my favorite outfit searches are “business casual” and “professional attire.” Do your research and find out what clothing styles work best for your shape. Dressing professionally doesn’t have to cost and arm and a leg either; take time to shop the clearance racks and get a few staple items you can mix and match. And don’t forget the shoes!

So, there you are, stepping onto center stage. Take a deep breath. Hold your head up high. And boldly step into the light knowing you've put your best on display.


Emilie Hendryx is a writer, photographer, and musician living in Washington, D.C. who's and her photography at
shamelessly addicted to coffee and reading. Find out more about her writing at

Photo Credit: “Starving Artist” from Flickr


kaybee said...

Emilie and Casey, this is so true, and it's something I've learned the hard way (as I've learned most things, ha ha). May I add a couple of things? Don't overshare and don't get in fights.
I wasn't "professional" for a number of years and it cost me a lot. I'm catching up now. We have to earn the right to be seen and heard.
Kathy Bailey
Working on it in NH

Casey said...

Kathy, you are so very correct in saying it is something that is earned and not something you crowd in on. Thank you for stopping by and commenting today!

kaybee said...

I enjoy the Alley.

Casey said...

We're so glad!

Emilie Hendryx said...

Kathy - thanks for sharing your thoughts! I completely agree - it's easy to jump into something, but better to "not" most of the time! Love how you say we need to earn the right to be heard!

Angie Dicken said...

Thanks for stopping by the alley today, Emilie! This is a fabulous post!! I think professionalism is so important, and sometimes these kind of tips help steer us all in the right direction!

Anonymous said...

My first post disappeared...great ideas Emilie....what's also a good idea is to run your writing by someone else to check for typos or to see if they get the point of the article. I love checking other's writing!

Emilie Hendryx said...

Thanks Angie - so happy to be here :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Excellent! Thanks for being our guest!

Casey said...

Constance, I have starting doing the same thing--having a friend read my post for me so she catches any typos. Does great things for the accuracy of my posts. :)