We don’t want to discount the thousands and maybe even tens of thousands of words that you have written, but as cliché as it sounds a picture, specifically a picture of you, does say a thousand words. In this world of social media, it is even more important to have your own author photo, not to tell the world, “Hey, this is what I look like,” but to establish the fact that you are an author. Unfortunately, not a lot of authors pay attention to this. We’ve seen one too many photos taken at a friend’s wedding and cropped to cut away the background, or unprofessional photos taken inside their own homes and with their own low-end digital camera. The level of professionalism you show in your photos reflects upon how serious you consider your writing career to be. Readers aren’t just looking for someone who writes good books. They want the whole package, photos and all.
So do your best to find a professional photographer, preferably one who specializes in taking author pictures. You want a photographer who can capture the message of your brand and the image you want to portray without being too dramatic.
So what can having an author photo do for you?
1. It tells the readers the type of book you write. A good author photo matches the tone, style and genre of your writing. Readers should be able to look at your photo and immediately tell the kinds of books you write.
2. It establishes you as an authority. Why don’t you want to include your picture? In this day and age of social media, anybody who refuses to show his face has higher chances of being considered a fraud. Are you really an author or just pretending?
3. It’s a powerful selling tool. For a lot of authors, they’re picture is their logo. When their readers see their photo, they can instantly tell what the author is all about. They immediately feel the emotions that the author wants them to feel when they see his picture.
The following are your considerations for taking an author photo:
1. Have a professional photographer take your photo. A professional author must have professionally taken photos. Period. There is just no way around it. You can’t use a selfie, a snapshot taken by your friend or a high-quality photo taken at a wedding. It’s not just about having a good-looking high-resolution. It’s about capturing the essence of who you are, that part of you that you want to bring out and reach out to your readers. Not even a professional wedding photographer can do that for you.
2. Represent your public persona. Make sure the setting, colors and mood of your photo match your niche. Wearing Bermuda shorts and a baseball cap might not be the best option if you’re writing a branding book for businessmen who want to become authors. At the same time, it doesn’t help to have an author photo shot with a stark white background if you’re writing an arts and crafts book. You want everything in the picture to drive home the message that you want to deliver.
3. Depict an inviting image. Your posture says a lot of things about you. Crossing your arms over your chest signifies that you are closed off and unapproachable. Put down your arms and let them hang loosely, or place them on your lap if you’re sitting. If you’re standing up, this could imply a more formal, businesslike approach, but sitting down shows you’re letting your hair down and being unguarded. However, do not force yourself into positions you aren’t comfortable with. One important thing photographers tell their models before a shoot is just to relax and have fun. That’s not inapplicable for you when you’re having your author photo taken.
4. Size matters. Our eyes are naturally drawn to images so you don’t have to enlarge your photo to get it noticed. For budding authors, smaller sized photos tells the reader that they don’t take themselves that seriously. More established writers can get away with putting their entire picture on the back cover of their books because their goal is different from the first-time author. Their goal is to catch attention in a crowded bookstore, while yours is simply to establish yourself as the author and expert who wrote your book.
5. Be consistent. As with all the elements of a good brand, your author photo must be consistent. Use it in your social media profiles, your business card, your book, your website, etc. In general, we recommend that you use the same photo across the board. However, if you want to use several different photos, be sure that all photos follow all the criteria stated above.
Image by CandyBox Images from Bigstockphoto