Today, I’m posting over on AuthorCulture, with the post “Is Your Author Photo Sending the Right Message?” Here’s an excerpt:
Last night, I finished reading Kameron Hurley’s “bugpunk” novel God’s War, and between the book itself and the compelling author’s bio (referring to her attempts to not die “spectacularly”), I was curious about the author. So I googled for images under her name and found several pix of her. In the old days, this would be unthinkable. How many of Charles Dickens’s or Jane Austen’s readers knew what they looked like? Nowadays, an author photo is a vital part of the promotional package. And, like it or not, your author’s photo is going to influence your reader’s opinions of both you as a person and you as an author.
In perusing a magazine a few weeks ago, I glanced through the front matter, which contained headshots and bios of some of the contributors. Two photos, side by side, offered a stark contrast of how and how not to have your author photo taken.
One the one hand, we had an obviously professional headshot of a smiling woman standing against a picturesque red barn. She was dressed casually but professionally, her neat hair and makeup highlighted beneath appropriate lighting.
One the other hand, we had what looked like a picture taken on the author’s web cam. This author looked like he had just gotten out of bed and had yet to find his way to the nearest Starbucks. He didn’t make eye contact with the camera, which resulted in a glazed, disoriented look. He was wearing a T-shirt. The setting behind him was a messy desk. And the faint lighting cast a shadowy and gloomy pall over the picture.
Two author headshots. Two totally different presentations.
So how can you ensure your author photo is sending the right message to your readers (and employers)? Here are four ways!