Years ago, authors were mysterious creatures who were locked away in their offices, writing feverishly all day and night, while their agent and publishers did all the selling and marketing. In those days, unless there was a photo of them on the back jacket of their book, it was common to not know what an author looked like. You could easily pass them on the street and have no idea who they were.
In the age of social media, we have become much more visual, and as authors now have to do much of their own promotion and marketing (that includes traditionally published authors) being visible and recognisable is quite important. Readers no longer want just a good book, they want to connect with the author behind it too.
So having a decent author photograph is actually quite important. I haven’t researched into what makes a good author photo, but I have made a list of what I think makes an author photo a great one. If you have any more tips to add, please do comment below!
Author Photo Tip #1: Look Happy!
I don’t think miserable or serious author photos really sell books, unless of course they are on very serious subjects, in which case I may be wrong.
Author Photo Tip #2: Nice and Bright
Try to have a bright image, if the image is too dark or fuzzy, then it won’t appeal to people as much. Try to wear clothing that contrasts with the background, so that you don’t blend in.
Author Photo Tip #3: Be Relaxed
Just because it’s going in the back of your book, doesn’t mean it has to be overly posed. Try to get your photographer to capture you in a relaxed pose, so that it shows more of who you really are, not the mask you put on when a camera appears. I know that many writers are introverts and don’t like to be in the limelight, but try to have fun with it if you can.
Author Photo Tip #4: Location, location, location
Have photos taken in natural settings if you can, or in a location that you feel shows off who you really are. You could have them taken in a studio, but then that doesn’t tell your reader anything about you.
Author Photo Tip #5: Have a selection
It’s tempting to have just one photo (especially if you’re paying to have them taken) but if you only have one photo for all your social media outlets and for the back matter of your books, after a while, you’re going to get bored with it, and so might your readers.
Author Photo Tip #6: Refresh Often
Try to renew your photos whenever you feel you need an update, or if you get an interesting new haircut or look different. I have made major changes to my author photos four time in the last four years, as I have changed and felt I needed an update. Here is the progression of my photos:
As you can see, I’ve progressed from my initial author photo selfie, to having professional photos taken, and I think it does really make a difference.
As a fun little exercise, I’ve been googling some of my favourite authors from my childhood and teen years, just to see what they look like, it’s been quite interesting! If you have anything to add, please comment below.
Michelle is the author and publisher of 8 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs and making gluten-free cakes.
If you need any help with your publishing journey, please do get in touch with her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. You can book a Skype session or a phone call with her, or ask questions via email. Please do follow this blog to receive more posts on Indie Publishing.
Disclaimer: All views, ideas and tips presented on this website are my own, based on my own experience and the experience of my clients. It is by no means the only way to do it, or the right way to do it, but it is the way that works for me. Please take what helps you and makes sense to you, and don’t worry about the rest for now. Please know that I take no responsibility for anything that happens as a result of you following my advice. I have created this blog as a resource for Indie Authors to help them make the publishing journey a little easier.