Thursday, May 2, 2013

Building the Buzz: Day 2 Your Headshot

Now that you're well on your way to getting your professional "look at me, I'm a real author" website off the ground, let's talk headshots. No, not the double tap take down a zombie kind of headshot. I'm talking photos. Specifically, ones of you.


A poorly designed book cover can turn off a reader, and a selfie in the bathroom mirror can do the same. You need a good photograph of yourself to show readers you're a real person.

So here's what you need. A professional, well-edited photo of the completely unique you. Now, I understand that this can be a large investment. Good photography doesn't come cheap...usually. There are ways to look for a deal. If you know other authors or folks who need a good photo see if you can get a group rate by booking a session all together. A photographer may be willing to charge you less if they can handle multiple clients all at one location. Another idea is to check with your local high school and/or college. Students are always looking to add to their portfolio and by talking to the department head you can get your pick of the best students.

Once you have a photographer, you need to put in a little prep work. For outfits, I recommend a plain or lightly patterned long sleeve shirt. Loud colors or patterns can be distracting and bare arms tend to pull focus away from your face. Whatever you pick, make sure it is easy to move around in and you feel comfortable wearing it.

Take the time to practice with hair and make-up before your photo shoot. Gentlemen, this means you, too. Make sure any beards or mustaches are groomed and you're hair is trimmed. You might also consider wearing a bit of makeup. Some light powder can help to cut down on shine. Ladies, you'll want to wear slightly more make-up than normal. I recommend this easy to follow make-up tutorial video.

Now that you have a photo, be consistent. You want to use the same photo on your website, blog, social media sites, press releases, and back of the book cover. Consistency breeds recognition and recognition is half the game when it comes to motivating readers to pick you.

For today's task, book that photographer. Get it on the calendar. If you already have a pro-photo, do a quick sweep of all your social media sites and makes sure you are consistently using the same photo on all of them.

10 comments:

  1. I recently took a marketing class and this came up, so I've made my profile picture the same everywhere--Kind of. (I put it on my blog but when I leave comments the old one still shows up and idk why). I did get my hair done, but I did not spring for professional photography. But my husband has a pro camera and used to take pics for a mag so it's good enough for me.

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    1. If it's still commenting with your old photo, check your google account. They might be linked.

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  2. I agree with you that a professional author photo is great. My fav is of C.Lee McKenzie. Her author photo is awesome!
    However, I still get an "F" on your marketing class so far. I've had short stories pubbed under two separate pseudonyms and my novels will be under different ones. There's no point in having pseudonyms if I use a real photo. So no Lexa Cain photos will be forthcoming.
    (I hope I do better during the rest of the month...)

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    1. I actually know a few authors who writer under different pen names and still use their real photo. They use different angles, facial expressions and filters to make sure each photo looks different enough so as not to be confusing.

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  3. That's an easy one - done! I have a good friend who is a professional photographer and has done a couple of shots for me (and for a few of my author friends). Now that my hair is about 10 inches shorter, though, I'll be refreshing the photo later this summer.

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  4. I've been meaning to do this for a while now! I actually just fond a LivingSocial deal for a local photographer. Another good place to look is Groupon.

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  5. Um, my daughter took my photo. ;)

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  6. OK. I had no idea I needed this, but I have "booked" a photographer. I'm lucky because my sister in law is a REALLY expensive one who charges TONS of money. But I will get her for free!! :-)

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