Platform Pick-Up: Head Shot

Welcome to the Platform Pick-Up!

So, before we jump right into it, let's take a minute to talk about platform. It's a bit of a dirty word among authors. Too many authors get hung up on what platform is. Don't worry about it.There's not a quiz.

Your platform is the sum total of how you present yourself to the public and your readers. Basically, it's everything you do in the public eye. Your website, social media presence, press releases, conference speeches, all of it. Your platform is how you present your brand as an author. For this project, we're going to focus on your social media and website to make sure you have those areas in tip top shape.

Today, we're going to talk about your head shot  You are using a head shot, right?

First things first, you need a head shot. Not an icon or a cover picture or anything else. You could argue if you write comic books or picture books that you could use a cartoon drawing of yourself in the same style as your books, but that is a rare exception. Readers like to know who the author is. It's why there's usually a photo on the back cover or at the end of the book.

Now, I can already hear some of you with personal exceptions. Obviously, I can't tell you what to do for your own situation. I will tell you this. I know an erotica author who has to hide her identity because she is a teacher. She still uses her picture. It's done with a dramatic side shot, a hairstyle she doesn't normally wear, and a hat so her picture doesn't look anything like her during her real life. It can be done.

If you need tips here's some great advice from Joanna Pen on prepping for your head shot. I realize that not everyone can afford to get a professional photo taken. My husband took mine out in our backyard. So if you can't pay for one now, get a family member or friend to take a nice picture and use it. You should keep it framed in on your face and avoid adding props or other people. Your kids might be cute, but they don't belong in your head shot.

Once you have a head shot, you need to be consistent with it. That means using the same picture on all your social media accounts. Today's task is to go check out everywhere you hang out online and make sure you are using the same head shot. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Instagram. Don't forget any social boards, blog comments or chat rooms you visit frequently. If you go online and have a picture associated with your words, it should be using the same picture.