How About that Author Photo?

Most publishers want you to have a photo for the back or inside of your book. So what are you going to do?

A professional photograph is no doubt the best. The photograh I used for years was one of those glamor shots where my hair and make-up was done ahead of time. I brought my own what I thought looked "authorly" tops to wear. I used this photo for a long time, until someone asked me how long ago I'd had it taken.

Since that time, I've used photos that others took that I thought looked good. And that's probably what I'll keep on doing.

Since I'm old I am never going to look like a movie star, but I do want to be presentable.

Use a photograph that looks like you. You don't necessarily have to be smiling.

Make sure the photo isn't blurry.

It can be a headshot or a head-to-toe shot.

Having a pet in the photo with you is always a good touch.

Save it as a .jpg so you can easily send it to someone whether it be for a guest post on someone's blog or the photo you're going to use for a book.

Name the photo something simple that will be easily recognizable to the recipient, such as last name photo.
The same goes for when you are sending a copy of the cover of your book, Name of the book, author name, anything that will easily identify it.

 Keep photos of you at different events. When you are on a blog tour, followers of the tour get a kick out of seeing different shots of you and what you are doing.

And that's my advice, such as it is, about author photos.

 I've never used any of these.



I smile because I look better when I smile. Everyone knows I'm a great-grandma anyway, so it doesn't matter that people can see that I'm old.
Morgan Mandel said…
I pick photos that seem to fit where I want them to go. Right now, I have an informal one on Facebook.
I change my mind quite a bit, so I'm sure the photo will change as well.

Morgan Mandel
Good advice, Marilyn. I have one that I like and don't want to change that my daughter, Amy, took at an art event.
Anonymous said…
Good topic, Marilyn. In the three photos at the bottom that you never use, I love the top one. I use a current digital pic that my hubby took in our family room. I just cropped it to a head shot. I, too, am old - adult grandkids, but no greats yet because nobody is yet married, though one will be on the 22nd.
Patricia Gligor said…
Okay, ladies. You need to stop using the word "old." Marilyn, with all that you accomplish, you must have a high energy level. "Old" people don't. :)
I've used the same author photo (taken by a professional photographer) on the backs of my first two books and I'll probably use it on the third. After that, I guess it'll be time for a new one. I use other, more candid shots, for guest blogging, etc.
Fiona McGier said…
I don't like to have my picture on my books. I have one that I use for my author "business", but it's a candid one taken by one of my kids where we were camping a couple of years ago. I still pretty much look like that, so I don't see any need to change.

But I've been disillusioned to read books about, say, a thin, blonde, young woman who everyone falls in love with, then the author is revealed by her picture to look nothing like that at all. As an author, I should know better than to expect the author to resemble the hero/heroine, but at the same time, looking at that picture took me entirely out of the story. So I don't want any photo of me on my books to do that to a reader.

If they are really burning to know what I look like, go to my website. While you're there you can get some of my homemade pie recipes, which will give you part of the reason that I look the way I do! ;-D
M.M. Gornell said…
I will never change my photo-shopped photo--as time passes, looks less like me, but I'm writing fiction, so my picture fits right in.

Lorna Collins - said…
We are very fortunate that our good friend and great photographer took our last head shots in exchange for books!
marja said…
I agree completely, Marilyn. I'm very unphotogenic, so when I have a candid shot that looks okay, I want to use it. Great advice!
Marja McGraw
jrlindermuth said…
For years, I was the one taking the photos in my family--and that's my preference. If I had a choice, I'd use some actor's photo in place of mine. Who cares what the author looks like? Just read the books!

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