- Author with two head shots which barely seem to be of the same person (in one, he has long hair, in the other a bean shave) and no way to tell which is more current
- Author of children's books who sent me a lovely snap of herself surrounded by books--only problem is the book right in front of her has the word "sex" in big letters on the cover (not so hot for the children's library crowd)
- Author has obviously cropped a photo of herself with another person whose disembodied hand sits clearly on her shoulder
- No author photo can be found anywhere and author is reluctant to provide one (!)
Here's my personal photo tale (it really wouldn't be fair to tell you about those others if I didn't have an embarassing story of my own): When my agent recently asked me to send my author photo along, the best I could do was to have my thirteen-year-old snap a picture of my in front of a bookshelf. In her inimitable, polite way, she said "it's a nice picture but the light is a little strong." (Okay, I'm at an age where pretty much all light is a little strong!) But, her comment immediately made me think back to the stories above and I realized this amazing truth:
It's GREAT to have a decent author photo.
The fact is, when I schedule an appearance for an author, the first thing I want to do is help the host publicize this event in the best possible way. I send along links to the author's page at the publisher website, the author's own website/blog/etc., high-resolution images of their book jackets and, if possible, an author photo. In sum, when you promote your work, despite our great literary aspirations, there are times when a picture can be worth a thousand words.
So, I set forth to learn more about getting a good author photo and I HAD ONE TAKEN. In my next few Book Biz posts, I'll share some tips from folks I consulted, tell you about my photo shoot, and then... The BIG REVEAL (aka a picture of me not taken by one of my kids).