Wednesday 13 August 2014

You Fancy a Tasty Author Photo But You Look Like the Back End of a Bus

Signs of a problem: camera lens cracked; small children crying.

The symptoms: frustration; despair.

If you found yourself at the back of the queue when looks were handed out, do not fear – you’re a writer not a model. All you have to do is look appropriate in one photo, preferably leaning on a fist (your own) looking pensive.

An author’s appearance can influence sales, but you don’t necessarily have to be conventionally tasty-looking to have a positive effect. In fact, there are many genres for which looking a little rugged can be helpful.

Stereotyping leads us to expect our well-written crime thrillers to be penned by middle-aged men with strong jaws and our romantic comedies to be written by visually-appealing women in their thirties. However, do not be tempted to pick a genre to suit your face. Books then looks.

Thanks to modern photography and editing software, you can make any face match any requirement. Naturally, I have never employed cunning techniques. I definitely do not overexpose my selfies to hide my wrinkles. I certainly don’t change the aspect ratio to slim my figure. I absolutely do not take one hundred photos then delete ninety-nine or them. The blueness of my eyes in pictures is entirely natural and certainly not the effect of a saturation-enhancing filter.

Photo fraud will catch up with you if you ever do a book signing or attend an indie convention, which is why you should never change any features – only subtly enhance.

If, on the other hand, you plan to promote solely through the internet, then you can change as much as you like, or, better still, ask somebody else to pose for you. Nobody ever need know about your unfortunate bus-like appearance.

Be wary of choosing your author shot from websites selling stock photos. You don’t want to select a lovely, blonde temptress only to later find that an author of donkey-on-dinner-lady erotica picked the same image.

Avoid the trap of asking a stranger to pose. If your career is to develop then you will need photos of ‘yourself’ growing older. Do you have a good-looking older sibling or former school friend? This may be a good starting point.

Always check the health of your stand-in before enlisting their help. You don’t want your model popping his clogs two days before that big interview with a Sunday supplement.

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