Lulu just got back from Book Expo America in New York last week. While we were there, we had the opportunity to meet thousands of people ranging from industry professionals, to up-and-coming authors, to people that were “just checking things out.” It was fascinating to see the different stages authors were at in their careers and it was great to see so many people at the convention learning how market themselves more effectively.
Many authors came with a sample of their book or had a handout with a little blurb and a photo of themselves. It was interesting to see how different each author’s photo was and how much some stood out in my mind – even after talking with so many people. I realized that many people new to the writing profession might not know how important a good photo of themselves is or how much it can help further their career.
An author should have a good photo on hand because it makes you look more professional. The people at BEA with great photos seemed better composed and more prepared. I understand that many authors have spent so much time working on their book and making it pristine, that when they’re done, the photo can be an after thought. You want to be measured by your skill of the written word and not what you look like. But think about the last time you went to the bookstore. Can you recall picking up a title with a blurry, washed-out photo of the author on the back cover or inside flap? Do you think you’d be as likely to spend your hard-earned cash on a book that had a photo like that on it? In the same way a bad cover can make you second guess the quality of a book, a bad photo can make you rethink the reliability of the author. It helps to think of your book as a business card, and a bad photo is like handing someone a card written in crayon.