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Pay attention to your author’s bio pic

One of 20ethe elements of a self-published book that shouldn’t be overlooked is the author’s photograph. While the photo often is a thumbnail or even smaller, it can subtly affect a reader’s decision to purchase your book. A blurry or a pixelated photo suggests (rightly or wrongly) that the rest of the book is unprofessional; a photo that makes you look mean or physically unappealing tells the reader that you’re creepy and so probably is your book. Further, the author’s bio pic can appear in a number of spots – the back cover, next to the author’s bio at the book’s end, on your website, on web pages selling or promoting your book (such as Amazon.com and Goodreads) and probably elsewhere.

Given this, you want to treat your author’s bio picture with some forethought and care. After all, this is a photo of yourself – if you’re unconcerned with what it looks like, then readers might wonder just how concerned you are with the book’s content.

Some general guidelines for the author’s bio picture include:
g Ensure it is technically of high quality – As with your book cover, make sure the picture is not pixelated or blurry. Ensure its size is large enough to be used for more than just a thumbnail (which includes making it 300 dpi). In short follow all of the rules of good photography.
g Crop appropriately – Usually a head and shoulders shot is enough. The head should fill most of the photo. You can cut a little off the crown of the head if you need to crop it to fit a photo box.
g Focus on personality – Always ask what type of readers will purchase your book and try to be like them. If you’ve written a book about horses, wear a Western shirt rather than a suit and tie; if you’ve written a novel about hikers surviving a surprise mountain blizzard, wear a sunhat like hikers would don.
g Think eyes – They truly are the proverbial “window to the soul.” They should be focused on the camera and full of energy, not appearing dead, glazed over, or bloodshot.
g Smile – You want to appear friendly and inviting. Of course, there are a wide range of smiles, from the subtle Mono Lisa to the toothpaste-selling wide, white teethy smile. Select one that’s appropriate for your book’s topic.
g Pose “naturally” – Look over other author’s pics and see how they stand. Usually the photo is not a straight-on shot, like what police would take at a line-up. The head might be canted slightly to the side, a shoulder turned toward the camera, the chin resting on a hand and so on. Appear as if the camera caught you in your natural state.
g Look clean – Your hair should be combed (Of course, hair can be styled to be mussed up.), your face washed and with the appropriate amount of makeup, and your clothes clean (even if you wrote a book about being a garbage man).

Need an editor? Having your book, business document or academic paper proofread or edited before submitting it can prove invaluable. In an economic climate where you face heavy competition, your writing needs a second eye to give you the edge. Whether you come from a big city like Rochester, New York, or a small town like Beech Bottom, West Virginia, I can provide that second eye.


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