As a writer it’s important to realize that your headshot tells a story just as much as your writing does. Hard to believe, right? But it’s true. Below I’ve outlined five reasons why I personally think having a fantastic, professional headshot is important for any writer no matter their stage (pre-published or published). I may rant a little here and there, but I promise to make some valid points.
5 Reasons Why You Need a Fantastic Headshot
1. You are You
That is, unless you aren’t you then you need to re-think you … But I digress. It may seem silly to state this as a fact, but it is one. Your readers are dying to know more about you. I believe this craving for inside knowledge comes from the fact that readers want a personal connection with the author. They’ve just traveled through a (hopefully) thrilling, exciting, emotional, [fill in the blank] ride with you at the helm, and they just have to know the brilliant mind behind that adventure. And, let’s be honest, humans are curious!
2. You are your book
Like I said above, readers want a personal connection. No, your readers are likely not going to the back cover to pick a book because you had that perfect, gleaming smile, BUT they are going to look eventually and what they see will say a lot about you. Having a great headshot that captures your personality, style, and your genuine smile will show them you care about professionalism.
3. A picture is worth a 1000 words … or a 1000 followers?
I personally believe that having a great quality author headshot is the beginning to success for platform building. Okay, I’m cringing because I’m afraid the marketing gods may strike me with lightening. I won’t claim that you’ll get 1k followers by updating your headshots, but I will say that a great quality photo makes a world of difference. People tend to trust those who have completed profiles on social media. They tend to gravitate toward a personalized Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter feed. They also tend to appreciate well-done images, seeing that the writer has taken their craft seriously—from their books to their marketing materials.
4. Picture Perfect Professional
In line with #3 above, I would say that having a great headshot helps to establish your professionalism and credibility. Readers can come to your site or social media outlet and see that you’ve taken the time to pay for professional photos. Whoa, they’ll think, this author must be legit. And they would be right.
5. It’s going to be everywhere!
Let’s be honest, your picture is going to be plastered all over the place. The back of your book, your website, your blog, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest…the Internet. You wouldn’t want that image to be anything less than professional. I’m sorry, but if you’re making an argument for that really great >insert sarcasm here< selfie you took while doing the pouty face with your cute puppy and a copy of your novel, I just won’t hear it. Take it from me–those are great images to spread around Facebook and Instagram, but please don’t be putting that up on your website, trying to convince yourself that it’s “personable.” No, it’s unprofessional [end rant]. If you don’t believe me, go to almost any well-known, best-selling author’s site and take a gander at their beautiful, professional images. (Confession: I have done this.) 😉
As you can tell, I am passionate about writers having great headshots! I’ve outlined my thoughts a little bit more on my personal blog in a three part series I titled, “What are you saying with your headshot?” (You can find these posts here, here, and here.)
Above all else, hear me say: get a great headshot!
If you’re attending the Realm Makers Conference you can take advantage of my headshot session special as well. I only charge $40 for a 15 min. session. You get 5 high and low resolution images released for commercial use. It’s the perfect session for writers to update their images and I promise not to rant about headshots during our time together. Plus, I tell stupid jokes and have been known to stand on things from time to time just to make things interesting.
Check out my online spreadsheet to find a slot: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17NUV4sjQyrvD8O6RH_s0lE8lbkGmZQLCQHKz1Yemj6Y/edit?usp=sharing
Have you had professional photos done before? What did you think?
Emilie is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She’s a member of ACFW and currently working on a romantic suspense series while dreaming up YA dystopian worlds on the side. She’s got a soft spot in her heart for animals and a love for the mountains of the Pacific Northwest. In her spare time you can find her playing guitar or reading a book all while drinking too much coffee.