All right…we should all know that it’s important to have a great headshot by now. Oh wait, you didn’t know that? Well, it definitely is. Check out this post, this one, possibly this one, or even this one for reasons why.
But what about us “spekkies”? We’re a different breed. We see the world through slightly different eyes. We like to say things like “Allons-y”, “Beam me up, Scottie”, “Mischief managed”, “Shiny”, “I volunteer as tribute”, or many other such phrases. We march to the beat of a different—albeit creative—drum. We…well, I think you’re getting the idea.
Are headshots still important for us? Haven’t we moved into the realm of photographs that move yet? Oh wait, there are muggles about…
I’m here to say that yes—infinitely yes—a great headshot as well as a stellar, visual online presence is still important for us. That is, unless you have Doctor Who’s screwdriver OR are a Time Lord.
What does this mean then? Well, I think it looks like a few things. I’ll list my top three thoughts with regards to an author’s online presence with a slightly western twang (for you, my Firefly friends):
Show ‘em who you are
If you’re wondering if you really have to show your face to your fans the simple answer is yes. The complicated answer is also yes but it’s spelled out in Klingon and that takes too much work. Why have a great headshot? Because your fans want to know who you are. They want to put a face behind the author that they rave about! Yes, your work will speak for itself, but people connect with people as much as people connect with books (or writing) and when you combine the two you get an even stronger bond.
Hint: You don’t have to don your Chewbacca outfit or craft your own wand – though these things are also acceptable—just post a really great, professional headshot. Some will choose to represent their genre, which is fine, but know your audience and what they will connect with.
Show ‘em what you got
This goes for all forms of social media: your fans and followers want to know about YOU. They want to make a connection with you, whether that’s through a fandom you share a love for, your delightful humor or witty sarcasm, or the fact that you write books they love to read. It may go without saying, but that means they have to hear from you in order to connect.
Next, do a little “market research”. Does the term “market research” sound intimidating? (“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”) Don’t let it be. Search out the answers to these questions:
- Where do your fans hang out?
- What social media do they use? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Pinterest, Periscope, Snapchat?
- How are other authors in your genre connecting with their fans?
- What is working with your current marketing/connecting right now?
- What isn’t?
Got your answers? Hey look, you did it! The next thing to do is to make a plan! I’ve personally found my spec YA audience exists almost exclusively on Instagram so my plan revolves around posting great images, connecting them to my shops as well as tying in the fact that I’m a writer. When the time comes (fingers crossed) for my book to be published, I’ve already got a strong following of YA readers who will hopefully take the plunge to buy a book.
Give ‘em shiny stuff
This last one is a little more challenging but lets be honest: everyone likes free stuff! Create fun and fandom inspired giveaways that will draw in your audience. If you are an author, include your book (of course) but if you aren’t, that’s okay! Use gift cards, fan-inspired book merch, or physical copies of you favorite books.
Warning: Use giveaways in conjunction with things! Don’t let it be a missed opportunity. Create a newsletter and do a giveaway with that. Promote one of your social media accounts. Team up with another writer or author to draw in their fans as well. And above all, be responsive!
I realize these aren’t earth shattering ideas, but even the smallest step toward being more social can greatly improve your following (dare I say, fandom?). You may be tempted to hide behind your computer in your own created worlds (I feel this temptation as well!) but it’s time to “explore strange new worlds”.
Need a professional headshot?
Great news! I’ll be at the Realm Makers 2016 conference offering 15 minute mini-sessions at the discounted price of $40. You will receive 5 high-resolution photos with a “print and use” release form. In addition, I will also include the corresponding low-resolution files, which are great for sharing on social media. Light touch-ups (skin smoothing, small blemish removal, and teeth whitening) will be included in the initial price. For additional touch-ups (including wrinkle removal, skin softening, and other Photoshop details) there will be a $5 charge per photo.
All photos will be sent via Dropbox with the option to purchase a CD. Please understand that, due to volume, there will be an approximate wait time of one month to receive your images. Sessions will be edited in the order that they were taken.
If your interested in a session contact me!
Live long and prosper,
Emilie is a freelance writer and photographer living in the heart of Washington, D.C. She writes romantic suspense while dreaming up YA Sci-Fi 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 designing fun bookish items for her online shops all while drinking too much coffee.