We’ve all seen the photos of our favorite authors on their bio-page. You know, the one where they always look so comfortable and relaxed, or broodingly contemplative. Well, I decided I needed one of those for the blog (and my twitter account). After all, it works for other authors (and real estate agents) so it stands to reason that I should have one, too. Let’s face it, you’re not a “real” author until everyone knows what you look like, right?
I mean, how hard can it be? You just throw on some cool looking clothes and settle back in your armchair, all while trying to look as nonchalant or mysterious as you can. Grab yourself a decent photographer and presto! You have yourself a portrait worthy of the back flap of a dust-jacket or the bio page of your website.
Turns out, there’s a little more involved to it than that.
You have to suffer for your art. At least, you do if you’re wife is also your photographer. Take a look at my photo on my bio page — I have to admit I look pretty good in it, especially as I’m not the most photogenic of individuals (there’s a reason I’m a writer and not an actor).
But there’s more to this photo than meets the eye … literally. See those eyebrows? My eyebrows did not look like that the evening before the photo was shot. No, my wife insisted that I had to have them “shaped”. And by “shaped” what she really meant was plucked. So she spent an hour or so with a pair of pliers … I mean tweezers … plucking away at the offending follicles. Eventually she resorted to an application of Nair.
“Just to get the right shape,” she said.
It took about 15 photos and numerous poses before we actually got one that we were both happy with. Between getting the right colored jacket to match the surrounding walls, making sure that I wasn’t blinking or one of the dogs hadn’t wandered into frame we ended up spending about two hours of our time.
Of course, a bio picture isn’t essential. I don’t know if knowing what I look like is going to help me sell more books (or less), because, in the end, it’s going to be the quality of my storytelling ability that will keep readers coming back. But think for a second; have you ever read a hardcover that didn’t have a photo of the author plastered on the back dustcover? No, me either.
So I guess it can’t hurt.