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Bios and Headshots
Bios and headshots – who needs ‘em? You do! If you want to take your writing career to the next level, then you need to be serious about the image you ‘put out there’ for your prospective readers. Your bio and headshot may well be the first introduction you make to your audience. 

The word biography normally refers to a detailed description of one’s life – you don’t want it to be that detailed or long-- but you do want it to tell your story in such a way that is interesting and captivating for the reader. You can, and should, have more than one bio: short, medium, and large. The short bio would be a simple one- or two-line bio statement more like an elevator conversation. Short and sweet, leaving them wanting more. 

A medium length bio should be something that you would put on the back of your book or the inside of the back cover. It tells about you, why you wrote the book, a little about your background. It isn’t a life story, but it does give enough information that your reader will connect with you.

The long bio gives more information and is something that would be used by an emcee to introduce you to an audience that you are speaking to. It will have your background story, tell about your family, where you live, your education, your hobbies, or other interests. You want to be sure that you keep it generalized; you can tell the state or region you live in but don’t give your address or so much information that your fans actually show up at your home.  

No matter where you are speaking, how large or small the audience, always hand the host your bio and have them introduce you. It lends credibility and brings more attention than if you merely stand up and start talking.
Now, about head shots. Professional is the key word here. The primary reason most people don’t have a professional head shot is the cost factor. But when you consider how important the head shot is the cost seems to be insignificant. Don’t make the mistake of having a family member or a friend take the photos – unless they happen to be a pro, of course – as there are many factors that play into it. 

First thing to consider is the background. You don’t want a wild background that draws the eye away from you, the subject of the photo. Instead, use a subtle background that is maybe slightly faded out. Wear clothing that is flattering and proper for the book that the photo will be on and the genre you are writing in. For instance, if you are writing a children’s book, you don’t want to be in a bikini on a beach somewhere but with a quiet backdrop – or none at all – that is honest for the story you are telling.

Lighting can make all the difference in the world – you don’t want a drab, dark photo that people can barely distinguish what they are seeing. You want a photo that invites, endorses and is memorable. Lighting and makeup are equally significant. If you are good – really good -- at applying makeup that is nice and presentable, then maybe you can do your own. Otherwise, consider having a professional do that as well. 

If you are writing a book that will be for academia you want to look professional. You don’t have to look boring, but you do want to present a welcoming but focused look through your clothing, your backdrop and maybe even what you are holding in your hand, if anything: a book, glasses, pen.

Think about the fact that the cover is what draws a person in initially, then the back cover where you give a quick synopsis of the story and a line or two about yourself. Look at other books to see what is out there. Comparison shopping never hurts anything and is always a good idea – look at what others are doing – if you find them appealing then maybe you could do something similar.

Remember, we are here to help you and we make publishing easy!

About the Authors: Daniel J. Mawhinney & Darlene Shortridge

Dan & Darlene have a passion and a heart for helping independent authors to successfully publish and market their stories worth telling and messages worth sharing.
40 Day Media LLC, PO Box 950794, Oklahoma City, OK 73195
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