Author portrait is part of the author brand

Why an Appealing Avatar is so Important

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Avatar.

Your Social Media Avatar
Moving my blog to the website, and browsing through the last months’ pages, I was clicking on my followers who “liked” the articles I wrote.  This leads to their avatar. What I saw made me sad: Less than 10% showed a professional presence.  Either a portrait image was missing, or there were no links to author pages, websites, blog or Social Media follow links.  It is a pity that these – otherwise great – authors are not able to reach out to their followers and not successfully expose their work.  It does not cost anything and an appealing avatar is created in minutes!

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AVATAR
What is an avatar?  By registering with a social network, it is one of the first things you will be asked to upload: a picture of yourself. Yet, surprisingly many still do not do this.  Twitter for example shows lots of eggs instead of profiles.  But people don’t want to talk to eggs…
Not having a suitable picture is not really an excuse either, and taking a “selfie” is not the best idea. Almost every large grocery shop or mall offers pass photos for a very low price, if you don’t want to go to a professional photographer.  Decide how you want to be seen by the world and that you can choose for all your Social Media, web and blog avatars.
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Don’t Use a Selfie
Choosing the right image is a vital piece of your branding and identity in the modern online world. Developing your own unique identity is an important part of being online – which we don’t always appreciate when we first start setting up our online accounts.  Having the one online identity across all your accounts makes it easier for others to connect and relate to you.
Best idea would be to register with Gravatar, a free online widget that will ensure that the same profile picture will be pulled in when you comment on others’ posts on certain platforms. This video explains it in detail.  Most social networks are also offering editing tools for your avatar.

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There is More Than Just Your Image:
To introduce yourself on the web or on Social Media, prepare a short text including links to your website or blog, the major Social Media accounts you have, such as Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin etc. and a link to your author page on Amazon, where all your books are listed. Here is a good example from Fiza Pathan.

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Difference Between Avatar and Gravatar
A Gravatar is basically just a subset of avatars.  Globally Recognized AVATARS = Gravatars.  It’s sort of the avatar equivalent of a bathroom sign, for the most part you can tell where the bathroom is no matter where you go around the world. Generally they are used for default avatars on sites that allow reader comments / posts, e.g. on blogs.

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Set Up Once – You Can Use it Everywhere 
Set-up your bio with a studio portrait, the same you use in your book(s) and create an inviting avatar. Use keywords that will attract the type of people that you want to connect with.  Your short bio (or an avatar, or “about me”) can be used for all your presences, for your Amazon website, your blog etc. Same as with your photo portrait: once established you can use it everywhere, even if you have to decrease it on some places, such as on Twitter. Use lots of keywords and add abbreviated links to your web site or Amazon page.  And choose your username wisely!
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Don’t Forget:
Many publishers and literary agents, as well as journalists, editors and book bloggers have a Social Media presence too.  They are using Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads or LinkedIn and mingle on these sites with authors famous and unknown.  If you like to get a name in the world of books and establish a successful career with your self-published work: create a professional online presence everywhere.

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THANK YOU

A note to readers, subscribers and followers:

I am very thankful for over 710,000 visitors, thousands of followers and subscribers on SavvyBookWriters.wordpress.com.  This site will be available in the future under:

http://SavvyBookWriters.com/blog

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How Important is a Great Author Photo?

Look Great in Your Author Photo: Key element to design your author photo: Quality
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Rolleiflex-Kamera
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If you’re not seen as a professional,  you will be seen as an amateur.  Professional authors have professionally taken profile photos. This is immensely important for any author – no matter what genre you write. You can’t use a Facebook photo, not even a high quality wedding image that you might have cropped to show only your head.  Or a snapshot with a cluttered background, out of focus image, and an unflattering and uninteresting picture.  Even worse:  Party or holiday photos with several persons, or with your dog or toddler. To top it: some authors show instead of a portrait or head shot an image of their dog, cat or their car.  I cringe every time I see these images
used on Twitter or Google+.  Don’t forget:  Literary Agents and Publishers are on these Social Media sites too.  And you never get a second chance for a first good impression!
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Every Author Needs a Professional Head Shot.
If you promote yourself and your book, you will need one and a photo can do wonders in terms of giving you credibility or establishing trust. The prices for these photos are varying a lot, it depends on the location, on the experience of the photographer, on his or her popularity etc.  The honorary can vary from less than $100 to thousands.
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An Author Photo is an Important Piece of Your Brand.
If you have a photo you like, you can use it for years – and use it everywhere, not only on your books, but also in articles, promo material or your avatar for Social Media. When people see it, they will think of you and of your writing.  Have a look at the famous photos of people like JK Rowling or Stephen King and how they convey so much at a glance. Pick your photographer by looking at the photographer’s web site and if possible meeting him or her before you decide having him/her as your portraitist.
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A Book’s Back Cover Will Often Include the Author’s Photo.
On a hard cover, the photo and bio are often placed on the back flap, while the books back cover is used for blurbs and reviewer comments. Paperbacks typically have the sales copy, an author photo and brief bio all on the back cover.  Get both: a black and white glossy print and a full color cover. It’s important to realize that your author picture is for a different purpose than any photo you have ever had taken.  Its main objective is to sell you as the expert.
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Have it Done by a Professional!
This part of your “brand” will present you to the world via social media, book jackets, etc. If you have a photographer friend who will do it for free or at a discount, all the better.  Ask the photographer to give you both versions digitally: in TIFF for print and in jpeg for the web, and also preferably in several sizes, if you are not an expert in Photoshop or other image programs.
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Make Sure the Photo Reflects YOUR Personality.
Have your expression match your personality. For instance, if you are considered a pretty upbeat person and you are usually smiling, a pout would look ridiculous. The author photo needs to give the viewer a good sense of the persona of the author and, most of all, be close up enough that the face is almost format-filling. It should also be a well-composed and an effective photograph of high-resolution quality.
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In this cyber-over-exposed world, your photo may stay with you for a very, very long time.  Ask yourself how you want to be seen by the world…

Get More Tips from a Photographer

http://www.fromthewriteangle.com/2013/02/author-photos-step-by-stepthe.html

http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/02/how-to-take-good-author-photo/

http://indiereader.com/2013/02/tips-for-avoiding-awkward-publicity-photos/

http://www.ebookpublishinghq.com/5-tips-for-taking-a-good-author-photo/

http://www.authormedia.com/how-to-take-portraits-for-an-author-website/

http://authorculture.blogspot.ca/2012/02/is-your-author-photo-sending-right.html

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Tagged: author bio, author photo, author portrait, Author portrait is part of the author brand, avatar, Google Image Search, how to organize photo archives, image caption, photographer, professional head shot


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