Monday, July 25, 2011

Promotion: professional bio and photo - a must

           Since I'm filling in weeks where we have few contributors, readers will see me twice this week, both articles dealing with different components of promotion. This issue, I want to discuss the need, no, the requirement of a short professional bio and a professional appearing photo.

           Personally, I have several photos I can use for publicity, author pages in books, and my media kit. One was taken by a professional photographer in a Target studio, with the most expense being the cost of the copyright for all poses (needed for my using any I want to use for whatever reason I want). The others were taken with a digital camera, downloaded to my computer at 300 dpi and high resolution, cropped, and saved. Which is which?

          Yes, two of the above began as "snapshots," but ones that were set up carefully so they could be cropped and used as publicity shots. All publicity photos should look professional, not amateurish. 

          Next, authors, illustrators, and other professionals should have at least three biographies: a long one to be used an for long article or such; a medium length one for media kits and festival publicity; a short bio for author/illustrator pages. 

          For a short bio, the information should relate to the purpose, not give information that readers don't care to read. Unless the book is about dogs, why take up valuable space writing about owning sixty dogs? If the book is your first one or first one with a particular publisher, mention that. If the book is part of series, mention that. Let the reader know why you wrote or why you illustrated the book, if that's pertinent. If it's important to give a bit of personal information, make it short and interesting. Yes, include your website. Only include other book titles IF those are from the same publisher.

          An important part of promotion is to have a professional bio and photo. Both may take some effort, and maybe a little money (look at WalMart and Target studios for price breaks and be sure to pay for copyright), but both are necessary parts of promotion.

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  1. This is excellent information, Vivian, especially important for authors like me who are putting together a media kit.

  2. I'm trying to write about things that will better prepare authors and illustrators to promote themselves in a professional (and flattering) manner.

    Yes, I said flattering. Anyone putting a photo of him/herself "out there" should make sure the picture is flattering.

  3. Vivian, excellent information. Thanks so much for sharing! I use a couple of photos taken with the digital camera. For me, the appeal is is showing the author in their element. I especially like the one of you with the candles and cards in the background.

  4. Well, photos that are too busy distract from the subject. Also for books and such, a flattering, professional photo is a must. Remember, those pictures must be high res to print well.

  5. This is excellent information. It is sometimes difficult for new authors to understand promotion and what a bio contains, maybe because they lack the confidence that bio should demonstrate. A media kit is a wonderful tool and takes some thought to be affective.

  6. Dear Vivian,
    Thank you for sharing your expertise with us. I appreciate it very much. You help us be more professional. Do something good for you.

  7. Thanks, Vivian. Great information.

  8. I hope this newsletter gives help in all areas of writing, reading, and illustrating.


  9. I have always ignored traffic from comments… Rarely comment on other sites for the sake of traffic.. P.S- i am not saying it doesnt work, but just i havent tried - See more at:

  10. Well, the teaching is not just a professional biography but more than that as you can make or break students life and career and in this way it's very responsible post. However, I have gone through your biography and that is quite interesting and you have explained it well.

  11. For all professionals who have their on business they should make their own professional manager bio these types of profiles are very helpful for their business if they insert their photo it gives the plus points to make themself popular on internet.