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.