Posts Tagged ‘marketing tips’

5 Tips for Taking a Great Author Photo

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A great author photo can say just as much about a title as…well…the title! Author photos are key selling tools in the publishing world, and you want to make sure yours stands out. Your photo will be featured on your books, as well as on any blogs, websites or social media you produce. Sometimes, your author photo can even make or break a signing gig. It may sound like a daunting task, but a few simple principles are all you really need to get a shot that shines. So, stand up straight, check your teeth for spinach, and smile!


Be Authentic

The goal of an author photo is to establish a connection between you and the viewer. Showing your personality is great, but be careful not to overdo it. You want the photo to be current, relatable, and YOU. Be authentic to yourself and your genre. If you write upbeat devotionals, don’t take your photo in a gloomy graveyard. If you’re writing about the struggles of high finance in the business world, that baseball hat and shorts just aren’t going to cut it. In the same vein, pick a pose that displays your personality, but avoids tropes.

Author Photo good pose

DO Be Genuine and Personable.

Light It Up

Proper lighting in photography cannot be stressed enough. The light should not be bright enough to obliterate the shadows on your face, but it should bring out your eyes. Dark and moody is usually not going to be a good choice: you’ll get dark circles under your eyes, you’ll look tired, and your neck is going to vanish into the background. Speaking of backgrounds, this is a good time to consider where your photos will be taken. Outdoors is a great choice, especially in the late afternoon, but you could also do them indoors, preferably next to a window with a lot of natural light.

Author Photo too dark

DON’T Forget that Lighting is a Key Element in a Great Author Photo.

Focus In

Your face needs to be the center of attention in your photo. This doesn’t mean that you have to be centered in the frame, but it does mean that you should be the most prominent feature. Remember, the spotlight is you—your face should be in focus.  Solid colored clothing is a great choice for author photos: prints distract from your face. Make sure you don’t blend into the background and you’re all set.

Author Photo bad focus

DON’T Focus on Something Other Than Your Face.

Hi Resolution

This is not a time to show off your selfie skills. This photo is going to be on the back of your book, on your website, on your blog, on your facebook, and several places between. Your iphone is nice, but your readers will be able to tell. Trust us on this one. All photos should be 300dpi, with room to crop down if needed.

Author Photo Selfie

DON’T Use a Selfie.

Go Pro

It’s tempting to go DIY with author photos, but it’s better to leave this project to a pro. If you’re going the budget route, check with local university art programs—often a student photographer will give you a great deal for their time, and it will look much better.

Author Photo GoPro-1

DON’T Use a Candid Snap Shot.

Investing in a good photographer is an investment in your book. Your photographer will know what light is working best, how to position your hands, and can help address any problems you encounter along the way.

Author Photo HiRes

DO Use a Professional to Capture a Great Author Photo!

** Special thanks to Ambassador intern Josh for modeling all of our author photo dos and don’ts! **

Beyond the Manuscript : Creating Your Platform (week 2)

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Beyond the Manuscript

Over the span of six weeks Ambassador COO Tim Lowry will be sharing a series he calls “Beyond the Manuscript.” Whether you’re a new or seasoned author we hope you’ll find this material helpful:

  • Week 1: Author and publisher marketing
  • Week 2: Creating a platform
  • Week 3: Building your fan base
  • Week 4: Developing your product launch plan
  • Week 5: How to organize a successful signing
  • Week 6: Engaging media on a local and national level

Any author that has ever attended a writer’s conference or been in the publishing industry any length of time has likely been told “you need to work on your platform.”

This week we’re going to cover some of basics needed to get you on the road to Creating A Platform.

A platform is key to the success of any book. If you have no established platform and no plans of establishing one then the your going to be facing an uphill battle. Thankfully however there are now more ways than ever before to build a platform, get a following and get your message out to the masses.

Let’s take a look at some of the tools that are available to you.

Social media icons

-Facebook: I have no doubt that everyone reading this has heard of Facebook, you probably already use it on some level. This is must for building your social presence — think of Facebook as a country with 1.1 billion residents, this is a huge market!

When talking about Facebook with respect to building your platform we’re talking about creating a fan page verses using a personal account.

A fan page is created from your personal account and Facebook has genres in place allowing you to easily create an author page. A fan page allows people to “like” rather than friend you.

With Facebook you can also customize your page URL (web address). We recommend making your URL your author name. The key in all this is to create a brand — your name is your brand. You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to find and follow you.

-Twitter: Again I’m going to assume almost everyone reading this has heard of Twitter, you may already have an account and have tweeted out a link to this blog, for others we’re getting into a grey area. Twitter is a powerful networking tool. Using short, concise messages you can grab attention and easily direct followers to your content, keep posts to 140 characters or less, incorporate links and hashtags to what is relevant. The best way to learn how to effectively use twitter is 1) by using it, 2) following others in your category that you respect and see how they’re using it to build there brand and following.

-Google+: Although relatively new to the social media scene Google+ is growing in popularity and an important one for building your platform. Google is the king of search and they love data. As a publishing house we have recently seen some of our Google+ posts show up on Google’s home page for a search ahead of websites related to the product. Put simply Google likes Google, that makes this a must. Finding friends and creating circles will take some getting used to however once established Google offers great tools that makes the learning curve worth it — Google Hangouts could perhaps be one of your most valuable free marketing tool. We’re going to go into further detail about Google Hangouts in the coming weeks and how you can use this tool to build a following and sell product.

-Website/Blog: This is your home base, the social networks are the connectors to you but your website is where it all happens. Use great tools like WordPress to create a robust website with a blog integrated. When building your site think about what you want it to achieve. If you’re wanting to push sales do you want to link to major retailers or would you prefer to handle your own sales using a service like paypal or perhaps providing both options? Do you speak at events or do you want to build this out as part of your marketing? If so make sure your site has a speaking calendar, instructions on how to book you and if possible audio or video of you speaking at other events. Do you want to offer freebies to bring fans to your site? Perhaps you have had several interviews or have a great media kit you’d like to have downloaded — this can go on a media page.

-YouTube: This is yet another one of Google’s sites.If you’re going to create a video there are options like Vimeo and Animoto however we strongly suggest YouTube as the way to go, this being a Google run site it works nicely with their analytics and places it higher in searches than other sites. Again, use your author name to brand your channel on YouTube.

It is important if at all possible that you keep your branding consistent. Website URL, Facebook URL, Twitter handle, YouTube Channel etc. Do not use some nickname or alias that only a handful of people know you by, stick with the name that is on the book.

Next week we’re going to be talking about how putting these tools to work and building your fan base as you write.

What tool have you found most successful for you to connect and build a listening audience?