Romy's Blog

The dos and don'ts of profile pictures

If you are serious about being a writer (and ideally want to achieve fame and riches beyond your wildest imaginings) then you need to start viewing yourself as a business.

What is the first impression you're giving to your potential customers / readers?

Search for your favourite author on social media (Facebook or Twitter). What is the first thing you notice? I'm going to guess it was the pictures that drew your attention first and most likely the profile picture. Does the author look professional? What does this image say about the person?

Unless you have made a deliberate decision to hide who you are, avoid using your cover image or a picture of your pet as your profile picture. Readers want to connect with YOU, the author.

Guidelines for good profile pictures which help you connect to your audience:

  • DO use a head and shoulders shot of yourself

  • DO use a recent photograph

  • DO use a high quality image

  • DO look straight into the camera

  • DO dress like a professional

To avoid looking like an amateur:

  • Don't use a blurry or pixelated image

  • Don't choose a picture with a cluttered or distracting background

  • Don't have others in the frame, or crop other people out

  • Don't use fancy effects which make you unrecognisable

  • Don't take a selfie in the mirror!

Now I want you to take a look at your own profile.

What does your picture say about you?

If your picture looks like any of these, what it's saying to potential readers and followers is "I'm clueless" or "I don't really care." Would you spend money on a book by someone who is either clueless or doesn't care about their work?

PS: All these examples are taken from Facebook writers' groups I belong to, so these are all people who have already decided they want to be professional writers!

What this says about you:

(a) I couldn't be bothered to create a proper profile, or

(b) I'm a creepy stalker

What this says about you:

I am a Luddite who can't figure out how to use my computer.

What this says about you:

(a) I don't want you to know who I am,

(b) Look at my chest. I work out.

What this says about you:

I may have been born in the 21st Century, but I still don't know how to crop a photo.

What this says about you:

I wish I were someone else.

What this says about you:

I think you are so dumb, you won't even realise I've stolen someone else's identity.

What this says about you:

(a) I don't want you to know who I am, or

(b) I don't know who I am either.

What this says about you:

I don't exist as a person in my own right.

What this says about you:

Maybe if I use a picture in which I am very tiny against a busy background, you won't recognise me in that police line-up.

What this says about you:

My d*ck is so tiny that I have to show you my car to impress you.

Finally, please, please don't try to get cute with your descriptions. A profile like this doesn't say "I am so smart". Decide for yourself what a profile like this says about you.

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