Thursday, May 30, 2013
What Your Profile Pic Says About You
By OFW editor: Renée Miller
Published: December 08, 2013

The face you put online says a lot about you. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter. People make assumptions because that’s what we do. Remember, when you’re marketing yourself as an author, the image you post online is not only seen by family and friends, but by potential readers, agents and publishers. What’s fine for a personal Facebook page is not necessarily suited to your Twitter page or blog profile. So, what does your pic say about you?
1. The quirky, silly shot
Although you choose this pic to make it look like you don’t care what others think, you’re a liar. You’re shallow, with little self-respect or awareness. That’s why you’re totally shaking your head at this description of you. While a silly pic for a short time is funny, if this is the only pic you post of yourself online, you’re not going to be seen as professional—which is probably for the best, because you’re not professional.
2. The portrait
Studio shots with professional hair, make-up and lighting might seem the wisest choice for author and website photos, but be careful. A photo that is too perfect implies you have something to hide. If you never use natural shots that haven’t been touched-up to make you look flawless, you’re saying that you’re dishonest and hoping to mislead others. Most of your life is lived behind a mask…but you’re the only person who’s fooled.
3. The Cartoon
Many sites offer the option of cartoonizing yourself, and it’s fun and sometimes refreshing, but this is not a permanent pic an author should choose. Cartoon images say that you are hiding something or afraid to show your real self. This makes folks suspicious of you and that’s not what you want…or is it?
4. Celebrities
You’re fifteen.
5. Nature or Travel Pics
There you are, in the middle of a jungle at sunset, holding a nasty-ass snake and grinning. Or maybe you’re out front of a giant tree in the middle of some cropped off landscape, or standing in front of some major landmark. These seem like smart pics to post with an author bio, but they imply that you lack confidence. You want to surround yourself with impressive shit so others will think you’re just as impressive. You want people to think your life is exciting and fun, when in reality, you’re just as boring as the rest of us.
6. The Family Portrait
Family pics on private Facebook pages are fantastic. They say that you love your family and are very close to them…possibly. The problem with using your family as a bio pic on Goodreads or for your Twitter or blog profile is that it suggests you’re very focused on your home life, and may not be fully committed to this writing thing. It also suggests you might talk about your kids and your spouse constantly and that’s annoying.
7. Your Kids or Spouse
Yeah, your kid is cute. Spouse isn’t bad either. But who is the writer? Enough said.
8. The Far Away Shot
You post a pic so far away that we can’t make out your face. Hmm. This tells others you’re very private and you want to remain anonymous online, yet still build a presence. You’re reserved, possibly shy, and may not be committed to promoting yourself.
9. Pets
If you choose a pic or you and your pet, then you might be viewed as natural and friendly. However, just a shot of your pet says nothing at all about you, except that you don’t want to reveal who you are. Dishonest?  
10. Up Close and Impersonal
So, after all of these insults, is this the pic you should post online? Well, it certainly is more appealing than the rest. A close-up shot that hides nothing, is relatively untouched and friendly makes people feel they can trust you. You’re probably funny, open and engaging. But be careful. Images that are taken too close with too much filtering or Photoshopping gives the impression of being shallow and attention-grabbing. An image that fits your face in the frame is enough. No tonsils or pores should be seen.

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