When purchasing a book generally the cover design is the first thing that draws a reader in. Within seconds they flip the book over and read the back cover copy which should include an author photo with a few lines of bio. Readers like to know about their authors.
A photo or head shot brings the author into the reality conversation when reading a book. Stephen King seems rather normal with his dark hair and beard. Yet his mind is a carnival of storylines leading into terror and entertainment. If you passed him at a grocery store, would you realize you were seeing the king of scare? Without his author photos, readers wouldn’t recognize him.
Granted, an author typically isn’t going to become an overnight celebrity but having a photo on the book resonates with your readers. Makes you more personable to your readers, not just a name. If placed on the back cover, the image can be in full color. Maybe your photo was taken at sunset, so the oranges and yellows of the evening sky would radiate around you. Maybe the color of your shirt matches the color of your eyes, why not put the author photo on the back cover. If located on the About the Author page inside the back of the book, typically the image would be grayscale, black and white for economical reasons.
Do you need to spend hundreds of dollars for a professional head shot? No, a simple well-taken photograph in high resolution will do. But if you haven’t gone to a photographer since your school days, you might want to look into having a session done. Not only is a professional shot good for your book but having copies made for family is a side treasure. Whichever you choose, you’ll want two digital copies of the image: One in high resolution for printing and another saved-for-the-web size you can upload to your website, Facebook or any online marketing.
Select your photo carefully, whether a portrait or outdoor shot. You may need to send copies of the image to various media and social media outlets during the marketing of your book. Be sure the photo is something you are very comfortable seeing over and over again.