Saturday, September 13, 2008


This week has been all about preparation. With the ACFW Conference coming up next week, I've been updating my business cards, sell sheets, printing out my flight schedule, and other obligations. After I got over my fever, received a round of antibiotics, I finally got around to doing a little shopping. The flat tire I had this morning tried to slow me down a bit, but we worked around it, and I have a new hair style as well. After I got home I realized my photo isn't going to match me now.

Women change their hair styles all the time. Is it possible to have enough good photos available to keep up with what we currently look like for all our promotional pieces? I got to thinking about this today and I wonder what the rest of you think. I suppose it doesn't matter for me as I'm not published yet, and I haven't invested my money into a lot of printed materials. But for the rest of you who are published, how often should you update your photo on your promotional material?


  1. Gosh, Jenn, I hadn't thought of that! But I look pretty much the same. My hair color varies depending on how close I am to a hair appointment. :) But it's not enough to make my photo unrecognizable. Although at RWA an old acquaintance didn't recognize me because my hair's darker now. :)

    I bet you look enough the same for it not to matter.


  2. How often to update. There are actually different answers:-)

    1. Actors/Actresses and public performers should update on every major change in appearance.

    2. Models should update on major change in appearance and a minimum of once a year.

    3. Authors should update on major change in appearance for the next book cover or once a year. This could also include different genres though. For instance a photo for a romance book shouldn't look the same as a photo for a horror. ;-)

    4. Speakers should update a minimum of once a year or on major change of appearance.

    Now what is a major change?
    A complete hair color change, significant weight loss or gain, drastically different hair get the picture (pun not intended, but it works.)

    The point of a photo is to show someone what you look like now. Not 10 or 20 years ago. If you are asked to do something on camera like an interview or to lead a workshop, your promo piece needs to look like who you are. Surprises for professionals is just not acceptable. It isn't about vanity. It's about being able to recognize you and shake your hand, about promoting you to the audience and becoming friendly even before you arrive.

    It is very uncomfortable when a stranger walks through the door and the audience or welcoming professional is caught off guard. They spend the whole time trying to get to know you all over again.

    That said, it is not unheard of for professionals to update their photo every 3-5 years. You just have to make sure it really looks like you.