Got unsolicited and damaging advice from a well-meaning writer the other day, telling me that the photo I use in some of my books and on my website is “too casual” and I should consider getting a professional headshot, preferably wearing a “smart jacket.”
Here’s the photo in question.
And here’s why I won’t be taking this writer’s advice:
- It’s not 1982.
- Any person who, in 2019, wants to work with a freelancer dressed like a corporate stiff is certainly not a client I want. I like to work with fun people who appreciate personality and individuality, not a 1950s clone stuck in archaic notions of what it means to be competent and successful.
- I get really (really) pissed off when anyone tells me how to dress, talk, act, or present myself. If my mother doesn’t get to do it, you, stranger-on-the-Internet-I’ve never-heard-of sure as hell don’t.
- Did I mention it’s not 1982?
Here’s the thing: This is the kind of bullshit advice that people not only take, but worse and what is criminal in my opinion, give. It doesn’t work for them (the person who emailed me admitted to having had “not much success” in her writing career), make no money, have no branding, don’t get work, and still spout this sort of crap on Facebook forums to other writers as though they have a lick of an idea of what actually works.
There is a way to take photos. There is a way to dress in a way that attracts the right kind of clients to you and absolutely REPELS the wrong ones.
It has to do with who you are as a writer. And who you’re targeting as clients.
This is the sort of thing that can make or break your career. And it’s not advice you’re going to ever learn for free, no matter how many FB groups you join.
In the Finishers, I’ve shared a bio that worked incredibly well for me as a freelancer and journalist. But shield your eyes if you’re too attached to the idea of being “professional.” It will make your eyes bleed.
Anyway, if you want techniques that have been tried and tested by professionals with a focus on what brings you the right kinds of clients/editors/agents/publishers, check out The Finishers.
I’ll show you how to be anti-professional. In a way that puts real dollars in your pocket.