In these days of social networking, an author has to decide what sort of image they want to present to the world. A visual image is only the beginning. Everything that is said or supported over the Internet contributes to an overall impression that potential readers will develop of any particular author.
Like many authors, I’m a private person by nature and don’t like to spend a lot of time spammimg the world on social media. I don’t even have my own Facebook account, but have an author page hosted by a friend. I’m on Twitter, but I only tend to participate when I’ve got a promotion in progress. It’s just not my scene to sit and babble endlessly on a computer, especially about myself or my books. Having said that, a certain amount of ‘presence’ is required these days to let the readers know that the books we write exist. Compromises must be made.
I’m not one to have my photograph taken often. I did sit for a professional photo to be taken that I might use as an author photo, but it felt too posed and contrived to suit my personality. So, I set about finding an alternative. With a little investigation through Google, I found that photos can be altered in various ways for free online, most commonly to be ‘cartoonized’. Now making myself into a Southpark character or Manga image seemed a little too unprofessional, but I found a site at http://www.cartoonize.net/ that made subtle changes to my original image so that they still looked like the original, yet had a veneer of separation from ordinary reality. After spending some time experimenting with their more extensive styles, I managed to collect several variations on the original image that suited my personality.
And in thus doing, I have established my mask to the world. We all have our masks. Everytime you get dressed or put on make-up, you are presenting a visual image to the world that reflects something of how you wish to present yourself. The above altered images are my chosen facades. So, which do you like best? Answers in the comments below.