Does this NOT look like me?

You guys all know this picture by now

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Your humble host

That’s me!

I recognize me. I look just like that.

I think.

However, it was recently brought to my attention that I don’t look like that.


11252012 christmas photo shoot (27) GOOD b
Isn’t she a cutie?

The person who said it has been seeing me on the video show and thinks I don’t look like my author pic.

They may be right.

For branding purposes, I decided to pick a picture and stick with it – one that I liked well enough, but that wasn’t trying to be sexy or too serious or whatever.

The image I use here on the blog (and my books and everywhere else – because branding) was taken by my friend Katie, who’s a terrific photographer. I’m actually holding my 2 1/2 year old daughter (or 3 1/2, I don’t remember) in it, but cropped her out for an author pic.

Sneaky, huh?

And while all that was fine and good, it didn’t occur to me that I don’t look like me in the picture.

I can readily admit my hair looks like crap in that picture. I don’t know why; it looked fine all day but looked like crap during that whole photo shoot. I was worried about my kid looking good I guess, so I never glanced in a mirror.

Lesson learned.

Now, let’s look at some stills from the video show.

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Well, I’m blurry, so maybe that’s the difference. Fuzzy image = fewer visible wrinkles. Who knew? Zoom in on that original pic – that’s why I left it large. See the wrinkles? I have them. (Doesn’t look like it in these video stills, though, does it? Hmm.)

I gotta admit, I look pretty good in that one

and here I am again… what a difference a decent haircut makes.

Meh. I can go either way on this one.

Hey, they can’t all be winners!

Gotta show the dimples at least once, though.

And here’s Show 9; it has me as the cover image. Click it and watch me move around a bit. Maybe that’s part of all this.


So while this has NOT been a gratuitous post about HEY LOOK AT ME – that was just a happy side benefit – what do you think? Is my current author pic okay or should I go with a new one since I apparently look different?

More like the guy on the right (3 years ago)? Or the one on the left (3 weeks ago)?

2head shot 2

I guess I can always call Katie and schedule a new author picture.

Trust me, nothing will change your appearance like seeing yourself on video. Wow, I had no idea I looked that fat or unkempt. No wonder actresses are so skinny in real life. Video will make you put down that second donut and question the first donut!

Okay, so maybe a decent haircut helps, but what do you think? I’m happy to do whatever’s needed to sell books, and I think staying with a certain look will work best for that, so I won’t be changing the picture every six months. It’ll stay whatever we decide for a few years and maybe a lot longer. People change. I get that. But I was never crazy about the first picture anyway. (It’s the hair. I look like I’m going bald or something!)

It’s probably more important to have an image that matches readers’ expectations than one that’s pretty – and I’m not even sure either’s all that important.

What is important is to pick an image and stick with it so fans immediately know it’s you when they see you. Coca-Cola hasn’t changed from writing their name in cursive for over 100 years for a reason. If I’m gonna switch, I need to do it and get it over with for as few years.

So, once again it falls to you, my friends, to help me resolved this dilemma.

Give it to me straight. New pic? Or stay with the existing? If we go with new pic, I’ll get a session scheduled with Katie and let you guys pick the best head shot from whatever she comes up with, but I’m thinking about staying with the current one unless the voting says otherwise.

Give me your thoughts!


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Your humble but soon to possibly be updated host.

44 thoughts on “Does this NOT look like me?

  1. I am definitely the wrong person to ask, as I hate any photgraphs of me. And Jaye refuses to have one, anywhere! We know we should display our likeness, but if you look old and past it, should you really have to? Can we be ‘excused boots’ if you can remember this expression?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You know, that’s a good point. Who is my target audience? Typically it has been women age 35-55 with kids. Of course, that wasn’t intended, that’s just who tends to read my stuff. Younger ladies aren’t clamoring for me, sadly, and the more mature reader is always welcome, but the 35-55 group makes up the largest part of my bell shaped audience curve. And the ladies in that range probably a guy who isn’t in his 20’s (and therefore doesn’t have perspective) – and picture says I’m a little older than 20’s. And 30’s. (That’s as far as I’m willing to go with the age thing.)

      Target market might matter for that. Hmm.

      And if we don’t have a flattering current picture of ourselves, we certainly don’t have to share it, but why not use one from a time when we looked good? Dear Abby was a hit when I was a kid. Her picture never changed in the newspaper column, ever. So in my mind she never aged. She looked mid-forties for twenty years or more. I’m cool with that. It’s a brand. If you looked good in your high school picture, use it. If your audience needs a more mature you, find one. Or if you are camera shy, there’s usually a nice casual, not posed picture that your friends all agree you look good in.

      However, if you don’t wanna tip people off to your age, don’t! Biases exist everywhere, spoken or not. Don’t hurt your brand over a picture.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d recognise you anywhere, Dan. I have just had a bunch of author head shots done myself and wish I had thought to splash them all gratuitously across my blog so people could gaze in awe – ahem – help me choose – which was the best one. Also, the best way to avoid seeing yourself looking fat in videos is… never watch any videos of yourself! Works for me every time.
    But anyway – despite the dodgy hair I think you look very nice in your author pic and just as nice (and not at all fat) in the videos. I say get some broody, sexy ones done and we can all give you an honest opinion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I appreciate you saying you’d recognize me anywhere, Lucy, but I SWEAR that wasn’t me in the bushes outside your house! Honest. I have an alibi. I was in Florida the whole time.

      Yeah, it’s never a bad idea to ask the fans which pic they like best. It works for lots of things, like books covers and stuff, so that’s a good way to go. They’re never wrong. But you picked a good one, so it all worked out.

      Now, as for a broody, sexy picture of me… I’m sure Katie would be up for the photographic challenge, but I only look broody when I’m in a bad mood, and as far as sexy, I think the pic of me flashing my dimples is probably as sexy as I get!


  3. I also hate pictures of myself but I would keep the original. It looks natural instead of stiff or overly staged, I never thought the hair looked messy. When I look at it, the first thing I see is the smile which looks spontaneous.Nice dimples too. And you might spend a lot of time and energy on new pictures but not like any of them. By the way I can’t see any wrinkles.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I move less in the still pics.

      Don’t think I don’t notice my two co-hosts BOTH saying I need a new author picture.

      However… both you and Jenny look much prettier on video than your author pics, and you both look great in your author pics, so maybe there’s something to it. Maybe the video – which allows personality to enter the equation – makes a difference.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My God!! So they’ve invented photography. I really must catch up.
    I think that an author photograph should show you being just that … an author. So how about one of you bleeding over a keyboard. It might scare the kids, but hey, nobody’s perfect. You do look jolly nice in all of them by the way but you need to be looking authorly. No, I didn’t say awfully. Yo may also care to look at one of my latest posts which contains my authorly picture. Link below. All the very best. Kris.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I considered trying to look authorey, I really did. Then I figured I’d just go with a pic I liked enough for now. That’s been three years, and could well go another twenty.


      If enough people mention that you should consider making a change, you should consider it. So since these have been people who have my best interests at heart, I’m considering it.

      Now, trying to look authorey? That’d just expose me as a fraud. I’d better try for something else. What do you think about brooding and sexy?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Its a darn good thing that this post generated comments that made me laugh hysterically or I’d be mad at you for this post.. But your commenters have made up for your trespass against my reading enjoyment.. You look like you in all the pics.. I happen to like the original for the all the aforementioned reasons.. And one more..

    I don’t speak for all readers but when I find an author that is so good that I’ll buy the book, because they wrote it, without having a clue to the plot, I expect certain things to not change..
    Their photo for one.. We all age of course.. but I don’t want to see my heroes and mentors differently than how I first “met” them.. Authors are my doorway to armchair adventures, so they are my mentors or guides.. I don’t know how other people feel about that but I believe we all like the comfort of stable familiarity.. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I hate to disagree with whoever told you it doesn’t look like you….but I disagree with whoever told you….I think it definitely looks like you! Handsome in all the photos! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve always said that, as far as art goes, I’m strictly a motion picture. I don’t make a good still life.

    Photos of me rarely LOOK like me. At least not to the people who know me best. And in posed pics I’m not really “me” – I’m way too self-conscious about sucking in my gut and posing one kid in front of each thigh (that’s why we HAVE kids- to cover our fat bits in pics. That, and to mow the lawn.)

    Anyway. I’ve never met you, so my vote may not count, but I like the new pic just as well. It seems less…triumphant? And more…self- deprecating? Those are admittedly odd descriptors…but since you asked….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sticking with one headshot for branding is great, but it doesn’t have to be FOREVER. You can update once in a while without it hurting you. You may find that you look most like yourself when you’re being you rather than when you’re smiling at the camera. I think that if you could have a shoot with someone where you’re enjoying yourself, laughing, maybe even talking about something you love – you’d get some great shots. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I think we all look different on video. I’m not a fan of being on camera. Who needs to look heavier than we already are, lol. But seriously, I think you look like you. I’d keep the original . . . for a few more years anyway. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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