Loyalty, Flat Tires, and Author Images

That’s my car last Friday

I’m a loyal guy, okay?

I use the same brand of toothpaste I used as a kid, use the same shampoo, and until recently, used the same soap. (I switched soaps. It was tough saying goodbye to Safeguard but it had to be done. I don’t wanna talk about it.)

I drive a 1998 Lincoln Navigator.

I love that car! It fits everything. Kids for field trips (so I can meet my daughter’s classmates and invite the good ones over to play). Plants from Home Depot (even though our house is where green things go to die).

It’s super comfortable. I mean, it’s like driving around on your sofa. And it’s black, so if you are driving behind another black one, people think it’s a presidential motorcade. Which means they’ll pull over in traffic. That’s handy.

And it’s been paid off for a long time, too, which is reeeeeeally nice.


Do the math. It’s now 2016, and that car rolled off the assembly line almost two decades ago.

Two decades.

I never had a car that long before. I always saw a newer, cooler, swankier model and traded up.

And had a bigger payment…

I had a classic 1968 convertible mustang in high school, a Firebird in college, a red Alfa Romeo Spyder convertible in grad school (I’ll say it: chick magnet – so was the Mustang but I was too innocent in high school to do anything about that then), a Plymouth Laser (0-60 in 6.6 seconds; had to buy a lot of tires for that one) and a Toyota MR6 convertible (strangely not a chick magnet, but an almost-Porsche, so maybe that’s why).

Great cars.

I had some not-so-great cars, too. The Mercedes 500 convertible. Here’s a tip: when you buy a car that retails for upwards of $100,000, expect all the maintenance to be based on a $100,000 car – as in, REALLY expensive. And when your wife drives over a wet bag of mulch some trucker dropped on the highway that does some indiscriminate damage under the chassis, the repairs are so high you’ll want to sell it rather than drive it ever again. Nice car, but we were afraid to move it after that. I saw dollar signs flying out of my wallet every time we went anywhere, worse than the boat we owned. It had to go.

And somewhere in there is when the Navigator came into our lives. Not to be confused with my book of a similar name, The Navigators (buy it HERE on Amazon FREE on KU),

the big old V-8 is a beast, in a good way. And now, almost 20 years later,  it still is. There’s a general understanding that it’s next major repair lands it in the scrap yard and we go get a new vehicle, but still. My wife drives a Chrysler 300 convertible, so she may get that BMW she’s been wanting and I’ll inherit the 300, but we will still feel the need for an SUV… plants have to be procured in a big rig, after all.

All of which leads me to AUTHOR PICTURES. And yes, you needed that car information to fully understand my dilemma. 

Again, I’m a loyal guy. I’ve stayed with this author picture for a while now:

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It’s like my car. It does the job, and it’s not fancy about it.

One of my author friends said it doesn’t look like me. That’s… kind of a problem. I asked my wife. She agreed.

Um… I think it looks like me. It IS me. It was taken with my then three-year-old daughter around Christmas time.

11252012 christmas photo shoot (27) GOOD b

See? I just cropped her out of it and made it black and white.

And she may have been two, not three, so maybe it was four years ago…

But I still look at it and see me. And bad hair. And a shirt that doesn’t really fit. And a few extra pounds. And I really needed a haircut, but I was worried about getting one so close to holidays and looking bad in the Christmas pictures. Which I did by not getting a haircut.

Okay, so what DO I look like?

Well, I look like THIS when I do Writers Off Task With Friends our author-based interview show on YouTube:

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I look good when I get cleaned up, don’t I? And the poor camera quality fuzzes out my wrinkles!

And I look like this at other times:


But those aren’t exactly author pictures, are they?

I was thinking for my upcoming romance, Poggibonsi: An Italian Misadventure, I’d go sexy:

But that’s not necessarily what I want on other books. Or do I?

And that brings me back to author image and freaking loyalty!!!

It’s branding. You want a GOOD picture that people identify with you year after year after year. Like Coca Cola and Ford.


Don’t you? Or do you wanna let each book be a little different while still being the same? More you and more interesting, but still the person they know? For example, my yellow shirt pic, maybe cropped?

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Or in black and white?

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Beats me. Stephen King doesn’t use the same image every time. Dear Abby used the same one for 40 years. Who’s right?

I stayed with the old pic because it was one I liked – me and my daughter – not because I looked good or because it created an impression.

But it did. It says here’s an approachable nice guy.


And what about The Navigators (the book, not the car)? I think that black and white pic would have been fine on its cover. Compare:

Damn, maybe my current pic doesn’t look like me.


Okay, so here’s what’s gonna happen. I’m gonna see about a new pic and post it here or on Facebook or maybe both, and let you guys vote. I should get my friend the photographer to do it, too, so it looks professional, but that seems like a lot of work. Either way, as much as I like the old pic, there comes a time when… you need to consider making a change.

And I think my fans will roll with it.

What do YOU think? Can yellow shirt me work?

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your humble host, updated (possibly)

Dan Alatorre (left) is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to get your copy of The Navigators – FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

He is also debating an updated author pic.

Among other things.





Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

48 thoughts on “Loyalty, Flat Tires, and Author Images

  1. I think you should do a screen catch of the you tube one, crop it and use that one. You look a bit like Colin Firth on that one. That will do nicely for the romance book me thinks.

  2. I think yellow shirt Dan works very nicely indeed. Shame you cropped out the nipple, that was my favourite part. But even so, it’s a nice pic. I look forward to seeing the new selection soon!

    1. Gotta change it up every once in a while, right? (And the nipple was never gonna be in the final pic unless like a THOUSAND people said to go that way, and even then probably not. So you will just have to search the archives now…)

  3. I like the old one, but that new pic would probably work better for a romance book. Probably not the best one to ask because I keep thinking of going back to my original author pic. Hard to move on. Love how you slipped the book promo in there.

  4. NO, No yellow shirt. I actually like the one of you and your kiddo where she’s on your shoulder. Although that’s some cropping effort to use it. It would have been good for Navigators. Gives you an “I’m outdoorsy and maybe I had this wild experience once” look.

    1. I LOVE that picture of me and my daughter – but if you look closely my hair is standing straight up in front because the wind gusted right Katie took the picture. And in the other six or seven pics she took, my daughter isn’t looking or she’s making a face…

  5. Hmmm. I like several of these, but I have a question: have you thought about hiring a professional photographer? You can tell them what you’re going for, and they can capture it in a way you might not have thought of.

  6. Dan don’t you dare use the yellow shirt one … believe me Lucy is winding you up! You know what us Brits are like! Just try and look normal … maybe try a hat?

    1. Funny thing about that, some people look good in hats (my wife, my daughter) and some don’t – me.

      I think the yellow shirt will suffice as a temporary bridge until i get my act together and get a real picture. It’s different enough to remind me every time I see it that I want to get a real picture done.

  7. The other problem with the yellow shirt one(the cropped version) is I was at the beach and have a dark tan. When I put it in black and white my skin tones make it look slightly bizarre.

  8. Honestly, I think you should stick with the picture you’ve had on here forever. It’s a great pic, and so what if your hair is flying a little or if you look a little different now? To me, it’s a great author photo, very professional. I hate the idea of the open shirt, not because of how you look but because I get turned off immediately when a guy’s profile pic is of him shirtless or with an open shirt. He could be the sexiest guy on earth, and I would still be turned off. It’s about the image you’re projecting.

    My hair is blowing in the wind in one of my author pics, but people love it anyway, and in my main author pic, I hate the way my lips look, yet people are constantly complimenting me on it. So, I’m sticking with the same one. It may be boring, but so be it!

    1. THAT is a great point. That’s the kind of feedback I’m looking for. See, women by 80 or 90% of the books that are sold on the market, regardless of genre. And women are 90% of my book readers and 90% of my blog readers so it makes sense to go to all of you and ask what’s the best way to go here. It’s not a choice between A or B but what direction should I go. So that’s a great tip. And I really appreciate that!

  9. If it was a vote between the old photo and the yellow-shirt one, even cropped, I would still vote for the old photo. To me, you look younger in the new one, but you look nicer in the old one because you’re SMILING. Smiling is good. The sexy expression isn’t quite doing it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure you can pull off seriously legitimate sexy looks, but in this one you look a bit… confused. Also, low energy. The old photo you really radiate happiness and excitement. I think that’s more of a draw

    1. Well of course I was happy! I’m holding my little girl!

      But you know how it is every time you look at a picture and you just think: I hate how my hair looks in that picture so I hate that picture. It’s kind of like that.

      1. Oh boy yes I do — I pretty much hate every picture of myself. I always think, “Hm, having a real bad face day that day. No wait, that’s what I actually look like. Oh, darn it!” 🙂

  10. Okay, this is what I want you to do. Through the magic of editing, button up the yellow shirt just a little,and add a hint of a smile. That’s my 2 cents worth. LOL

  11. I like the old picture. It looks happy, natural and I never noticed the wispy bits of hair until you pointed it out. The other photo looks like you can see right through the camera into my room and with those raised eyebrows, well it’s a bit unnerving. Especially if it’s staring me down on the back cover of a book. Despite that, yellow looks great on you.

  12. OK since you asked for my vote….I’d go with the “other” pics, #2 or #4. Very natural and “real.”

    I lived for ten long years in the 70s so I have no need to see another unbuttoned shirts. (Although I see you’ve misplaced your gold chains and your Tab.)

  13. Very lovely posts your daughter is so cute 😍

    Do check out my blog posts and let me know what you think would love that I’m new to the blogging world x

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