Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Look the Part

How do you look? To whom? If you're pitching to an agent, you only get a few minutes to impress that person. How you dress becomes important. If she sees you walk up to her table looking slovenly, you're starting from a disadvantage. You shouldn't overdress either. I attended a conference and one writer wore a suit, the only one in the building. His image indicated he tried too hard. You need to dress for context. I have a friend who writes Sci Fi. Being ex military, he dressed conservatively, clean shaven with a buzz cut. He studied his environment and decided it to change his look. He grew his hair to his shoulders and grew a Middle Ages looking beard. He sells books at Sci Fi conventions and his image fits in his crowd.
I've included two photos of myself. I've used the first for my anthologies, motivational books. The suit looks appropriate, and I hired a professional photographer. He even removed a few wrinkles. It conveys professionalism, confidence and trust.
The second photo shows my hair longer, with much more casual dress. I traveled for a year on my motorcycle with my wife. The look reflects an adventurer, and would be more appropriate for my book, '50 States in 50 Weeks: Easy Rider Revisited.' The second photo works for the book, the first would be a non starter. Sometimes you can dress differently and get away with it, but you must be careful. My agent, Terry Burns, wears a cowboy hat and it's become his trademark, 'the guy with the cowboy hat.' He's from Texas, and the hat complements his Texas drawl. Another agent, from Scottish descent, wears a kilt to the awards banquet portion of a writer's conference. He pulls it off. A Sci Fi publisher tried a silver suit that made him look like the tin man from The Wizard of Oz. Braapp! Non starter. Don't take lightly how you look or what you wear. What works well for you, for your genre', for your lifestyle? Choose clothing and a hairstyle that complements it.
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