Recently I’ve been playing around with author portraits. These are notoriously hard to get (professional, studio quality headshots) because most writers are awkward and maybe not super-photogenic (hey we’re writers, not models).
BUT midjourney version four allows you to combine pics now, so I can generate any mythical creature and “blend” it with any profile picture, and customize with text prompts until I have something pretty great – it usually works incredibly well. Fun, but not amazing (well, pretty amazing too actually).
Inspired by a friend, I was trying to make some kind of paper-doll “startup pack” for authors, but they all came with dresses even as I tried to get the robots to give me some male authors. The results are pretty fabulous, so I’m sharing my favorites here.
Cute Author Girl Brand Starter Packs
Bold GenderFluid Author Brand Starter Packs
Why are the faces weird?
With complex images, tons of details and objects, it’s hard to focus on everything all at once… also respinning can make the faces sloppy. But midjourney is actually *great* at detailed, photorealistic faces (it’s scary). Just depends on your prompts and level of detail. If you use prompts like illustrated, or art styles, you might get something a little messy. Kind of like a book cover artist: they’ll do their best job when you let them do their thing without dictating everything specifically. Here are some recent goth girls I made.
Ok the scary stuff… “girl looking at camera in (place), July 1956/76/86/96 (any year!) polaroid photo, detailed face, detailed arms” will give you stuff that looks historical, even ancient stuff. None of these are real photos/people.
Why is the writing weird?
AI makes fake text that kind of looks like real text. Yeah it’s strange, but how would it know what to say? The good news is you could clean up something like this in photoshop (or pay someone to). So you could have your own book, back or front cover, even a first formatted page or something cool. Maybe a list of books you’ve written, favorite things, a checklist, etc.
These author starter packs would look pretty amazing as 3D mockups (with your book surrounded by cool relevant stuff)… some of them you could even through a 3D mockup on top in the middle and call it a day. Others have weird but realistic heads, so you could probably get the robots to replace it with your face, without too much fuss. Or you could get really creative, depending on the genre.
How to make your own author portraits?
I was considering making these for everybody in my new book marketing course, but that would be too time-consuming and it’s tricky to get the details right… but I’ll definitely teach you how to make your own. It’s not that hard, however… remember what I said about midjourney mixing photos? You can grab one you like from these samples, add it along with a picture of you, customize it with some prompts, and you’ll have a decent start.
Definitely fun to play with, and a neat way to do branded author photos for online platforms, without a whole curated photo shoot, with staged items of your favorite things. Midjourney isn’t perfect, but it’s improving so fast you’ll be able to make some great things soon (also, there are dozens of new AI text to image apps that are already being incorporated into your favorite tools, that you use everyday… so you’ll probably have access whether you want it or not).
PS feel free to use these somewhere if you want to, just link back here!
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.