In the writing game nobody cares if you get up in the morning, dress like a bum, don’t take a shower, don’t comb your hair, or don’t put on make-up if you’re a woman or don’t shave if you’re a man. But when you go out in public to promote your work, it’s a different story.
Just because you can get away with writing your books while wearing the shirt the baby spit up on or the jeans you wore to paint the bedroom it doesn’t mean you can get away with dressing this way in public. If you do the public will quickly shy away from you and this is not good. You want the public to swarm around you begging for an autographed copy of your novel. People will not do this if they are looking your over and wondering if you’re some street person who has stolen someone’s identity.
Dress the part of a professional. This doesn’t mean you have to go shopping and blow your budget on designer suits or fancy clothes. It simply means, make yourself presentable.
If you’re a woman wear a business suit or neat dress and keep your jewelry and your make-up tasteful. Good shoes are a must. If you’re going to be standing a lot don’t wear three inch heels unless you’re accustomed to wearing them daily. If you’re most comfortable in casual clothes, wear pants with a nice sweater or blouse. Use simple jewelry as accents – earrings maybe.
If you’re a man, a suit and tie are always good, but so is a nice pair of slacks and a casual shirt. Be sure your shoes aren’t scuffed and you need to make sure they’re comfortable, too. And yes, jeans are fine as long as they’re clean and neat.
No matter what your sex, be clean. Brush and floss your teeth. Use breath mints. Make sure your hands and nails are clean. A woman should never wear chipped nail polish and men shouldn’t look as if they’ve just changed the oil in their car.
Most important, always wear a smile. Sometimes it isn’t easy when someone rattles on and on to you about how they’d write a book if they just had the time, but you can do it. They probably won’t remember and tell their friends about your smile, but they certainly will remember if you’re scowling and rush them away.
(Taken from my book Writer to Writer)