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Friday, January 17, 2014

Authors: Improve Your Biography & Profile To Win People Over


Whether you are an author, editor, publicist, marketer, publisher, packager, literary agent, distributor or whatever, as someone involved in publishing, you’ll need to promote your professional brand through social media and other means.  One thing you will need is to connect your lifetime of work into a short biography and tag line. 

One may think putting your career achievements onto a single sheet of paper in the form of a resume is challenging.  Try writing a hundred-word biography or a tweet-sized tagline that will convince people to do business with you.

Let’s think about what should go in your bio.  The content depends on where it will circulate and how it will be used.  Your profile on Facebook should read differently from the one on LinkedIn, your website or your bookjacket bio.  However, they shouldn’t be radically different because people will check you out across mediums and platforms.  If they stumble upon tweets that use profanity or make racist/politically offensive remarks, you’ll be doomed.  Although sometimes things may be taken out of context, at the end of the day job recruiters don’t want to see copies of your sextings posted on Facebook.

Make a list of things that can be shared with others, and a separate list of things that should not see daylight.  Next, begin to prioritize or give a hierarchy to the things you believe are important.  Write a line to describe each accomplishment, and then look to shorten and re-word each descriptive sentence until it looks polished.

What might help you in this process? 

Try reading the bios of those you admire or share your area of expertise.  Model them – not to match them, but to surpass them.

Ask yourself what the people you want to impress need or would want to know.  What can you share that’s of importance to them?  What can you say that would provoke them or win them over?

Details are not necessary in a bio.  You don’t have to mention things chronologically or list dates.  Your bio is not a government document or a legal brief – it is a short snapshot of who you are, of what’s relevant and what sets a positive shine on you.

You don’t have to share everything.  You are under no obligation to mention negatives or admit failures.  Things that you think are cute may not be to others.  Your views on things are not important for a bio.  Anything you state that might alienate others is not going to be helpful. 

Your bio should have the basics, such as:
·         Your web site
·         Contact information
·         A link to your blog or main social media site (not all of your links)
·         Name of current book
·         Awards won
Keywords relevant to your book or career
·         Where you reside
·         Anything concrete such as a job title
·         A line that summarizes what you do (and how long you have been doing it, if it’s a long time)

·         Things to generally avoid unless relevant to your expertise:
·         Race, faith, sexual preference, political leanings
·         Height/weight or body measurements
·         High school GPA
·         Pet’s name
·         Favorite color
·         Astrological sign
·         Favorite sports team

A lot of this may seem logical and common sense at work, but too often we let our ego and passion cloud our judgment.  Your bio is a tool.  At the very least, rid it of statements that prejudice others against you, make you look stupid, or appear offensive.  Where possible, strengthen it so it becomes a weapon to help draw people to you.  A good bio not only shares who you are but builds you up and gets readers to gravitate your way. 

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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