Every indie author knows – These days, writers have to be social. Hiding behind a desk and writing does not work any longer. Authors need to connect with their fans, their readers and their potential readers.
Today’s bookworms want to know the “author-mensch.” Out and over are the days when a few square inches on a dust-jacket offered a carefully crafted biography that focused on what schools a writer attended and what awards he/ she won.
Today it’s all about the “real” persona. What hobbies do their favorite authors have? How do they come up with their stories? Are they married? Do they have children? Pets? Have they experienced triumphs and tragedies?
Obviously, all social media platforms offer space for biographies, pictures, links to videos and blogs, as well as the opportunity to communicate.
However, this abundance of options also creates problems, because in contrast to the short biographies on dust jackets, real “author-mensch” stories evolve. To present themselves well, authors need to constantly update all their profiles, which can be time consuming.
Logistically seen, the main problem is that whenever a noteworthy event happens, authors are supposed to do too many things at once. For instance, an author who just won a major book award needs to try to schedule book signings, seek media coverage, write a meaningful blog, network on twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms, and – also update all profiles. Obviously, that’s a huge task list.
It appears to me that the most logical way to solve this issue is to first update the personal website and the author profile on Amazon, because these are the two profiles potential buyers see first. All other updates can wait a bit in favor of handling the rest of the agenda.
Sadly, I often notice that authors don’t use the author profile feature on Amazon to its full potential; in fact, some authors don’t create profiles at all. Though it may not be necessary that an American author whose books aren’t published in French creates a profile on Amazon.fr, Amazon’s French ecommerce store, surely it will help sales if the author creates a profile on Amazon.co.uk, the British store.
Since I was born in Austria and speak German as well, I also created a profile on Amazon.de, in the native language. However, my three profiles are different.
My profile on Amazon.com offers my biography, pictures, and a link to my American blog.
My profile on Amazon.co.uk does not offer a link to my blog but instead shows pictures from my first trip to the UK in 1980. I want British readers to know that I have visited their beautiful home country five times, and that I enjoyed my stays in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Lastly, my profile on Amazon.de offers pictures from the days when I lived in Austria, including one that shows me on the set of the “Austria-bus”-commercial, when I worked as a director’s assistant in 1983. Notice the two red-white-red flags on the bus. Whereas the special meaning of this picture would be lost on my US profile, Austrian and German visitors would appreciate the familiar view.
Although all three profiles tell the same story, each one focuses on my connection with the people from that country.
Even though your life story is probably different, there are many things you can do to tailor your author profile.
Maybe you are an American historical fiction writer, who visited Scotland or Wales to do onsite research for your novel? Surely, British readers would love to see pictures from your adventures.
Maybe you are a Sci-Fi writer who attended one of the many conventions in a costume? Most certainly, fans want to know.
If you write cookbooks, your profile should include at least one picture that shows you as the ruler of your kitchen or the backyard grill.
Don’t hesitate to post pictures that may be faded or look a bit amateurish. In the days of photo shopping, these authentic pictures prove that they show the “real you.”
Most importantly –Have fun creating your profile. Potential readers will “feel” it. Lastly, don’t forget to update as soon as you have great news to share.
Follow Gisela Hausmann on Twitter: @Naked_Determina