Now is a good time to update your biographical profile. January starts a new year and every author needs a short (i.e., 250-500 words) description of themselves in addition to a good head shot.
The Bio is a big part of an author’s brand. Your book is the product, but you are the brand. And to keep your brand fresh and current, it’s time to take a more recent photo and add those successes and adventures you’ve had in the past year to your description of “About the Author.”
You need a bio to accompany your book proposal, but also any press release, as a page on your website (About the Author), on your LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profile. Everywhere you have a social media presence as a professional author, you need to update your status and account.
Maybe you don’t need to change very much, but it is important to review the information you are presenting to the rest of the world who may not yet know who you are. It’s like looking into a full length mirror to see your reflection before you leave for an important meeting. Is your shirt tucked in? Is your cowlick slicked down? Do these shoes match?
While you are updating your profiles, look over the privacy policies, update your account information, change your password, and spend a few moments reviewing your accounts. And while you’re at it, add upcoming events, post reviews and interviews, include new publications, and upload additional photos as you see fit.
Try to be as consistent as possible in your biographical presentation across social media platforms. Select one headshot to use consistently in all your communications. Make the photo your new avatar on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. and publish the image on your own website. Does it need to be a professional photographer who takes your headshot? Not necessarily, although if you’re an amateur with a cellphone camera the answer is YES.
Repeatedly use the same 500 word essay you write in third person about yourself in your profiles on various social media platforms. Twitter, Tumblr, and other platforms require even shorter profiles. So it’s a good time to think of the taglines you plan to use consistently in the coming months.
What is a tagline? Your mission statement in a nutshell. Your attitude and style and personality in a slogan or motto. Something distinctively said in your authentic voice. Branding yourself helps you as a writer pull readers to your writing. Try your taglines and see what gets an audience response in your social media metrics. Use taglines throughout the year to help your brand evolve and grow.
Writing a biographical profile can be a challenge to many authors. It’s awkward to refer to yourself in the third person and brag a bit. For examples, do a search on your favorite authors and the writers whose books compete for your audience. Read their bios; on their websites, on their publisher’s websites, on Wikipedia, on Amazon and elsewhere. Get a feel for the style and tone of an author bio (they come in all sorts and types; with varied effectiveness).
You must include a biographical profile in a book proposal. If you are seeking publication, this is a key document you must prepare because publishers do care about who the author is.
Building an audience platform begins with an author building their brand. Be the kind of author that readers want to get to know better.