Showing posts with label author platform. Show all posts
Showing posts with label author platform. Show all posts

Friday, August 17

Jane Friedman: How To Build An Awesome Twitter Bio

Jane Friedman: How To Build An Awesome Twitter Bio

It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of Twitter in building my author platform. My Twitter Bio is my public face on Twitter, it's the first thing folks see and also what they use when deciding if I'm the sort the tweeter they want to follow.

Every writer owes it to themselves to make their Twitter bio the absolute best it can be. Enter Jane Friedman and her blog post

Jane breaks the Twitter bio into four components:

1. Photo
2. Name and handle
3. 160 character bio
4. Link

Jane Friedman goes into much more detail, here is the Coles Notes version:

1. Photo
- Clear and closely cropped image of your face
- High contrast

2. Name and handle
Name: Use your real name or a pen name. This is part of your platform so you want people to be able to find you easily.
Handle: You probably won't be able to come close to your real name, don't worry about it. Just pick something easy to remember and type.
Tip: Jane suggests not putting "author" as part of either your name or your handle.

3. 160 character bio
- Inspirational quotes or aphorisms
- Excess marketing
- A description that is so general it could fit anyone.

- Tell people what you do. If you're a writer, tell them that.
- Let people know what you'll be tweeting about.
- Add some personality. People like humor.

Jane writes:
As far as that third item [add some personality], it’s popular for people to mention their hometowns or states, the universities they graduated from, or other things we share in meet-and-greet environments. That little bit of personality is more often than not what starts a conversation on Twitter. For me, it’s bourbon and usually my city of residence. (I do highly advocate listing your location—again, it’s likely to spark more connections.)
 Jane's bio is excellent. Here it is:
I share links on writing, publishing & tech. Web editor for + former publisher of . Bourbon lover & Hoosier native.
Charlottesville, VA, USA ·  

4. Link
Leave a link to your digital home. For most folks this will be a website or perhaps a blog. If you don't have a digital home and you're a writer hoping to sell your work, what are you waiting for? Get one! (This article may help: How To Build A Platform: Why Every Writer Needs A Website.)

To read the rest of Jane Friedman's article click here: Build a Better Author Bio for Twitter.

Jane's article inspired me to revamp my Twitter bio. If you'd like to see it, click here. While you're there say hi, I love hearing from readers. :-)

Other articles you might be interested in:
- 19 Ways To Grow Your Twitter Following
- Twylah: Turn Your Tweets Into A Blog
- Aherk! Makes Writing App 'Write Or Die' Look Tame

Friday, August 12

A Blogging Start-Up Kit

You've never Blogged, Tweeted or Facebooked but now you're ready. What to do?

First, congratulations! This is a big step, it's a lot of work, but if you're a writer, or thinking about becoming a writer, building a platform is expected and essential.


It seems that the most popular blogging platforms are and I chose to use rather than because, while both are free to use, Blogger doesn't make one pay to take down advertisements. I know of people, though, who have a flourishing blog on Wordpress and couldn't be happier with the service.

Google Analytics. This is essential. It shows you, on a month to month basis, how the traffic on your site changes as well as what sort of traffic your site attracts.

You have your blog set up so it's time to get a Twitter account. In my opinion, if a writer had to choose between blogging and tweeting, I'd say tweet. After I tweet a link to one of my blog posts I get a spike of traffic that represents folks visiting my site to read the article.

Twitter drives traffic to my blog and my blog gives me a way to share longer pieces of content with my readers, but if I only had a blog ... well, who would read it? My friends and family, sure, but Twitter gives me a way to reach out to people I don't know. It gives me a way to connect with people looking for the kind of content I provide. Okay, that's my plug for Twitter. :)

Before I move on, here are some links to sites that help you gauge what sort of impact your tweets are having:

- Twitter Counter: While you're there, check out Twittercounter's Twitter Profile Checker and get recommendations on what to do to attract more followers.

- Tells you how many people your tweets have reached.

- Topsy Social Analytics: Tells you how many times your tweets were mentioned.

- Klout Score: Klout will give you a score that is based on your Score Analysis, your Network Influence, your Amplification Probability and your True Reach.

- TweetGrader: Gives you a grade out of 100

- Lots of interesting stats. For instance, looks at your tweets according to number of tweets and time of day

You've got a blog and you're tweeting up a storm, the next step is to take out an account on Facebook. I'm going to admit that I should do more with Facebook so this section is as much for me as it is for anyone.

A little while ago I wrote an article on how to set up a Facebook page. I like fan pages because it removes the uncertainty of whether a writer intends their page for real-life friends only or whether they are inviting anyone who is interested in their work to connect with them.

After you're blogged and tweeted for a bit you'll find yourself looking for new content. I've found the best source of content is other bloggers and news feeds. Below are the sources I've found most useful.

Joe Konrath: A Newbie's Guide to Publishing
Dean Wesley Smith
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Passive Voice Blog @PassiveVoiceBlg

News Sites:
The New Yorker


Google Alerts. Interested in who is talking about you? Your book(s)? To start out with, create an altert containing your name and one for each title you have available.

This post is by no means in-depth. My goal was to give a person new to blogging and tweeting a few useful links, links that I wish I had known about when I started.

Cheers, and good blogging!

Sunday, August 7

The New Author Platform

Lately I have been obsessing over how to build that most mysterious of things: a platform. It, apparently, involves blogging and tweeting regularly. But it feels as though I should be doing something more. But what?

Alan Rinzler writes that:

It’s still about visibility, but today’s approach has changed. The New Author Platform requires a focus on developing an unobstructed back and forth between authors and their readers, with the authors — not the publishers — controlling the flow. Now it’s the author, not a publicist, who inspires readers to buy the book. The New Author Platform allows not only well-established authors, but unknown, first-time beginners to do an end run around the conservative gate-keepers and reach readers directly.

Here are Alan Rinzler's tips:

Successful authors today are designing websites filled with their work-in-progress, writing frequently updated blogs, tweeting, and shooting home-style, brief videos to post on their sites and on YouTube. They’re offering original content in samples and chunks, with invitations for feedback, and taking every opportunity to comment and join forums and other online venues on topics that relate to their own work.

In this way, they’re creating a public face that represents who they are and what they want to say.


Readers like to know and trust an author before buying their book. An artificial, smiley-face false front won’t do the trick. Instead, authors need to extend their literary skills to create a genuine bona-fide online persona that has human quirks, dimension, and nuance. You can be funny, cranky, indignant, nostalgic, didactic.

As long as you’re honest and persuasive, you have a better chance of getting potential readers interested to the point where they make the final commitment and put their money down.


Authors don’t need to be full professors at Harvard to contribute useful comments and information online. Post brief sections from your book, and take social networking seriously by commenting and tweeting to build your reputation and visibility. This is true whether your subject is science and technology, history and biography, food and cooking, parenting and relationships, really any subject in any genre, and whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction writer.

Consider yourself a public service resource in the field you’re writing about. Your reputation and expertise will flourish in proportion to the value of the content you offer.


A cardinal rule of the new author platform is never to actually ask people to buy your book. Rather promulgate your work by making an enduring connection. Establish an authentic online personality, offer valuable information, analysis, opinion, and inspiring entertainment.

These are the elements of the New Author Platform that will ultimately sell your book.

What I found especially useful were the examples at the end of Mr. Rinzler's article where he gives examples of authors who have built sites that exhibit the characteristics he discusses.

Here is a link to the article: The "New Author Platform" -- What you need to knnow

Thanks to The Book Designer for the link.