Why (and How) Authors Should Build LinkedIn Profiles

I know. You’re probably cringing. Because after all this advice that you’ve been getting about blogging and building presences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, GoodReads, etc… the last thing you probably want to hear is about why you should dedicate a little time to LinkedIn. But that’s what I’m about to tell you.

Now, LinkedIn isn’t necessarily for each and every author. But if you fit into one of the following categories, you should seriously consider it:

1. You’re a nonfiction author. Yea, that’s about half of you. If you’ve written a nonfiction book, then you’re an “expert” in that field. So it’s important that you build a LinkedIn presence that establishes you in that genre. Because when the media is looking for someone to interview on the subject, LinkedIn may be one of the first places they go.

2. You’re looking for a book deal. Okay, that’s a lot of you, too. Unless you’ve self-published your book and are dedicated to doing the same going forward, you’re probably open to inquiries from agents and publishers. In that case, creating a professional author presence on LinkedIn will help you get noticed by those in the publishing field.

3. You want to build connections. Well, who doesn’t? The truth is that there are tons of other authors (or people in the field that you write about) who may be very good people for you to know professionally. LinkedIn is all about these professional connections … and those are hard to make without a professional profile.

Okay, so are you convinced? Now that you know you should create your profile, here’s some advice on exactly what (and what not) to do, courtesy of Social Media Today

  1. Make sure that your profile is “complete.” This means adding (at least) your industry, location, special skills, education, a summary, and two past positions.
  2. Make sure that your headshot is a good one! Don’t just crop a picture out of a recent family photo. Make it friendly, appealing, close range (filling the frame), and professional.
  3. Add “Author” and the name of your book to your work experience. Be sure to include a description of the book, and a link to purchase in the work history.  …  Also be sure to upload your book cover image and if you have a book trailer, add that as well. You can even offer a sample chapter here as well.
  4. Create a vanity URL. People won’t remember the system-generated URL, but they may remember your name.
  5. Connect your author website and/or Amazon page to your profile. LinkedIn lets you connect three other URLs to your profile. If you have an author website, always use that one. Other choices include your Facebook page, your author page on Amazon, or a glowing book review.
  6. Write your background summary in a conversational style. I use first person. Making your summary conversational demonstrates that you’re accessible and easy to communicate with.
  7. Think keywords! Make sure that the summary includes keywords related to your topic of expertise. Keywords for LinkedIn profiles can be sprinkled throughout the profile (in the headline, job descriptions, summary, etc.), and should be done without naturally.
  8. Add your book titles to the Publications section, as well as any guest posts you’ve written. Consider this an opportunity to showcase your work beyond what they can find on your website.

And I would like to add another tip to this list. Join author groups on LinkedIn and chat with your fellow authors about what they’re doing, what’s working, and what they feel is a waste of time. I belong to about five such groups and I find the advice extremely useful. Heck, I get most of the ideas for blog posts from those conversations.

In short, take a few minutes and set up your LinkedIn profile. It’s a lot less time consuming than Facebook, and may be a whole lot more helpful.