Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Me You DO See

A mile-long 'to do' list comes with publishing your first book. If you think writing and editing the manuscript is the worst of your worries, think again. Accounts have to be opened, a website has to be built, a bio has to be written, and your book blurb must be polished to perfectionit's overwhelming.

I thought I'd list a few resources that have helped me along the way.
Maybe some of you will find these useful, too.

Author Bio

This is the little paragraph people paste next to your head shot when posting an interview with you or some other kind of promotion, such as a cover reveal or book release announcement. It's also seen on retailer author pages and sometimes in or on books.

I learned there are many angles one can take when writing a bio. You should consider your personality, your product (genre), your brand, and your audience, then write something that fits. This blog post is a great source of ideas.

Press Page
You should seriously consider creating a 'press' or 'media' page on your website or blog, so people can find information easily when helping you promote.
(A disembodied voice whispers, "Make it easy, and they will help...")

Here are some examples:  
Crystal Collier's 
Carrie Butler's 
Mine

A press page doesn't have to be fancy, just organized.

I should probably pause to note: When writing this post, I had to peruse quite a few of your blogs & websites to find examples. Most authors barely had a usable bio & head shot (meaning their 'about me' pages were fine for visitors, but inappropriate and / or too long for promos), and their links, cover images, and book blurbs were often listed on separate pages, spread all over the place. I even found one press page that was password protected. Not sure why.

How many clicks would it take for a promoter to gather all your info?

:)
The folks over 40 will get that.

Here's an article on press packs to help you organize your stuff and decide what to include.

Book Blurbs
The back cover blurb (a.k.a. story description) is arguably the most important piece of text we'll ever write, with the exception of the actual book. (As if we need any more pressure - gah!) In fact, some say it's more important. If the cover and story description don't grab the reader's attention, they won't bother venturing any further.

These two articles helped me write my blurb:
Gotcha Blurbs: Easy and Fun to Write
How to Write Back Blurb for Your Book

Another thing that helped was pulling a couple of paperbacks off my shelfones that had good blurbs. I didn't copy them, of course, but I read them and paid attention to how they were written and arranged. I took those concepts and applied them to my story, then came up with something unique to me.

This has been a mile-long post about (a portion of) my mile-long list, but I hope you found something useful. Thanks for visiting. :)


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23 comments:

  1. Sorry, my books are spread onto separate pages at my site. If I put all of that on one page, it would scare people though. My bio is short though.

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    1. LOL- True. I decided to put a link to my book page on my press page rather than list all the book info there.

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  2. Maybe mile long, but VERY useful, practical info. I'm bookmarking this post! Thanks, Melissa!

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    1. Thanks.

      Ha! You should have seen it before I edited some stuff out. LOL

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  3. Melissa, this is so helpful. Thank you.
    There's sooooo much to do.
    Oh. My. Word.
    Where to start???

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    1. You're welcome.
      It doesn't really matter, just so you start. ;)

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  4. Thanks for the info, Melissa. I'm not quite ready to use them yet, but I've bookmarked this post for later.

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  5. I need to do this. I've got the author bio, but that's about it. No press page. No good single book page. *sigh*

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    1. *shrugs* Just get it done before you start to promo the next one. ;)

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  6. This is great info and I'm very impressed by what I see! I'm curious though, at what point in the publication process is it time to start putting this stuff together? Should I consider creating a serious author bio, even though I'm a long way from publication? (It seems presumptuous, somehow, for me to think of myself as a real author without a book to show for myself. ;) )

    Either way, I'm tucking this post away for future reference. :)

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    1. Well, some things will have to wait until close to publication, but I think a head shot, bio and beginning press pack (once you have some links) would be a good place to start. You can always tweak it later, but at least you'd have something to work with. You don't have to be published to make guest appearances on blogs.

      My problem was that, once I decided to publish, the window was so short, I was scrambling to get it all done in time. I almost didn't make some of the deadlines. (You'd be surprised how much of a time-suck the marketing is - esp. if you go indie.)

      One thing that was stress-inducing was building the website. Weebly made it easy, but I had to do it so hastily, it looked really bad at first. The info can be plugged in later, but don't leave the overall design to be chosen when you're ready to go public. Do it early and let it sit. Give yourself time to try some different looks and play around.

      The last few months pre-pub is a stressful time. The more one can do ahead, the better.

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  7. Ugh, book blurbs. Do I hafta write them? (imagine this in the whiniest voice you can).

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  8. Ah, lots of good things to keep in mind here, thank you. Is it weird that the author photo is what worries me most? O_o I hate being photographed unless I'm in costume. Grr. Arg.

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    1. I hate having my picture took, too, Mason. :)

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  9. Great post, Melissa! I'm bookmarking it along with all the other smart people before me! :D

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  10. So much great information here! Thanks. :)

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  11. I like your press page--very nice!

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  12. Very well done. And appreciate you sharing for those of us not there yet!

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    1. Thank you, Ladies! I appreciate the kind words. :)

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