A LinkedIn Primer to Help Indie Authors Build Their Platform

Most of us are familiar with how Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, building the website that quickly spread among universities and eventually became the worldwide platform we know today. But what do you know about LinkedIn? I was surprised to learn that it was launched two years before Facebook and began… [Read More]

LinkedIn primer for indie authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

Most of us are familiar with how Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook from his Harvard dorm room, building the website that quickly spread among universities and eventually became the worldwide platform we know today. But what do you know about LinkedIn? I was surprised to learn that it was launched two years before Facebook and began taking sign-ups in 2003. By 2008, it was a global company, opening its first international office (in London) and starting French and Spanish versions of its platform.

Presently, it has 467 million users and is available in twenty-three languages. Those numbers are nowhere near Facebook’s 1.94 billion monthly active users, but we can’t really compare the two networks.LinkedIn primer for indie authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

On LinkedIn, you can post your keyword-rich resume, find freelance writing gigs, and search for editors, publishers, agents, illustrators, graphic designers, and marketing professionals.

LinkedIn is also a nice break from the chatter on Facebook. You won’t find pictures on LinkedIn of babies, declarations of love, or images of gluten-free meals. This is the place to connect with other writers interested in publishing and promoting their books. So, learn from them, share information, and do what LinkedIn is designed to accomplish: help you to connect professionally with other users who share your passion for writing, want to improve their craft and see their books succeed.

Professionals consider LinkedIn the most valuable social media channel on the Internet, and it consistently ranks in the top 10 most-used social media networks. Nonfiction writers shouldn’t neglect this platform while fiction authors might want to use it for its groups.

Link Up with LinkedIn for Writers

To sign up for LinkedIn, simply navigate to www.linkedin.com and sign up. Select a password that contains numbers, letters, and symbols to make it as secure as possible.

Upload a photo of yourself that conveys a professional image. Don’t use the cover of one of your books or image of your dog or cat.

Now, spend time on the top panel. This portion of your profile needs to contain the information you want others to know about you and your book. Use keywords here—words that a potential reader would type into a search engine such as Google to find you and your book.

The Headline

The first line that appears in large text beneath your photo is critical. In this space, establish the reason you are on LinkedIn, and use keywords in your description. Select your words judiciously because LinkedIn limits you to 120 characters.LinkedIn primer for indie authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

If you are uncertain about how to present yourself, peruse LinkedIn and read other users’ profiles, especially those of other writers. Decide what your salient trait is and how it distinguishes you from other writers in the world. Then write your headline and draw attention to whatever it is that makes you unique in your field.

When you determine what your most important keywords are, repeat them. Use them in your headline and below, too, in your summary and specialties, and in the information listing your background. LinkedIn gives you ample space to insert your keywords throughout your profile.

For the cover image, the recommended dimensions are 1536 (w) x 768 (h) pixels.

Contact Information

Visitors can click on your contact information in the right-hand column. I’ve selected the following links to appear: my website URL, a link to my books page, an additional link (I use the sign-up link to my free email course), email address, and my Twitter handle. I recommend that you don’t add your phone number or birthdate.

To customize your links, follow these steps.

    Click the pencil icon to the right of Contact and Personal Info.

    Fill out the digital form. To replace the default company website wording, select Other as in the example below.LinkedIn primer for indie authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

Optimize Your Summary

Use the summary to succinctly explain to people why they need your books. The summary should explain who you are, what you do, and the benefits LinkedIn users would gain by reading your books.

If you wrote a cookbook, explain how the book will save them time, teach them to cook like a professional chef or show them how to make sensational Snickerdoodles.

LinkedIn primer for indie authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.comIf you write for the Young Adult(YA) demographic, explain why high schools should include your book in their English classes. Suppose you wrote a grammar book. Inform junior high English teachers and school administrators about the benefits of your lesson book.

If, in addition to writing, you teach memoir workshops, include the benefits of attending your sessions. As much as you can, enrich this section with keywords and use bullets to market your book as best you can. You can add links to your summary and even upload a free eBook, white paper, or tips sheet and links to your favorite landing pages.

Recommendations

Demonstrate to your contacts that people enjoy reading your books or working with you by using the Recommendations feature. Users’ eyes always gravitate to this information. LinkedIn has certain parameters about how you can incorporate a recommendation into your profile. You need to request the testimonial through LinkedIn, and once it arrives, you can’t alter it, not even to correct a typo.

Request a recommendation by following these directions, which are from LinkedIn:

1.  Navigate to the member’s profile page.

2.  Click the "⋅⋅⋅" icon in the top section of the profile, to the right of the picture.

3.  Select Request a Recommendation.

4.  Fill out the Relationship and Position at the time fields of the recommendations pop-up window, and click Next.

5.  You can change the text in the message field and then click Send.

Once you receive recommendations, the complete text of the testimonials will appear further down on your profile. Testimonials are important because they will give you credibility and provide further insight on your writing or teaching abilities.

Become a Joiner

Groups are perhaps the most important feature on LinkedIn. They enable you to become a thought leader and meet new contacts with whom you can connect on other platforms. Sharing experiences and learning from the experiences of other writers is what makes the Group feature so popular.

A word of caution: Never try to promote your books or your services in Groups. Instead, talk about your publishing experiences, recommend book cover designers, offer your best marketing tips, and share information you’ve gleaned from your own self-publishing experience. To find a group, click the search bar, then select Groups from the drop-down menu. Use keywords in the new search bar to find the perfect group for you.

LinkedIn primer for indie authors by Frances Caballo for BookWorks.com

Before I end this post, I want to remind you to include the Publications feature (find it in the Add new profile section drop-down menu) so that you can add every book and novella you wrote and every short story collection you’ve ever contributed to. The Publications feature allows you to include the title, publication date, and description.

Finally, don’t forget to update your LinkedIn profile every six months.


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