Written by A Guest Author July 22nd, 2020

The Bio as Self-Advertisement

By Michael J. Moore

In a seemingly endless pool of literature, where it can be difficult for even the most talented authors to distinguish themselves, publicity must be sought, and acquired without authors having to pay for it.

You can do this by learning to view your bio (usually a 50-100 word description of yourself in third person) as an advertisement, and crafting it in such a way that demonstrates your worth as a writer, listing your books, degrees, and major accomplishments such as fellowships and awards. Do this in as few words as possible.

Now that you’ve clearly defined your brand, begin posting your ad. There are many sites eager to showcase authors (e.g. Author Central on Amazon or Goodreads), interview them or review their books, and most are willing to publish a bio with links to your work, webpage, and social media platforms.

This free exposure will help to build your following, and cause your name to appear in online search-results. Be confident and personable in your answers, rather than pretentious or overly formal. This gives readers somebody with whom they can relate, and will make them want to know more about you and your brand.

Be willing to write for free once in a while. Some e-zines, literary journals, magazines, and news outlets don’t pay guest writers, but have broad readerships. Most of them are still able to be selective about what they publish because marketing-savvy authors understand the promotional value of having their work widely read.

Learn to view these platforms as opportunities to place ads akin to those for which others pay. Select publications relevant to your brand. This can require hours of combing through long lists online, or in books such as The Writer’s Market, but the resultant advertisement and publishing credits will increase your resume. Submit pieces you believe promote who you are as a writer. If they’re accepted, provide your bio and, if you’re comfortable with it, a picture. Don’t underestimate the value of a good photo.

Reach out to bloggers with significant followings as well. Offer to write guest posts and do it as if you were being paid, as sending a sloppy product into the world will only devalue your brand. Aim to build long-term relationships with bloggers whose themes fit your own, and make semi-regular contributions. Their fans will begin to recognize your name, and even anticipate your posts. They will likely even follow you, and buy your books.

Utilize people who have significant presences on social media. Many people build their own platforms by reviewing books. Often times they are authors as well, and have their own followings. Reach out to Twitter and Instagram reviewers, and if they agree to review your book on their page, ask them to leave one on sites such as Amazon and Goodreads. Acquire as many reader reviews as you can because the more talk about you and your work circulating online, the better. This can be done by offering free PDF copies to your social media followers in exchange for a review. Get them to re-post your request on their sites as well. Offer to do a review exchange. Seize every opportunity to appear on podcasts or YouTube channels, and ask in advance what questions you will be asked so you can show up prepared.

The vast availability of publishing opportunities in the contemporary market doesn’t have to work against authors. Rather, it can easily convert to more opportunities to generate publicity. And when attempting to be noticed in a pool of content as deep as the book industry, publicity is the name of the game.

Bio: Michael J Moore’s books include Highway Twenty, which appeared on the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Award, the bestselling post-apocalyptic novel, After the Change, which is used as curriculum at the University of Washington and the psychological thriller Secret Harbor.  His work has received awards, has appeared in various anthologies, journals, newspapers (including The Huffington Post) and magazines and has been adapted for theatre. Follow him at twitter.com/MichaelJMoore20 or facebook.com/michaeljmoorewriting.


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