Monday, July 30, 2012

Linked In Tips for Authors

Linked In is another over-hyped social medium being recommended for writers. The service may be useful for helping you find a job or a freelance gig, but what if you want to find readers, an agent, or a publisher?

Finding Readers

1) Your Linked In profile includes options for linking to your blog and Web site. Adding these links improves SEO, as Google likes to see inbound links to your site, which can help increase your Web traffic. We all want to please Google, so this is a no-brainer.

Other ways to add links to your profile:
- If you also freelance, you may want to list your freelance business in Link In's company directory.
- Include links to published articles. If you've made PDFs of those articles and posted them on your site, all the better.
- Post useful links to your Web site in Linked In Groups (more on this below and next week)

(Click on image below to enlarge)

SEO Anyone? Create an entry in Linked In's company directory that includes a link to your Web site.

2) Linked In has thousands of groups that act as online trade associations. If you're a non-fiction author selling to a business or professional audience, this is another no-brainer. Posting useful links and tips for group members can drive traffic to your site and position you as an expert in your field. For example, if you wrote a book with tips for writers, you could post sample tips to various groups for writers

If your audience is not a business audience or you are a fiction writer, using Linked In groups is trickier. Joining groups for writers and making bald pitches for your book is boorish, rude, and amateurish. Did I mention that it's boorish, rude, and amateurish?

A better idea is to consider themes and subtopics for your book and find related Linked In groups. For example, my novel is about a never-married hypochondriac who takes a trip around the world looking to change his luck with love. In researching the book, I learned a lot about travel. So, I've joined some travel-related groups and post tips and humorous bits. Are these my readers? Probably not. But travel professionals and travel bloggers know lots of people who travel, who are all potential readers. Also, there is a remote chance that a travel agency or travel conference may want to have a writer speak to their customers at a conference or event. This is a long-shot and may not be worth your time. (I'm trying it, anyway.)

Finding an Agent or Publisher

Linked In can be useful for stalking agents, acquisition editors,  publishers. Can it help you land you a publishing deal? This is a really long-shot. (I'm trying it, anyway.)

Note: Unless an agent specifically says otherwise, making bald pitches to them through Linked In is probably a really bad idea. (See: "boorish, rude, and amateurish" in previous section.)

The Tips:

1) Clean up your profile -- it's your resume, you want to look cool, competent, like someone people want to know, at least online.

2) Join Linked In groups for writers and publishing types. If you are a member of a group, it is easier to add other members as connections. Don't send connection invites to too many people at a time, particularly people you don't know. Wait till you get some people who accept and then invite more.

3) Search through your Linked In network for agents or people who work for in publishing. What other agents are they connected to? What groups do they frequent? Note: If you already have a list of agents you plan on contacting, try to locate them in your network.

4) Once you're connected to agents and publishing types, or at least know which Groups they frequent, start posting useful, interesting links and articles about current events in the publishing industry.

5) Once you're connected to an agent or acquisitions editor on Linked In, now what?

- If you send them a query letter, you may want to mention that you're connected on Linked In.

- Some agents and publishers have been known to check the online presence of authors they're considering. So, if you're been posting interesting updates on your Linked In Home page and in groups for publishing types, someone important may recognize your name.

- Note: If an agent has hundreds of connections, their accepting your invite may mean nothing more than they are trying to boost their own online presence by having lots of connections.

Next week: Using Linked In Groups to Drive Traffic and Attract Attention

Tips for Linked In Newbies

More of My Book Promotions Tips:

- Facebook Fan Pages: Does it Matter When You Post?

- Is Online Book Marketing a Waste of Time? (Often, it is)

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