What are you hoping others will notice about you? Try to convey your credibility, authority on your topic, and how much others already trust you. In my book, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow Your Author Platform (Writer's Digest 2008), I outline what every writer needs to clearly communicate who you are and what you do.
Last month we covered name, identity, and tagline. Here's more copy you need to craft so you can communicate quickly and precisely:
Why do you do what you do? How are you passionate about your topic? How does your passion for your topic set you apart from others? And please, no baloney. If I encounter you online, and I sense baloney, I will steer clear. Be sincere and communicate sincerely why you do what you do in a few sentences. Inquiring minds will appreciate the insight into what makes you tick that your mission provides.
Your e-mail signature
I bet you send out thousands of e-mails a year. Therefore, if you are not including your basic information: Name, identity, tagline, and contact information at the bottom of every e-mail you send, then you are likely missing a huge opportunity to become more known. And did you know that by adding the suffix http:// to your URLs, you create live links for recipients of your e-mails. I can't think of a faster, easier way to quench my curiosity about someone, than by scrolling down to the bottom of an e-mail and clicking on a link I find there.
Your short bio
Ultimately, when you have a book published, you are going to need three bios: long, short, and super-short. But in the interim, why not just work on the short, one-paragraph bio. Here's what to include: your name, your identity, your latest and best publication credits, and any professional credentials you have in your field. For example if you teach, speak, train, coach, consult, or counsel in your area of expertise, it's worth mentioning. If you have a degree in your field or have won any significant awards or accolades, you can mention them but don't digress from using your bio to back up your credibility and authority in your field or on your subject.
Until you have an online presence or book coming out, you can probably get away with having a friend or family member snap a photo of you with a digital camera. But make sure it's a clear, flattering, uncluttered shot from just below the shoulders with plenty of space around the other three sides. Try to avoid the shots where we can tell at a glance that someone else has been cut out of the shot. And then, when it matters, spring for a professional shot. Or trade for one, if you'd rather. But be sure that the quality of the photo is nothing short of professional. Otherwise the traditional media won't touch it.
After you teach or speak or perform any other professional service, collect feedback on how well you did. At the end of your feedback form, ask for quotes that you can use for publicity purposes. If the document is being exchanged electronically, ask for acknowledgment of your right to distribute the quote in all media. And then use it!
Be sure to reserve the URL for your name. And then later, when you have a book coming out, you will likely want to reserve the name of the title. Typically, you'll spend less than twenty bucks to hold onto a URL until you need it. But don't feel like you should go URL crazy and grab every remotely associated name. Just keep it simple for the best results from search engines.
Remember, all of this copywriting really needs to be completed before you create your online presence. Never underestimate how much heavy lifting your words can do for you. Write them, share them, and see for yourself.
Christina Katz is the author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids (both for Writer's Digest Books). A platform development coach and consultant, she teaches