Remembering to update your bios and links

Open bookWhen you first become published, you write your author bio, which touts your first book. Then you write a second book and maybe even a third or fourth. You might start a website or a blog. You publish a short story or are included in an anthology. And there – on Amazon, on Goodreads, on your Facebook or Twitter page – is the same old author bio that you first jotted down.

I have written before about how to write an author bio but of course didn’t address updating it. When you first start out, you probably proudly listed the title of your book or later maybe the name of the series you are working on. But once you get a number of novels written, it probably is easier to list the genre you write verses every book to your credit.

Example:

(first novel) Summoned: Book 1 of The Elemental is Susan’s debut novel. The sequel, Quietus, will be released this Fall.

(second novel) Summoned and Quietus, the first two books of The Elemental trilogy, are available wherever e-books are sold. The third and final installment in the series will be released early 2012.

(multiple books) Susan writes fantasy novels and short stories.

However, it simply isn’t a listing of your books. You need to update any links. Once you get multiple books, you may want to link to your author page on Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords instead of to just one book. Linking to your author page will allow readers to see all of your books.

If you have built a website or started a blog, you might need to update or add these links to your bio. Or you might have created a book trailer that you want to have placed on your author page.

The key is to remember to check each of the places you have your bio listed. And as you start submitting your information to more sites that list can be long. Here are a few places you should check to make sure the information is up-to-date.

Amazon author page

Goodreads author page

Facebook page

Twitter

Your website or blog’s “About Me” and “My Books” pages

Any author pages on writer’s websites such as Independent Author’s Network, Librarything.com, and genre specific sites

Perfecting your tweets

twitter feedCommunicating in just 140 characters is not always easy. And getting your message read on a feed full of other people’s tweets is even harder. But there are a few things to do to make your tweets one of the ones that does get read or better yet results such as retweets or people clicking on your links.

Tips

1.) Before you send out a tweet, re-read it. Check the spelling and syntax. Is it easy to read? You have a space of 140 characters to show sloppiness or quality. Make sure your tweets are the best they can be. Think of them as newspaper headlines.

2.) Make the tweet complete. Unless you are tweeting back and forth with someone, readers should be able to read just the current tweet to understand it.

3.) If providing a link (which should be shortened by a service such as btly), be sure to give a reason to click the link. “Must read tips…” or “10 steps to better writing….” Your best bet is to take some valuable piece of information from your post and include it in the tweet. This gives the reader valuable info and entices them to read more.

4.) Limit the number of hastags. Even though these are designed to help you reach others with the same interests, using more than two or three makes it look like spam.

5.) Put the most important information at the beginning as you don’t know how the other person is reading it. For example, if they are using Twitterberry, they only see the first 32 characters.

6.) Make it easier for people to retweet you. That means you can’t use all 140 characters. You need to leave room for “RT @[name]”. Basically, plan for about 120 characters for your message (including hashtags) and 20 characters for retweeting purposes.

7.) Use action verbs.

8.) Use the word “you” in your tweet. Statistically, this gives you a better chance of being retweeted.

There is nothing wrong with using Twitter to promote your book or blog as long as that is not all you do. You need to retweet other’s messages and respond to others. But if you are using it to promote your work, make sure your tweets are the best they can be.

Using Amazon Permalinks and setting up your Facebook page username

Every Friday I host different authors. I always ask them to provide me with links to their website, blog, Facebook and of course, the buy links to their books. Often the links they send are really long. Here is a way to shorten your Amazon links and make your Facebook link cleaner.

Amazon

If you are sending the link to your author site or your book on Amazon, you should be sending the permalink (Amazon’s shortcut to your page). When you go to your book page on Amazon, DO NOT copy what you see as the web address in the field at the top of your browser. In my case, when I go to the page for Summoned, I see – http://www.amazon.com/Summoned-The-Elemental-ebook/dp/B005HB1IMG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1365473550&sr=8-1&keywords=susan+leigh+noble

Instead of using this, click the share button on the right side of the page under Try it Free section. This will bring up a screen for you to email someone about this product. Listed here is the permalink. For Summoned, it is http://amzn.com/B005HB1IMG0. This takes Amazon’s own shortcut (Amzn.com) and adds your books AISN number. Now technically you could just type that yourself, but I like the cut and paste method, so I don’t accidentally transpose any numbers or letters.

permalink

You can do the same thing on your Amazon author page.

Now I don’t see any easy way to shorten your link on Barnes and Noble, the Kobo Store or iTunes. Smashwords already brings up a pretty short link.

If you really want to shorten these links, you could make a custom link on bitly.com. Once you enter the link into the “Paste a link here…” section, it will bring up a shortened link. You can click on it and change the random letters that come up to whatever you want as long as no one else is using that combination.

Facebook

If you have a Facebook page, make sure you have given it a username rather than the web address listed in the browser. This will shorten your link to http://www.facebook.com/SusanLeighNoble versus http://www.facebook.com/emmameadewrites?ref=hl (2nd one is not mine of course, but I had to look up a former featured author who hadn’t already fixed theirs.) This doesn’t necessarily shorten the link but does look more professional.

There are going to be many times as an author that you need to provide this information to different people so take the time to make your links look more professional.