LinkedIn is a hugely helpful networking tool, but it might be difficult to figure out how to make this platform work for you as an author. Read on to learn how to maximize your profile and presence on LinkedIn so you can network with the best of them.
Not only does LinkedIn create an opportunity to network, it allows you to tell a story about your journey as an author. It might help to think about your profile like a road map of your career, leading up to the publication of your book. Readers, fans, and other authors may look to your profile to find a narrative about how you got where you are and what stops you took along the way, so it will benefit you to craft a complete story of your journey to publication.
Your “About” Section and Title
Your LinkedIn “About” section, or bio, is one of the first things viewers will see on your page, and is a great way to succinctly show viewers who you are and what you do. In addition to a synopsis of your authorial career, your bio can include a description of your book, its release date, and contact details for publicity or media inquiries. It could also help to mention the genre(s) you write in—your bio is searchable so the more keywords you can use, the better.
The About section is also a great place to highlight upcoming speaking gigs or book events, so try using it in a dynamic way, editing the content often with new events you’ll be involved in or attending.
Remember too that LinkedIn allows you to edit your title—another great spot to market your book.
Having a solid head shot is essential. It is the first impression you make with a reader or journalist seeking an interview. If your LinkedIn profile is primarily intended to market your book, then consider using the head shot from your PRH author page or book jacket on the networking platform.
But even if you don’t use that photo, you’ll want to make sure your head shot is as professional as possible. For more info, check out our Five Tips on Taking a Good Author Photo.
Think About What You’ll Post
In addition to your profile, LinkedIn lets you post text, links, photos, and videos that will show up in your connections’ feeds. This can be a great place to promote upcoming author events or conferences, positive reviews, or speaking engagements. Linking to media makes it easy for you and your network to find good publicity about you and your book, and gives your followers a glimpse into your life as an author.
As is true on most social media platforms, high quality photos alongside your posts will draw attention on LinkedIn. Did someone take a good picture of you speaking at an event or signing books? Did you go to a bookstore and snap a photo of your book on display? Your posts will get higher engagement if you use high quality images or graphics to complement the text.
PRH author Kelly Hoey, author of BUILD YOUR DREAM NETWORK, is an avid LinkedIn user. “Consistency wins the networking game on LinkedIn,” says Hoey. “I have been posting an update regularly (same time, three to five times a week) since before my book came out. My post is the first thing my network sees when they log on to the site. When my book first came out, I used [LinkedIn] to list book launch events (with links to RSVP). It was an easy way to reach a larger potential community of readers.”
Leverage Your Connections
LinkedIn’s main function is to help you network seamlessly, so be sure to use the platform to research and discover connections you’d like to make. Fellow authors, agents, and others in the publishing industry are likely on LinkedIn, and connecting with these people can give you lots of valuable insight. Look to see if you have mutual connections, as it is highly likely someone at PRH can make the warm introduction you are seeking.
As an author, growing your network will make your online presence stronger. Polishing your LinkedIn profile, posting consistently, and making connections are effective ways to extend your reach as an author and promote your book(s) to as many people as possible.
Neda Dallal is Associate, Publishing Development and Author Platforms at Penguin Random House.