PUBLISHED JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019
by Bruce Brown, Author-Publisher —
Find out how your online presence can further your publishing career
About a year and a half ago, I had 20 LinkedIn connections. As I write this sentence, I now have over 4,600 connections, and they grow without any work on my part to the tune of about six to 12 new connections each day.
You may be asking: who cares? Or, what the heck is LinkedIn? LinkedIn is the No. 1 business social media network in the world. It offers a free and premium service that can help you achieve more success in almost any arena. It has over 460 million profile users worldwide, and a large majority of them are located in the US. Even more to the point, there could easily be a million of those members who are publishing professionals, writers, book authors, and budding book authors (as well as established authors such as Oprah, Rachel Hollis, and Robert Masello, to name a few). Oh, and being on LinkedIn has made me thousands of dollars and introduced me to some amazing people, while also helping me to help more people achieve their publishing dreams. You could have even more success than me if you use LinkedIn correctly.
So, how can you use LinkedIn to further your career as an author, book publisher, editor, or in other publishing-related areas? Here are some tips:
- One of the first things you want to do when setting up a LinkedIn account is have a professional, or at least a very interesting, profile picture.
- For profile creation ideas, do a search for the profile genre you want to be in—whether you desire to promote yourself as a freelance proofreader, writer, editor, or publisher. Do a search for folks like you and see what types of pictures and profiles they have.
- When creating your profile, think “keywords.” These are the words that will not only pop up when people do a search on LinkedIn but also give you a more active online search presence. If you are a writing coach, make sure you put those words in your profile. If you are a publisher looking for historical romance novels, note that. The more services you render or whatever you want to promote, list them all—including your published books and how to buy them. And, yes, if you are looking for a literary agent, say so. But keep your text all positive and interesting. There are no excuses for a bad, boring profile if you claim to be a writer.
- To gain more exposure on LinkedIn, write an article or have it ghostwritten for you on a topic that will showcase you and/or your talents.
- Join LinkedIn groups for those already involved or curious about publishing. Check out some group suggestions at the bottom of this article.
- LinkedIn is a great place for publishing professionals or those who want to break into publishing to get work or a job. You can find editors at major publishing houses, job recruiters, book printers, and established publishing professionals of virtually every stripe. If you are looking for work, create a profile that reflects that. Include a quality resume, and a link to a resume website (wix.com lets you create one for free). Make sure you have the needed keywords such as: looking for a position in book distribution.
- Reaching out to connect with people you want to find is fairly simple with LinkedIn. If you’re looking for an agent, for example, you can use the search feature in the upper left of a regular LinkedIn page and type in the phrase “literary agents-fiction,” and you will be rewarded with a list of names. You can narrow down your search using search filters at the top of the page—for example, location, how many levels their connection to you is (e.g., second, third). Sometimes they will have criteria in their profiles, and sometimes it will give you enough information to find their website that should give you more info. When you first want to connect with anyone, you’ll use the “connect” button or message button on the individual’s profile. It’s key to add a note to the message—perhaps a clever question such as: “Hi, Jane. You are an established literary agent. I have a book proposal for my commercial contemporary romantic novel and would love to have you represent me. Let’s connect. By the way, what is your favorite book that you have read this year? Sincerely, Mary”
I’ve merely scratched the surface of how LinkedIn can be of great benefit to any publishing professional or anyone wanting to break into the publishing field. But my main purpose of this piece is to get you excited about this amazing tool. It is completely underutilized by most book publishing professionals, writers, and others operating in this world or those who want to enter it. Look into LinkedIn yourself and try sending out 10-30 connection requests a day to people in your area(s) of interest. In very little time, you will be surprised at the helpful people you are meeting and the connections you are making to help in your book publishing or other goals. But most important of all, make this process fun. Good luck.
LinkedIn Groups for Publishers
Book Writing, Self-Publishing, and Marketing for Business People. If you are a freelance content creator, blog post writer, self-publishing consultant, or in another related field (or want to be), this group of over 16,000 members may be of interest to you.
Book Publishing Professionals. With over 60,000 members, you will find just about any kind of person and profile you can imagine pertaining to book publishing.
Book Illustration. With over 20,000 members, this is a great place to start for authors wanting to self-publish, publishers looking for skilled artists, freelance illustrators, or book designers, etc. It’s also a place where people are looking for work.
Bookcareers.com Over 5,000 members makes this another great place for anyone looking for freelance work or a career opportunity.
Bruce Brown is an IBPA member and has four published books. He has both self-published (one selling over 85,000 copies by mail) and been published by Doubleday in New York. Visit his LinkedIn profile here. For a limited time, he is offering readers of this article a free phone consultation. His three free reports to help writers write, get publicized, and market their book can be found at yourpublishedbook.com.