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WRITE A PROFILE LIKE A WRITER

By H. P. Oliver

(Because my article on using social media as a promotional tool for writers (BECOMING SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE) drew quite a bit of attention, I was persuaded to write this follow-up with a few more suggestion on the subject. ~H. P.)

To be quite frank, many social media writer profiles I see don't read like they were written by writers. The main purpose of a profile is to attract the interest of followers and potential readers. That means your profile needs to engage and fascinate, so write it like the writer you are. Here are a few further thoughts on the subject:

Leave God out of it. He ain't your pimp!

Including religion in your profile is like using whatever faith you follow for promotional purposes. I don't care how freakin' "blessed" you think you are, references to religion in your profile turn off more potential followers than they attract. So, unless you write religious books, your profile is not the place for proselytizing.

You are a happy wife and mother (or husband and father). So what?

Sure, your family is important to you, but at the outset, nobody cares unless your family life is integral to what you write about. So skip the subjects of how many kids you have and how devoted you are to them and move on to something of interest to potential followers and readers.

Be humble (no matter how wonderful you are).

Nothing you can say in 160 characters (including spaces) is going to convince anyone of your wonderfulness, so don't try. Attempting to sound like a big shot writer with phrases like award-wining and best-selling only serve to make you sound full of yourself. Use your profile to stimulate interest in what you write. If you really are wonderful, your followers will discover that for themselves.

Your profile is about you, not him or her.

If my profile said "H. P. Oliver is the award-winning author of SILENTS! blah blah blah," I'd sound like more of a stuffed-shirt than I already do. Write in the first person (I, me and my) and be conversational. Make your profile read more like what you might say to someone you meet for the first time and less like the blurb on the back cover of your book.

Create a persona.

A new social media account is like a blank canvas to an artist. At the start, few people know who you are, so use your profile to create a persona that fits what you write and interests potential followers (readers). I don't mean be phony, I mean introduce yourself in a manner that paints an intriguing image of the clever person who writes your terrific stories.

Creating your profile is just like writing a novel, only shorter.

You are a writer, for crying out loud! Use the same skills and imagination you put into your stories to write your profile. In a very real sense, your profile is a preview of your writing skills. Pen a profile that depicts you as imaginative and intriguing--someone readers find worthy of their attention.

You ARE NOT an author.

I've said this before and I'll keep saying it: Unless you are Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, or some other writer time has proven worthy of the title, you are not an AUTHOR! You are a writer, and calling yourself an author just because you've written and sold a few books makes you sound like a pompous ass. If you are still selling books after you've been dead for a decade, THEN you're an author.

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Okay, let's total up my score. In this article alone I have successfully annoyed the Bible-thumpers, the dedicated family folks, the award-winning prigs who call themselves authors, and probably a few other groups I can't think of right now. Good! As Kingsley Amis so aptly put it, "If you can't annoy somebody, there's little point in writing."