The 3 Online Profiles Every Author Must Have (and They’re Not Facebook or Twitter)

More Important Than Your Profiles

Writing well is the most important thing. You have to write good books.

Where you publicize and promote those words won’t matter if your books can’t stand on their own. If you have nothing yours to say, and to say well, then work on your craft and your experiences first.

But once your book is strong, and you’ve built your author website and blog (No, seriously, we’re not having that conversation. You have an author website and blog.), then you need to amplify your platform in order to give your books a wider reach.

You can have facebook and twitter and pinterest profiles if you like the social interaction there, but those aren’t the profiles you must have. Your three must-haves are below.

Your Google+ Profile Gives Authority

And that authority is not only in search results, but over time will be the backbone of so much more.

Google+ Is The Only Platform That Verifies Your Authorship

When you author an article in your blog or post content on your site, only Google knows that you authored the piece. It does this by verifying your identity through your Google+ profile, then associating that profile with the published article. Google calls this association “authorship”—and you need it.

That association is the wizardry that allows your name and image to show in Google search results, like the following:

Social Media for Authors - Glenn Miller

This internet verification uses the rel=”author” tag in your post’s html, and it all hinges on having your Google+ profile.

Google Plays the Long Game

Count on Google to be here for years; the company plays the long game. Google+ is the social glue that the company uses to marry its multiple venues, some of which don’t even strike us as google properties: YouTube, AdWords, Zagat, Picasa, Gmail, Maps, and dozens more. Google is already on your desktop and mobile devices, is coming soon to your home, with its recent purchase of Nest, and will be in your self-driving car as well.

Google plans very far ahead, and part of its plan includes giving you credit for your work. Which starts with your Google+ profile. Which you need.

Your Goodreads Profile Finds Community

Here’s the bad news: The planet has 7 billion people who don’t care about your book.7 Billion People Hate Your Book

Your Readers Are Here

The good news: You don’t need those haters. Among the 16 million users on Goodreads are the readers who will adore your book instead. Here is your targeted audience of book lovers, people who:

  • Share what they like
  • Come here for recommendations
  • Build their “to read” book lists
  • Announce to their friends when they find an author they want the world to know about

The few hundred or few thousand readers you need to champion your book and to amplify its exposure are on Goodreads, and you need to be there too.

Goodreads Publishes Your Blog Posts

You know those blog posts you spent hours crafting, the ones you want the world to see, but which never get the broad audience they deserve? Goodreads will publish those for you, as part of your author profile. Even better, every reader who is a fan of yours will get your blog posts as part of their Goodreads news feed.

Goodreads Is on a Fast-Track for Better Usability

There is more at Goodreads. In fact, there’s so much more that it’s a challenge for many authors to know how best to navigate the site: whether to start giveaways (yes, often) or join groups (sparingly) or lead online Q&A discussions (eventually) or even advertise (very cautiously).

Goodreads’ usability is sub-par. But it won’t be for long, since Goodreads was recently acquired by the world’s very best usability experts, who even now will be engineering a high-tech makeover.

Speaking of Amazon …

Your Amazon Author Profile Enhances Visibility

Whether you are an independent author or Neil Gaiman, if you have at least one book on Amazon then you get an Amazon author page, a place where seeing your sales numbers and author rank aren’t even the most valuable aspects of the property.

The world’s biggest online merchant has given you shelf space to describe yourself, list your books, and re-broadcast your blog and twitter feeds.

For free.

At Amazon.

Just go.

Your mileage may vary–but if it does, I want to hear about it. Which social site is more critical for you than these 3 online profiles?


9 Comments

  1. Laura DiSilverio

    Hugely useful information, Glenn. Interesting how we all get so FB-focused and don’t keep up with profiles that will give us more bang for our buck (or our time).

    • Thanks, Laura. There are so many ways an author can spend time, one has to make choices. These are profiles that can provide ongoing benefit without an overwhelming continuing investment in effort.

  2. Hey Glenn,

    Thanks for this information. FB has been my main focus (w/o showing much return) simply because I can use it. GoodReads has been difficult and I don’t have a presence there that has made any difference. I will get onto Google plus as I have no presence there at all. On Amazon I am punching up as many reviews as possible. Its good to know where to expend more time and effort.

    • Peter, you are not alone! Facebook is designed to be usable and social–so use it for that: to engage authentically in a very personable way. Don’t think of it as a platform for sales, and then you won’t be concerned that it doesn’t show you much return.

      Reviews matter. So your Amazon efforts to garner reviews are worthwhile.

      I applaud your intention to set up your Google Plus profile; a small effort there will pay off over time. But the most important thing you can do is write your next book. Write a companion to The Fight for Immortality. And then write the next one. And the next.

  3. maryam k mamou

    All new advice to me, but sounds interesting. Will put it on my to-do list!

  4. Thanks for this information. I’m covered except for my WordPress blog. Now I know to link it to my Google+ account.

  5. Richard Burke

    I just discovered your blog through the ACFW loop. The information is very timely and useful to me.

  6. This information is so self-esteem helpful! I was starting to get a complex about my unpopularity because my FB likes and Twitter Fans were not becoming clients and acknowledging or purchasing my books.

    • You’re not alone, Vanessa! We’ve all been there. Continue to engage authentically on facebook and twitter: be social there, don’t sell. Eventually sales may come, but even if they don’t you may still make unexpected friends.

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