Stephen Kozeniewski thought he was joking when he said:My takeaway from this post is that I should e-mail Janet personally when my next book comes out.
And sure enough Stephen has a book coming out, and was smart enough to tell me about it. I swam over to Amazon to check it out.
Now, dystopian fiction isn't really what I read for fun, but the premise sounded interesting.
And then I saw Stephen's author bio:
About the AuthorStephen Kozeniewski (pronounced "causin' ooze key") lives with his wife and two cats in Pennsylvania, the birthplace of the modern zombie. During his time as a Field Artillery officer, he served for three years in Oklahoma and one in Iraq, where due to what he assumes was a clerical error, he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is also a classically trained linguist, which sounds much more impressive than saying his bachelor's degree is in German.
I thought this was hilarious. And very nicely written.
A well-written author bio gave me confidence there would be a well-written book. I clicked "buy" and got a copy.
What this means for you: Your author bio is part of your promotion plan. It's not something to just dash off at the last minute.
EVERYTHING--snout to tail-- counts for promotion. You want an author bio that's charming (like Stephen's) because it could be the difference between someone buying a book they're not sure they'll like when the author sound like a nice, funny guy.
Once I started reading I knew I'd made the right choice. This line in particular:
"You're pretty needy for a corpse," Toomey said.
I don't want you to obsess about this to the point where it stymies your writing, but if you devote a couple of minutes a day to things like your author bio, and your 25 word answer to "what is your book about?" and you think about getting a good author photo before you have 24 hours to provide one, well, you'll be happier and your promotion will be more effective.
Promotion is a VERY long game. You want to have as much prepared as possible.
1. Your mailing list. (Don't have one? START ONE)
2. Cleaning your mailing list. By cleaning I mean you look at it and remove duplicates. You weed out non-working emails. You make sure the right people are on it. And the right people are OFF it. I NEVER buy books from people who send "hey y'all" emails. As you can see, I DO buy books when it says "Dear Janet."
3. Prepping your email list platform. Do you use a mailing list platform like MailChimp? You should. Sign up and figure out how it works NOW.
4. Cleaning up your website. Does it have contact info? Does it have broken links? Does it have info on your published books?
5. Does the contact page on your website list your twitter handle and Facebook page if you have them? Does it list your agent?
6. Googled your name lately? What pops up first? I hope it's not someone else. If it IS you might think of adding an initial or a middle name to your author name (Loretta Sue Ross, Stephanie Jaye Evans) or taking a new name entirely (every Stephen King who wants to be a writer who isn't THAT Stephen King.) You can't do that if your name is already printed on the book!
One of the best ways to think about this is to look at OTHER author's website to see what they do and if it works or not.
Promotion doesn't go from zero to sixty in five seconds flat without a helluva lot of hard work under the hood before you hit the Go pedal.
Now, off to read Every Kingdom Divided.