The explosion in self-publishing has led to more choice for book buyers than ever before.
It’s also diluted the level of quality on average. Spend some time browsing the Kindle store and you will come across countless books with basic, offputting errors.
Many writers have had the dream of writing and releasing a book for most of their lives. It’s one of the classic bucket list items for a lot of people. However, in the modern publishing climate, simply releasing a book is not enough.
It’s vital for writers in this day and age to fully make the mindset shift from ‘amateur writer’ to ‘professional’. Even if that’s on a part-time basis, it’s crucial to apply the strictest levels of quality control in order to be taken seriously.
So what are some of the most effective ways to appear as professional as possible?
Avoid Badly Written Bios
One of the classic telltale signs of a newcomer, amateur author, is a bio that isn’t up to scratch.
A lot of writers are excellent at writing within their chosen genre or niche. However, when it comes to writing about themselves, they may feel confused about exactly what to include, and how it should be presented.
The hallmarks of a professional author bio are for it to be written in the third person, written in a style which is appropriate for the author’s readership, and to only contain interesting or relevant information.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to author bios. It’s enough for an author to spend some time reading the biographies of writers they admire who publish in a similar area. Notice what seems effective, appropriate, and interesting, and then find a way to apply these aspects to your own information.
For writers publishing on Kindle, their author bio should form part of their broader Author Central Page. Author Central is a great way to increase credibility for no financial outlay. It allows writers to feature not only their bio, but also author photos, videos, blog posts and links to all of their books in one convenient location.
A bad bio is a red flag for a potentially bad book.
Use Appropriate Visuals
The use of photography and other visual branding is an effective way to differentiate between amateur and professional authors.
Think about the difference a professional photo conveys next to a more amateur effort.
In the age of endless pen names, a well-chosen author photo is one of the best ways to build trust with readers and show them there is a real person behind the book they are thinking of buying.
Similarly to author bios, your author photo should be appropriate for the genre or niche that you write in. From the perspective of a book buyer, it would be expected for a yoga writer and a master of gothic horror to have very different visual brands.
An author’s choice of photograph should leave a book browser feeling that they have found not only the perfect book, but also the perfect author for that particular book.
Don’t Overlook Your Book Cover
It’s almost a cliche at this point to emphasize the importance of a book cover to appear professional, but it still needs stating.
Buyers of digital books are faced with a wealth of options. One of the most effective ways to command the focus and attention of a browser is with an eye-catching cover. This is especially true for browsers using mobile devices, as smaller screens mean images are more impactful.
Some people advocate for only using professional book cover designs, while others feel that it’s possible to take the DIY route.
It’s definitely possible for some authors to use templates and other tools to put together a book cover which is credible enough for market. However, for the majority, paying for a paid design is the most effective route to take.
Regardless of if a book cover is amateur or professional, it should be tested before going live, and not just among family and friends. It’s important to seek the feedback of impartial readers as to whether a cover would appeal to them.
From Amateur To Pro Author – The Keys
No matter how much time you have to spend on your writing, make sure all of your projects adhere to the most professional standards. Ensure that –
- Everything linked to your author brand is appropriate for your genre
- Your visual branding doesn’t betray your author identity
- Your book covers don’t dissuade readers from your work
The level of competition within the self-publishing world is always increasing.
By making an immediate commitment to total quality, authors differentiate themselves from the vast majority of self-publishers, and attract more readers as a result.