Even before your book is published, three things will be at the forefront of all of your marketing materials. Make it easy on yourself by taking the time and effort to make these the best they can be. Do it once and they will serve you during the long haul of book marketing and promotion.
One of the big mistakes I see from new authors is failure to grasp the importance of a professional headshot. Cropping your head from a group photo or using a photo with bad lighting or a random background won’t cut it if you want to be viewed as a professional. If you think about all of the places this photo is used in your marketing, the cost per use is relatively low. Check out the portfolio page of photographers to get an idea of background, poses, and appropriate attire to portray the image you are seeking.
Your bio is a peek at you through a professional lens. Discuss your writing credentials, any honors or awards, and any personal background information that sheds light on your expertise or perspective on your particular story. Heather Hummel’s article on Huffington Post, instructs authors to write 3 bios. “Write an extended bio for your website, proposals, interview sheets and media kits; a medium length bio for queries, guest spots on other websites and shorter marketing material; and a brief bio as a byline or for limited character social media websites.” If this is your first publication, words like debut author and freelance writer are good places to start. If you are having trouble coming up with your own, ask a friend to describe your writer persona. A bio is always written in third person.
The most important piece in the author trifecta is the book description. This third person account of the book or story is the billboard upon which you draw the reader in and don’t let them go. With less than 150 words, engage the reader with the hook, the underlying premise for the story, that is so compelling, the book can’t be ignored. On the blog Books and Such, Mary Keeley encourages authors to use active verbs in the hook along with strong nouns. The description should lay out the main conflict in the story and introduce the protagonist to the point of curiosity. The reader should have just enough information to lean in and beg for more. Blogger Catherine Ryan Howard interviews Mark Edwards who encourages writers to read other book descriptions in their genre to get an idea of the tone.
Have you read a killer book description? What makes it work?