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What Jackie Collins can teach you

December 13, 2011

One of the challenging things for many writers is learning to talk about themselves, to show off without coming off like a braggadocio.

Finding it hard to promote yourself? Think of your book as a product or service that will delight/entertain/enthrall readers. You are simply a mouthpiece to help get that product into readers’ hands. (It’s not you talking. It’s your avatar!)

Writers have told me that by thinking of themselves in a more distanced way from their work, they find it easier to give interviews about their books. Of course there are other writers who have no issue with the fine art of self-promotion and if you count yourself among them, then this post probably isn’t for you and more power to you. (Do, please, come by again another day.)

Places you can’t avoid talking about yourself: in your author bio, Twitter profile, Q&A for your press materials, and the”About” page on your blog. If you feel ambivalent about writing about yourself, then that sentiment will, of course, come through in the text.

Start by shedding all that modesty. Think of yourself as a stranger you’ve just met—such an interesting and attractive person!  Take notes about your past: What are the most compelling thoughts/actions/experiences you’ve had? Take time with your bio. It will take tweaking to get it right. (Oh gosh: take a look at Jeopardy to see how not to approach an author bio. I’m always cringing at the embarrassing or silly stories some of the contestants choose to tell about themselves. Am I alone in that? I find it a very worrying part of the show.)

Here are some excellent and useful posts on the importance of a compelling bio and how to build a better Twitter bio.

And here are some examples of how focussing on creating a great bio can increase your exposure. Sea Change author Jeremy Page wrote a bio that appears on blogher.com. The appeal of his warm and approachable self, as revealed in his bio, prompted the site’s editor to run it as he wrote it. (I love the line about his three small boys launching themselves at him like variously shaped missiles.)

And of course, sometimes less is more, as Jackie Collins’ Twitter profile proves. It reads thus: @jackiejcollins Hollywood, CA Kick-ass writer! This is a lady who has no problem talking about herself. Learn from a master!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. December 13, 2011 3:05 am

    oh!

    lady-of-letters.

    we Adore Jackie C.

    such a great personality and flair for the deliciously absurd and downright glamorous and glorious…..

    and we agree with you – she’s really embraced social media in its truest sense “being sociable” and thus increasing her reach and circle of friends that love (and Buy) her work.

    fabulous.

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