A LinkedIn profile is a huge marketing opportunity for Authors. But don’t just think of it as a way to sell books.
As a self-published nonfiction Author, your primary goal isn’t to make money selling books. It’s to use your book to make money in other ways.
Your book can help you:
- attract the attention of influencers or recruiters
- find new clients through your LinkedIn network
- open doors so you can segue from your current job to a new career
Because LinkedIn is a social media platform uniquely designed for professionals, it’s especially powerful for boosting your credibility, highlighting your relevant skills, reaching your target audience, and generating leads.
Whatever your larger objectives may be, your LinkedIn profile is a great tool to help you meet them.
In this article, I’ll explain how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile to make the most of your status as an Author.
8 Best Tips for Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile
1. Optimize Your Author Brand
Before you do anything else, you need to focus on your Author brand.
An Author brand isn’t about how good your book is. It’s about what problems you can help your readers solve.
Your Author brand creates a first impression that tells readers why they should be interested in what you have to say. It also indicates why they should choose you over other experts in your field.
In other words, your Author brand is about you as a person, not just about your book.
A strong personal brand helps you build visibility, establish authority, and make an impact.
There are 3 steps to creating a strong Author brand. I’ll focus on the basics, but you can read about them in more depth here.
- Define your message and target audience. Strong Author branding clearly addresses your target audience and tells them, “Here is how I can help you and why I’m the person to do it.”
- Define your expertise. Your Author branding is different from your credentials. Readers don’t necessarily care if you have a Ph.D. They care that you can help them. What will convince your target audience to trust you?
- Project that brand everywhere. Make sure it’s aligned on every platform you use: your website, Amazon profile, social media profiles, and of course, LinkedIn.
2. Claim Your Custom URL
What’s easier to remember: ChadSmith or Chad-Smith-ab260b52? The answer is obvious. It’s much easier for people to find and remember you if you personalize your LinkedIn URL.
Creating a custom profile URL is easy.
Go to your LinkedIn profile. In the upper right-hand corner, you’ll find a link called “Edit public profile and URL.” Click it.
You’ll now have the option of putting in a custom URL.
Most people use their name, but you can consider adding your brand if your name is taken. For example, if you’ve created a fitness chain called “BodyRight Studios,” you could make that your URL.
Remember, though, your Author brand is much more effective when it’s about you, not about your book.
Using your name also leaves the door open in case you write future books or open businesses with other names.
If you have the option, try to stick with something short, memorable, and personal.
3. Create a Great LinkedIn Banner
Your banner appears at the top of your profile behind your profile photo. By default, LinkedIn provides a generic blue banner.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and build instant credibility, change it to a personalized banner that profiles your book.
It should follow many of the same rules that apply to your book’s cover. It should be distinctive, have a clear focus, and indicate what the book is and who it’s for.
If you aren’t gifted in graphic design, don’t waste precious time making this yourself.
Hire the same person who designed your book cover or find a freelance artist through a service like 99 Designs or Upwork. For more tips on that process, read this article.
Your banner photo should be either a JPG, GIF, or PNG file that’s smaller than 8 MB.
The recommended dimensions are 1584 pixels wide by 396 pixels high.
4. Add a Professional Profile Photo
You’ll need a high-quality profile picture that fits your brand—with heavy emphasis on “fits your brand.”
If you wrote a book about wealth growth, don’t use a casual profile photo your wife took on your last vacation.
If you’re a comedian who wrote a hilarious memoir, don’t use a traditional, business-suit-style headshot.
Your profile picture should have the same tone and professionalism as your book.
Think about what will appeal to the social networks that you want to reach.
What do you want to signal? And who do you want to signal it to?
Now, find the photo that best communicates that.
5. Create a Short, Clear Tagline
Your LinkedIn headline is valuable real estate, so you want to use it as wisely as possible.
It has to be short and clear. If your profile page turns up in a LinkedIn search, you want people to immediately know what you have to offer.
That way, they’ll be more compelled to keep reading or send you a connection request.
Your goal with the tagline is to build credibility and make it completely clear who you are and what you do.
You might include your job title, area of expertise, or any special, relevant skills.
You should also use keywords that jump out to your target audience or easily turn up in a search engine.
Here are some good examples:
- YOURROLE at COMPANY | We Help X Do Y
- YOURROLE at COMPANY | Author of BOOK | International Speaker
- I help X do Y by Z.
Before you go with your gut, stop and think about what will really make a difference to your target audience.
The optimization of your tagline is all about what’s going to generate more profile views.
6. Write Your “About” Section
The “about” section is the summary section of your profile. Think of it as the landing page people see when they first click on your profile.
Someone who reads it should be completely clear on who you are, how you can help them, and what to do if they’re interested in your products or services.
A typical formula for this section is:
- What I do (2 sentences on the value you provide)
- How I do it (a quick look at your process/features/offer)
- Who I work with (a quick explanation on the types of businesses/industries you serve)
- What people are saying (client testimonials)
- My background (why people should trust you)
- Contact Me
That last bit should be a true call to action. Do you want them to visit your website? Contact you by email? Send a connection request?
Include whatever it is you most want them to do and then provide them with the most relevant contact information.
7. Add Your “Featured” Items
You can add articles, links, and videos to the “Featured” section to ensure your profile visitors see them.
For example, you might choose:
- A manifesto representing your philosophy on your topic
- A link to your book’s page on Amazon
- A link to high-profile articles written by you
- A link to high-profile articles talking about you or your book
- A link to your company’s website
- A link to specific case studies on your company’s website
You can add as many links as you want, but only 2 will display on your front page. Viewers will have to scroll to see the others.
That means you should decide which 2 assets are most important for your profile visitors to see.
8. Describe Your Role Clearly and Concisely
LinkedIn has a lot of powerful tools for showing off your credentials, achievements, and Author brand.
No matter which section of your profile you’re working on, keep this in mind: describe your role clearly and concisely. Don’t use jargon.
Make what you do obvious to anyone who visits the site.
Don’t overcomplicate things. In fact, actively try to simplify them. Keep your writing short, simple, direct, and reader-focused.
No one will want to get in touch with you if they can’t understand you.
Examples of Great Author LinkedIn Profiles
1. Carlos Maestas
Carlos Maestas’ LinkedIn page is a great example of an Author LinkedIn profile.
The first thing you see when you visit his page is a banner featuring his book Mommy Lied to God.
Carlos’ book is all about storytelling, and while there are actionable lessons in there, it’s also full of humor and authenticity. Those attributes come through in the photo he chose.
Carlos’s Author photo was clearly taken by a professional photographer, but it’s not a boring “business” headshot.
The “About” section of Carlos’ profile is clear. He’s broken all the components I mentioned into separate paragraphs. That makes it easier for readers to find the information they need.
And at the end, there’s a clear call to action with Carlos’ contact information: “WANT TO CONNECT? If you are a mission-driven organization looking to simplify and spread your story, send me an email at [email protected].”
2. Dr. Nashater Deu Solheim
Dr. Nashater Deu Solheim also has a striking banner image featuring her book, The Leadership PIN Code. It’s simple, clean, and direct.
One of the most notable aspects of her profile is the tagline. It’s more comprehensive than some of the examples I’ve given, but she’s organized it in a clear and intriguing way.
CEO at Progressing Minds | My mission is to create engaged leadership for healthy cultures through applied psychology | Author | TEDx Speaker | HBR contributor I Forbes Women Forum
If you scroll down to Nashater’s “Featured” section, you’ll see that she has included more than 2 links. But the first 2 are clearly the most important: her TEDx talk and a feature her book received in Harvard Magazine.
3. John Ruhlin
John Ruhlin created a custom URL for his LinkedIn profile that’s simple and memorable: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnruhlin/
He also has a striking banner image. Unlike the banners on Carlos’ and Nashater’s pages, it doesn’t feature an image of his book. Instead, it’s just the one-word title, Gift•ology.
The red and white is eye-grabbing.
The banner also makes the visitor curious. What’s Gift•ology? That question alone will keep them reading.
This is personal branding at its most distinctive.