The Person Behind the Words

Person Words Pic

The author wrote the book, but exactly who is the person behind those words?

There are a few different ways that this information is useful:

  • Potential customers might have a more enjoyable reading experience if they check out the author page and blog to learn more about the writer before buying the book.
  • Fans can learn more about the author.
  • Authors can reveal something about themselves through marketing in order to help match their books to their target audience and to make their marketing efforts more personal.

You can learn more about the person behind the words by checking out the author page, author’s blog, author’s social media pages, and more.

As a reader, the author’s blog provide an additional writing sample, which may not have been edited as well as the Look Inside. This extra writing sample can help demonstrate the book’s potential for being well-written throughout (not just in the beginning of the book, which may receive more attention) for those readers who strongly value this.

Checking out an author’s other writing (e.g. the blog) gives an indication of the author’s personality, character, and possible motivation for writing the book. Occasionally, blogs and social media pages consist mostly of requests to please buy the book now. Sometimes, they are packed with useful information. If there is supplemental material that may interest fans, this may be a reward for reading the book. Does the author mostly blog about himself or herself? Does the author seem genuinely concerned about others? Are the author’s websites up-to-date or outdated? Are the posts too rare, too frequent, or just right for you? Is the material of interest to you?

You also get a sense of the author’s visual style, writing style, and thinking style. Some writing and thinking styles may conflict with yours, so you may have a more enjoyable reading experience by taking a few moments to avoid possible conflicts. You don’t necessarily need to find writing and thinking styles that match yours; we’re often attracted to different ways of thinking. What you want is to sample whether or not you find it agreeable.

From the author’s perspective, author pages, blogs, and social media are opportunities to make your marketing efforts more personal, attract your target audience with information that is useful for them, show your personality, demonstrate good character and values (in the eyes of your target audience), and show that you care.

Are you an author? If so, you’re not just an author. Exactly, who is the person behind those words?

Chris McMullen, self-published author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

6 comments on “The Person Behind the Words

  1. I think it’s a little more nuanced than that. I do believe that it is necessary to promote author as brand name, which means a brand identity, but I also believe that our private identity as a person needs a little polishing before it can be released as a public identity as a writer.

    I believe in being honest in my blog–I’m not going to try to write sunshine and rainbows when I’m depressed–but I try to temper my candor with prudence. Quite frankly, my readers don’t need to know everything about me or my life.

    My blog is primarily about my writing life, so that’s what most of my posts are about, my thoughts on writing and art in general, how I come up with ideas, my progress on my current book–things that I think that readers of my work might find interesting.

    I do touch on some issues in my private life, my cats (everyone loves cats, right?) sometimes I’ll talk about my day job, when something interesting is happening there, but much of my day to day life is really quite boring, and I can’t imagine anyone being interested in reading it.

    • I didn’t mean to imply that we should reveal our private identity, but meant to suggest that from whatever we write (even if it’s not about us at all), readers can infer things about our sense of style, writing personality, interests, motivation, etc. In many cases, it is probably best not to write about personal topics.

      Writing and art are good things to blog about, especially how you come up with ideas or challenges a writer faces in your genre. (I’ll be saying more about this another day).

      If people use the internet, they probably like cats; otherwise, they’re missing out on the entertainment value. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  2. This is such an excellent point that does not get stressed enough, but it also does raise the pen name question a bit. Chris! You always keep me entertained. I would be lost without your blog.

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