Many self-published authors find themselves in a delicate situation: they work full time but moonlight as writers. They’ve spent their evenings and weekends writing, editing, and marketing their books while also giving their employers 40 hours of their workweek. When not working at work, they’re working at home, using the web and social media to introduce themselves and their books to prospective readers across the globe.
It can be a very difficult juggling act, but it’s not impossible. One place, though, where it can be especially difficult is on LinkedIn. Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn links you to the real world through your career and professional channels. When you’ve effectively living a double life as a professional in your field AND a writer, how do you navigate the potentially murky LinkedIn waters? We’ll answer that question and others below:
Why should writers use LinkedIn, anyway?
LinkedIn is a powerful network when used correctly, but it’s not for all writers. However, if your book is going to be marketed to professionals, it’s important to make yourself visible on LinkedIn. It lends credence to your expertise and gives you a chance to connect with your prospective audience directly.
What should I call myself?
If you’re straddling the line between your day job and your identity as a self-published author, coming up with the right descriptive words for your LinkedIn profile headline can be tricky. You don’t want to make it seem like you’re choosing your job over your book or your book over your job. So, instead, find a way to mesh the two.
Often, the simplest way to do that is to append “…and author” to the end of your title. Susan Smith, Web Designer and Author, has a nice ring to it and tells people what you do. In the event that your book focuses on social issues, this is also a great place to say “… and advocate.” So, Susan Smith becomes “Web Designer, Author, and Advocate.”
In the end, keep it simple.
What if my boss finds out about my self-publishing endeavors?
The great fear with LinkedIn is often “but what if my boss sees it?!” The best way to address that issue is to put some thought into your office’s culture before making any changes to or publishing your profile.
Look at the profiles of your colleagues (and your boss). Do they have interests and endeavors outside their job position on their LinkedIn profiles? Further, take time at work to examine your relationships – is your boss someone you will let know that you’ve published a book? If so, don’t worry about adding the “author” to your LinkedIn profile.
If the culture in your office is hostile towards extracurricular endeavors such as publishing, make sure that you list your job title at work, as well as your job description, first. This means keeping it as the primary part of your title and headline, as well as making it the first job that is listed in your past and present work history.
Should I just have two profiles?
Most of the time, having two profiles ends in a jumbled mess. It’s best to stick with one; otherwise, your readers and colleagues won’t know which one they should be connecting with to learn more about you.
So, if you’re moonlighting as a writer and self-publishing author, how do you manage your LinkedIn presence?