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message 1: by C.B. Matson (new)

C.B. Matson | 143 comments I have found that one of the hardest things for an independent author to write is their own Author’s Profile. Therefore, I looked at the Amazon Author Page profiles for fifty well-known fiction authors selected at random from best-seller lists and my own reading preferences. I then combed through them to find thirty common elements (including word count) and the frequency of their occurrence. I understand that many authors have book-jacket profiles or website profiles as well, but to keep the comparison “apples-to-apples,” I only reviewed the Amazon listings.

This is by no means a scientific study or even a statistically significant sample, but it could be helpful for independent authors in preparation of their own profiles. A few interesting observations:
1. Of the fifty well-known authors selected, only 43 had a profile on Amazon and only 33% of those with a profile had any reference to web-sites or to social media.
2. A surprising number of profiles were out of date, some by over five years.
3. Although the average count is over 200 words, I found the most effective profiles to be about 125 words in length. This roughly corresponds with the median length of 111 words.
4. The wordiest profiles tended to either list books (too many in my opinion) or contain detailed author biographies.
5. Author profiles tended to either describe the author or to describe the author’s works. In my opinion, the most effective profiles had a balance.
6. The first person profiles were not (in my opinion) very effective. A small inclusion of informal language can be effective, but over-use detracted from the profile.

Note: My own profile is still short and suckish. I'm working on it... For any who would like to see all of my data and a histogram of word count, I've posted it on Blogger: Allochthonous Tribe.

message 2: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) Interesting data. I'm curious though, since it appears you are looking at this as a sales tool (granted, evwrything is a sales tool for us), does an author's profile sway you to buy their books? I will admit, the only thing I use the Amazon author page for is to see an author's book in one convenient place. I may read their bio or look at their picture, but I can't recall a single instance where doing so led me to making a purchase.

message 3: by C.B. Matson (new)

C.B. Matson | 143 comments Most people I know follow particular authors; with electronic publishing, perhaps more-so than browsing a bookstore. I think profile, pic and published works all combine to build the author brand. High quality work is probably the most important, but some readers may want to identify with the author as a person. Lots written on this...


message 4: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) But say you found a book by an author who had yet to set up a profile, would that deter you from purchasing?

message 5: by Igzy (new)

Igzy Dewitt (IgzyDewitt) | 148 comments Interesting. Could you give an example, real or mocked up to format, of what you consider to be the most effective profile type that you encountered, and maybe one of the least as well? I'm curious.

Thanks for posting.

message 6: by C.B. Matson (new)

C.B. Matson | 143 comments Christina: If I had a choice of three or four interesting books but only one of them had an intriguing author profile, it would certainly lean me in that direction.

Igzy: When I finally spiff up my own profile, I will certainly present it as a paragon of author profiles, the best of all possible author profiles, the Platonic solid of author profiles... as far as the least perfect, I would offer my own current profile as an example. Another might be Neil Gaiman; he's a good author with a disappointing profile (on Amazon).

message 7: by Igzy (new)

Igzy Dewitt (IgzyDewitt) | 148 comments I'm envious that you have managed to find the key to capturing The Good in your profile without needing to die and journey to the realm of forms on the chariot of your tripartite soul, Mr. Matson. Envious, but also encouraged. Good luck to you.

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