avatar portrait

Why an Appealing Avatar is so Important


Your Social Media Avatar
Moving my blog to the website, and browsing through the last months’ pages, I was clicking on my followers who “liked” the articles I wrote.  This leads to their avatar. What I saw made me sad: Less than 10% showed a professional presence.  Either a portrait image was missing, or there were no links to author pages, websites, blog or Social Media follow links.  It is a pity that these – otherwise great – authors are not able to reach out to their followers and not successfully expose their work.  It does not cost anything and an appealing avatar is created in minutes!


What is an avatar?  By registering with a social network, it is one of the first things you will be asked to upload: a picture of yourself. Yet, surprisingly many still do not do this.  Twitter for example shows lots of eggs instead of profiles.  But people don’t want to talk to eggs…
Not having a suitable picture is not really an excuse either, and taking a “selfie” is not the best idea. Almost every large grocery shop or mall offers pass photos for a very low price, if you don’t want to go to a professional photographer.  Decide how you want to be seen by the world and that you can choose for all your Social Media, web and blog avatars.

Don’t Use a Selfie
Choosing the right image is a vital piece of your branding and identity in the modern online world. Developing your own unique identity is an important part of being online – which we don’t always appreciate when we first start setting up our online accounts.  Having the one online identity across all your accounts makes it easier for others to connect and relate to you.
Best idea would be to register with Gravatar, a free online widget that will ensure that the same profile picture will be pulled in when you comment on others’ posts on certain platforms. This video explains it in detail.  Most social networks are also offering editing tools for your avatar.


There is More Than Just Your Image:
To introduce yourself on the web or on Social Media, prepare a short text including links to your website or blog, the major Social Media accounts you have, such as Google+, Twitter, Goodreads, Linkedin etc. and a link to your author page on Amazon, where all your books are listed. Here is a good example from Fiza Pathan.

Difference Between Avatar and Gravatar
A Gravatar is basically just a subset of avatars.  Globally Recognized AVATARS = Gravatars.  It’s sort of the avatar equivalent of a bathroom sign, for the most part you can tell where the bathroom is no matter where you go around the world. Generally they are used for default avatars on sites that allow reader comments / posts, e.g. on blogs.


Set Up Once – You Can Use it Everywhere 
Set-up your bio with a studio portrait, the same you use in your book(s) and create an inviting avatar. Use keywords that will attract the type of people that you want to connect with.  Your short bio (or an avatar, or “about me”) can be used for all your presences, for your Amazon website, your blog etc. Same as with your photo portrait: once established you can use it everywhere, even if you have to decrease it on some places, such as on Twitter. Use lots of keywords and add abbreviated links to your web site or Amazon page.  And choose your username wisely!

Don’t Forget:
Many publishers and literary agents, as well as journalists, editors and book bloggers have a Social Media presence too.  They are using Twitter, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads or LinkedIn and mingle on these sites with authors famous and unknown.  If you like to get a name in the world of books and establish a successful career with your self-published work: create a professional online presence everywhere.



A note to readers, subscribers and followers:

I am very thankful for over 710,000 visitors, thousands of followers and subscribers on SavvyBookWriters.wordpress.com.  This site will be available in the future under:





9 Things Authors Should Never Do on Twitter


If you want to become popular on Twitter and have your tweets go viral, avoid these errors, and check out the small, but significant issues you might not be aware of, and change your Social Media approach for the better.

Having no Avatar – Instead an Image of your Pet
Who wants to talk with an egg, or a cat, child or your dog? OK, if you have a company, you can use the company logo, but for everyone else: get a great studio photo once in ten years and use it for all your marketing needs including your book cover or on your website. Would you send a potential employer a photo of your house pet, your book or a toddler’s image? No? Why then show these annoying images to your potential customers? Be professional! Sometimes I am inclined to publish a book with the worst avatars! Hope yours is not included. Use an attractive portrait or logo and stick with it everywhere, in order to have brand consistency.

Having no Bio or Real Name
Your name and @name, should be searchable on Twitter. It means people can type you into Twitter’s search engine and find you. Use your own name o try to get the actual name of your small publishing business on Twitter. Keep it as short as possible, to give tweeps more space to re-tweet your content or to communicate with you.

Choosing Other Writers as Followers (only)
Why would you not choose readers, reviewers or other interesting people to follow? If you are on Social Media to network, hang out with READERS! A no-brain-er … Use the search function to find like-minded Tweeps, e.g. type: reading, book lover, book worm, avid reader etc. You will want to get more readers, than other writers as Twitter followers, right?

Talking about Your Book (only)
Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book, buy my book – pretty boring, isn’t it?
Aim to send out entertaining, thoughtful, funny content or news, that are interesting for your fellow tweeps. You could for example improve these points:

  • Tweet the latest news
  • Pick the right time of day
  • Leave room for a retweet
  • Use top re-tweetable phrases
  • Write a tempting headline
  • Don’t make the tweet about you

Not Being Social – or Being too Social
In the process of choosing followers, one can sometimes scroll down their timeline for a whole week and don’t find a single re-tweet. Or the opposite: you want to re-tweet and cannot find anything the person ever tweeted … only re-tweets of others’ content.  Or they talk only with their friends, without ever turning to the rest of the Twitter-sphere.

Not Having at least 2,000 Followers – or Stuck With 2,000
Some books and blog articles advice to never follow anyone with less than 2,000 followers. Doesn’t sound fair, as everyone has to start somewhere. On the other hand some tweeps click on every name they see on Twitter to reach 2,000 followers very fast – and then stuck. For them, instead to un-follow successive those who do not follow, they just wait it out to get 2,000 people who follow them, in order to continue their growth. But this can take forever, as no one wants to to follow THEM – and then wait for months or even longer, until they reciprocate – or worse: never do.
Un-follow people who haven’t followed you back after a while. This is especially important to avoid “follow limits”.  If you have anything like these numbers – you are in trouble:  268 TWEETS – 2000 FOLLOWING – 345 FOLLOWERS

Barely Ever Re-tweeting Others, or Answering Them
Twitter is a SOCIAL network, don’t use it as a advertisement board only. Answer or re-tweet others – and they will return the favor. Stop your continuing posts, varying from three to six subjects, and this for pages and pages… What I found so far: 80% of these are male and/or are introvert writers or leadership business advisers.
Greeting new followers with FB likes promotion / Book promotion
You get a message in your mailbox: Someone mentioned you. Curious you check it, but no, you are only summoned to go to their Facebook account and LIKE their page. Or they send you the link to their books sales page. And that’s the greeting for following them… Do they sign up with Twitter only to advertise their wares? Same: Sending DM’s with advertisements. You open the Direct message and you are greeted with advertising. My reaction: UNFOLLOW. Thanks and nice to meet you...

Never, ever, use TrueTwit Validation Service
Author Sean Munger reminded me of this one. Almost forgot about it, as I am not able anymore to read every email / Direct message with ten-thousands of followers (can’t make Twitter a full-time job : ). Some are nice Welcome messages, but 90 per cent are spam (see #8). But I read them in the past, first I answered, telling them that I DO NOT use TrueTwit Validation Service, but then I gave up and just ignored the sender.
The irony is, that these people are often following me, and then when I want to follow them back, their message appears! Why did they choose to follow me and then want ME to validate??? Read Sean Munger’s blog post, especially if you ever used this useless “service”. Sean’s most important message, to which I fully agree: “Most importantly for you, it means I will never buy your book. You just lost a reader, a customer, a potential fan, a potential reviewer”.

OK, enough said. Don’t want to go into further rants … : )  These are just a few of many issues that make it difficult to interact for others on Twitter – or prevents tweeps to click on FOLLOW you and for you to build social networks and your writer’s platform. To become successful and popular on Twitter do this:

Follow others, tweet something valuable for others and don’t use Twitter as a cheap way to advertise!  Create a nice mixture of your own, really interesting tweets and do some re-tweeting.
Choose a very short Twitter name.  Make it as easy and convenient as possible for your fellow tweeps to engage and interact with you.


If you would like to get help in all things publishing, have your book intensively promoted and learn how to navigate social media sites: We offer all this and more for only $ 159 for 3 months. Learn more about this individual book marketing help: http://www.111Publishing.com/Seminars

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Tagged: avatar portrait, be social on Social Media, never re-tweeting, sending DM's with advertisements, tweets go viral, twitter followers, Twitter name, Un-follow on Twitter

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