How to Get Started on Google+ As A Writer

writers on G+Last week Lisa talked about why writers should be on Google+, and yesterday I covered how to get the most from Google+, but there’s still one important thing we haven’t talked about. How do you make sure that other writers, and eventually your fans, will be able to find you?

Make the Most of Your Profile

You need to fill your profile out immediately. As in, if it’s not filled out, open it in another tab right now and go through it with me.

Picture — Use the same picture that you use across the rest of your social media networks. This should be a professional-looking headshot of you. Not a graphic. Not a goofy cartoon. You. People who search for you need to know from looking at it that they’ve found the right person. Don’t allow Google+ to pull in the picture from your GMail profile. It will come out grainy.

Links — Although Google+ intends to be the one social media site to rule them all, it’s polite enough to let you prominently display links to other places you can be found. Be sure to link to your blog, website, Twitter profile, and Facebook page at the very least. You can change the order of these links as well, so arrange them with your blog first and follow it with the other social media sites in order from most used to least used. I’d recommend not listing more than six sites. More options are not always better.

Tagline — Underneath your name, you’ll see a “tagline.” If you don’t put anything in this field, it defaults to your geographic location, school, or profession. You don’t want this. You want to control what’s there because that’s all most people see before deciding whether to add you to a circle or not. (And they use it to figure out what circle to put you in.)

When Lisa had “Lisa Wilson Communications” as her tagline, hardly anyone added her. I also found the going was slow when I had “self-employed.” The problem with both of those was they weren’t clear enough about who we were and what we did. I could have been a self-employed writer or a self-employed cookie baker. A communications firm can do any number of things, including spam you with information you don’t care to know.

The key is to place “writer” or “editor” or both in your tagline space (“author” or “novelist” also work). Do this even if you’re unpublished and even if you work a different job as well: for example, “Writer and Lawyer” or “Lawyer by day, writer by night.”

Try to keep this under 30 characters including spaces because if it’s much longer than that, it won’t all show up when people hover over your picture or name.

About — Under the About tab on your profile page, you’ll be able to fill in a lot of different information including an Introduction and Bragging Rights. The trick here is to balance telling people what you do to make money (the “day job”) and what you write, while infusing some of your personality. You also want to include terms that people might search for (e.g., your book title, your pseudonym, your company name, your genre).

Try to keep your Introduction under 100 words. Here’s mine . . .

By day I’m a misfit crusader fighting to make our world a better place by working as a writer and editor for non-profits and writing articles on hot button issues like anorexia, AIDS, and addictions. (my day job) By night I’m a speculative fiction writer working on a co-written historical novel with fantasy elements. (what I write)

Sadly, I’m also addicted to coffee and jelly beans. (a bit about me)

You can find me hanging out with the #MyWANA crowd on Twitter. (included so that anyone I know from Twitter who searches for #MyWANA people can find me)

Bragging Rights should be much shorter (under 20 words). Incomplete sentences are fine. Try to include one writing related “brag” and one non-writing related “brag” for fun. Here’s mine . . .

Winner of two Writer’s Digest Contests. Survived four consecutive Great Dane puppies.

One of my favorite entries under Bragging Rights comes from Rebecca Enzor. Hers says, “I can write 335 words on a single sticky note.”

For your Occupation, be sure to include both your day job and “writer.” You are one, aren’t you?

Get a Custom URL

The standard URL for your profile page will look something like this:

If you don’t want to memorize that or open your Google+ profile every time you want to include a link someplace, you’ll want to get a custom URL. Unlike Facebook, you don’t need to wait until you have a certain number of “likes.”

Go to and enter the part of your profile URL that I’ve bolded above, choose what you want as your username (it’ll appear in the part of the new URL bolded below), and you’re done. If possible, get YourName or YourNameAuthor as your username.

My original URL above is now shortened to

Be Proactive About Adding People to Circles

Like any other social network, Google+ requires you to be active to get anything out of it.

  • Check out who Lisa and I have in our circles and steal them
  • Go through the list of Google+ writers compiled by FictionAll
  • Search for the terms “writer” and “author”
  • Contribute to conversations started by other writers

Do you have any other “musts” for Google+? We love it if you’d share your opinions and this post.


Join Marcy on Google+

Join Lisa on Google+

17 comments on “How to Get Started on Google+ As A Writer

  1. Thanks for the mention! Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find that sticky so I can scan it and prove my awesomeness ;P

    Lots of good tips! I had completely forgotten to put a tagline on my profile, and you reminded me to change my blog link! Plus, I now have one of those fancy shortened names 🙂

  2. Thank you so much for the info on creating a custom URL. I was hating the way they were set up. It looks like I am already following your other advice, although instead of having a bunch of links, I use One link shows people all the places you are online…

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