There are a lot of elements that go into making the best possible supplier profile. But what should you do on PubLaunch to set yourself up for success? Here are the things you’ll need to have before your profile is ready to show to writers:
- a profile picture
- a professional website
- a professional bio or business description
- a concrete list of your services and rates
- a 140-character tagline (for hybrid publishers)
- optional additions:
- social media links
You’ll also need a few supplementary documents for PubLaunch staff to review (but we’ll get to that later).
Let’s start at the beginning:
1) Your website
We cover this in part in Dos and Don’ts For a Great Freelance Website, but I’ll go over this here briefly as well.
Although your website isn’t going to be the first thing people see on PubLaunch, it’ll probably be the second (after they finish looking through your profile), I’d still recommend you start working on your website before your profile. It serves as the foundation to everything you do online as a professional, and it will take the most time compared to anything else on this list.
So, let’s start with what you should have on your website. It’s pretty similar to what you’d have on your profile actually:
You need a bio or business description. This should be geared towards anyone who discovers your website online, so make sure it’s newbie friendly.
You need some kind of service description. This is obviously quite a lot more flexible than what you’ll need for PubLaunch, but at the very least you do need some kind of description of the services you offer. Price range is helpful, but of course that may not be practical for everyone.
You need work samples, preferably many, and potentially testimonials.
You need a contact form or some way for people to (easily) reach you.
And finally, you need your own domain name and a good-looking website. You should strive for a clean and simple layout that’s easily navigable. If you’re not tech friendly, drag-and-drop web builders (like Wix, Weebly, or Squarespace) are a great place to start. Personally, I’d avoid WordPress unless you’re comfortable using HTML or CSS and have a clear vision of what you want.
Okay, now that your website is done, let’s move on to the other important areas.
2) Your bio or business description
This is one of the first things that we ask for and, if you’ve got your website done, you’ve already got a working version. You’ll need to adapt your standard bio to suit PubLaunch. What should you change?
- Make sure you’ve got a catchy opening line. After your picture, the first few sentences of your bio are the first things people will see.
- Your audience is now specifically self-publishing writers, so you’ll probably need to narrow down your language a bit.
- Testimonials will be really helpful to building your reputation, so although it’s not mandatory, I really recommend working a few brief testimonials into your description.
- Talk about your experience and your process. Many of the writers on PubLaunch will be new and may not know what to expect from the experience.
- Make sure your language matches your brand (more on this below).
3) Your profile picture
This might be the most important thing on your profile. People are extremely visual, and will use whatever they see first to form a lasting impression, so make sure you don’t just pick your latest Facebook profile picture. Pick the image that best suits your brand. To determine what your brand is, ask yourself some questions about how you’d like to be perceived:
Are you friendly? Approachable?
Do you want to be seen as professional first? Or do you want to be relatable?
Are you an expert in your field? Or do you want to show off your creativity?
Once you’ve got the answers to these (or similar) questions, you can match your picture to your brand. For example, if you want to look friendly and professional, you might consider wearing a blazer over a sweater, in a picture of you outside or with a bookshelf as a backdrop.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to use a high resolution photo, with decent lighting, and you as the picture’s only subject. I can’t guarantee that we’ll approve grainy pictures with the disembodied hand of your best friend resting on your shoulder.
4) Your tagline
Currently, this is only mandatory for hybrid publishers. The tagline is integral to a hybrid publisher’s profile, since their thumbnails have different information than other suppliers.
Aside: Why did we do this? For a standard freelance supplier, their thumbnail includes experience in years, 1 to 3 $ signs determined by a relative formula based on reported service rates, and service type. Because hybrid publishers lack a set rate and service, we’ve fleshed out their thumbnail with a space for a tagline.
Writing a tagline is a lot like writing a tweet, except it’s meant to distill everything you need to share about yourself and your business into 140 characters. Easy, right?
I recommend sitting down with a pad of paper and writing as many different examples of a tagline you can think of (good and bad). Eventually, your thoughts will distill into a coherent (and attention-grabbing) tagline.
5) Your services and rates
Since we need to standardize pricing for the sake of our estimate calculator, we need each supplier to charge a flat rate for each type of service they offer. That means that if you’re a copy editor, you’ll need to charge (for example) $50 per hour for everyone (you won’t be able to change this price for individual projects). Or, if you’re an illustrator, you’ll need to charge (for example) $100 for all of your black and white, quarter-page illustrations. Keep this in mind when you fill out your application form.
6) Supplementary documents
Lastly, these documents are the most important piece of your application, which no one but myself and a few other PubLaunch team members will see. We ask for extra documents to help us vet your skills and to ensure that everyone on PubLaunch can do the job they say they can do. If you don't have these already and you want to prepare ahead of time for registration, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And that’s it! Just follow this list and you’re well on your way to having one of the best-looking profiles on PubLaunch. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments.