Author Dan Balow

Author Profiling

The issue of profiling can be an inflammatory concept when applied in law enforcement, but the concept is regularly practiced in just about every other walk of life.

Prospective employees vying for a position at a company are categorized (profiled) by their experience, education, and references.  First impressions mean a lot to the interviewer. Their personal appearance and demeanor are used to categorize them as a potential employee … or not, almost immediately.

And as an added element in the 21st century, how they interact, or don’t, on social media is an element of their profile.

Assuming the process of getting published is similar to applying for a job, the manner in which you go about connecting with people will establish your “profile” for agents, publishers and readers.

Whether it is meeting in person or simply over an email submission, most agents can identify someone who is not cut out for writing within a minute or two after a first impression. To experienced people, it is simple to identify writers who know how things work and those who don’t.

We can tell if you are self-focused or reader-focused. (There is a big difference.)

We can tell if you have an idea that will connect with a publisher.

But there are some other less-obvious things which are used to “profile” an author and either qualify or disqualify them for writing books:

  • Writing ability: A number of aspiring authors have what it takes with first impressions, but are good writers, not great writers. The focus on platform has given the impression writing is secondary. It is more like “1A” and “1B.”
  • Collaborative ability: Some really good aspiring authors have everything going for them; but when someone tries to edit their work, the fangs come out and the real author is revealed. The ability to work well with others is a necessary art form, even in the 21st-century tech world.
  • Administrative ability: Some really good authors have no ability to manage their time and hit deadlines, are unresponsive to communication, have constant problems with their computers, and make it difficult for everyone involved in the process. Authors need both hemispheres of their brain to be firing properly if they want to be successful. Don’t ignore the boring stuff.
  • Relational ability: If there ever were an example of a “people” business, it is publishing. Just as you would handle personal relationships with wisdom, love, and great care, so, too, are the relationships in business. The more bridges you burn, the more you will find yourself isolated on an island.
  • Competitive ability: We can tell if you have what it takes to compete in an industry that is highly competitive.
  • Humility: You never know what success will do to you. For some, it gives them a greater sense of God’s blessing; for others, a suffocating sense of self-importance. You can decide now which path you will take.

Most people do not live their lives thinking about the legacy profile they will leave. Even followers of Christ can find themselves in a place focused on self and a view of “ministry,” which is more about their personal fulfillment, not for discipling others.

Some ministries have been derailed when those involved lose their way and consider programs and processes more important than people.

So, too, can authors view their work and their desires to be more important than people.  Unfortunately, there are authors who consider their mission more important than anything else.

So, decide this day what type of “profile” you would like to maintain.

Do you want to be viewed as an author who works well with people, considers others more important than themselves, thinks long term, and goes the extra mile to make things work well for everyone?

If so, there’s no better time to start than right now.


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