Your maker profile should have a use by date on it. Go read yours and I bet you will find it doesn’t reflect the way you think of yourself or your current work.
Hate writing about yourself? TOUGH its some thing you need to do, so read some pointers and get it done.
The good news is
Good profiles are SHORT because as Scott Berkun says
Assume with each word in your bio that fewer and fewer people will keep reading. It’s a great assumption because it’s true.
The average visitor spends 15 seconds on a page; then they click so put the key info in that first short paragraph
WRITE IT, CUT IT and CUT IT AGAIN.
Then make a list of what it tells the reader as a check to see if you have actually ended up saying anything.
When you are working on a maker profile where you can’t add pictures you must state the obvious. Say you are a potter/ textile artist/ whatever; as web visitors all have Attention Deficit Disorder: they are on your page but often can’t remember why. So ground them.
You think you have a more dedicated reader? Well you don’t, the days of sitting quietly in front of a great big computer gently browsing have gone. At least 70% of your views will be on mobiles. Your reader is probably on the bus surrounded by other people’s one-sided phone conversations; passengers getting on and off, they are late and have just realised they have sat next to a drunk. It’s not that you do not have their undivided attention, it is more likely you don’t have any of their attention.
So be calm, be clear and don’t waste their time
Do not do this
“Hello to you and thank you for reading this bit.
Please note I own the copyright on all of my images used for my greeting cards or prints. So, this is where I get to talk about me.”
I AM OUT OF HERE
Do do this
“I am an illustrator/designer, I specialise in creating modern images with a quirky mid-century feel. My preferred mediums are screen-printing and collage using vintage fabrics. I also produce my designs as digital Giclee prints in limited editions.”
CONFIDENT, FOCUSED, CLEAR
My work is inspired by living in Cornwall, being out everyday in the Cornish countryside and along the coastline with my labradoodle Rufus, foraging for seasonal treats, fishing and growing my own fruit and veg. In my work I seek to evoke the simple pleasures of life here by the sea with a sense of style and humour.”
A GLIMPSE OF HER LIFE THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO BUY INTO
A bio answers two basic questions: “Who are you?” and “What do you do?” It should also act as bridge between the viewer and the artist. The first paragraph answers the who and what and 2nd builds the bridge. It is a very well done and efficient profile.
Unimprovable? No, I can cut 20 words from that 2nd paragraph and loose nothing:
“My work is inspired by being on the Cornish coast with my Labradoodle Rufus; foraging , fishing and growing my own fruit and veg. In my work I seek to evoke these simple pleasures with style and humour.”
That’s why I said earlier, Write it, cut it and CUT it AGAIN
NO LISTS PLEASE
This is why:
“I have been taking photographs throughout my career and creating photo images for most of my life.(WE ALL HAVE) My photographs have been used in Company brochures, Universities, Advertising, presentations to the NHS, BIFM, Access Association, accessibility brochures and flyers, and elsewhere.”
(IGNORING THE WEIRD CAPITALS, WHO CARES?)
“I was taught to knit as a child by my Mum. I knit to relax, and I love making things. I enjoy knitting with different yarns, recycled sari silk, recycled cotton and wool, banana yarn etc. The different textures and colours are great. An example of items I enjoy knitting are, egg and tea cosies, mug hugs, flower brooches, cushion covers, and things to keep you cosy.”
You are with me now aren’t you? Definitely NO LISTS
DON’T CONFUSE FRIENDLY WITH AMATEUR
Friendly expert makers can command a decent price. Friendly amateur ones have to charge peanuts
“I live in Xshire and I’m currently unemployed. I love making my crafts in the mean time and will continue to look for a job that pays £40,000 a year that allows me to mess about with glitter.”
She might as well say “I am selling tat “
TELL THE TRUTH, BUT NOT ALL OF IT and DON’T BE AN APOLOGIST
DO NOT WRITE ABOUT YOUR FAMILY they are irrelevant
This sort of thing is not re-enforcing your standing as a maker so don’t use it
“When my children flew the nest I took up /potting/ sewing / rope wrangling”
It screams amateur and don’t talk about your disabilities either, people fear you will be unreliable
It’s not that you can’t write about these things but do so in your blog not in your maker profile . Your maker profile is there to sell. Your blog is there to genuinely share your life.
WHICH PERSON SHOULD YOU WRITE IN?
Don’t do that terrible Christmas round robin thing of swapping around, you must be consistent otherwise you come across as evasive
Don’t use “we” you are not Ford Motors and also, if it’s actually just you, it is dishonest
If you write very well and are very confident “I” can work
Probably the best thing to do is to just use your first name if you are just starting out and your full name if you are well established.
HOW TO PRESENT YOURSELF AS EXPERT NOT BOASTFUL
best bit advice on this comes from Douglas Detrick
“Avoid words like “best,” “greatest,” or “well-known,” which are opinions, and stick to factual phrases like “Joe has performed in concert halls large and small throughout the Midwest and in New York.”
USE LOTS OF PHOTOS THEY INVOLVE THE READER BETTER THAN WORDS
DESIGN YOUR PROFILE AROUND THE PHOTOS
Layer your photos, crop them, mix it up and make it look informal. Prepare your photos before you write your text then you will know what length you have, also the page is already looking great so you won’t be so intimidated by the task.
Its odd but viewers really think they are getting close to you through these pictures, you want to make them want your lifestyle so that they want to buy a little bit of it by having something you make.
Even if you are using a template that only allows one picture cheat by doing a collage so its more lively and arresting. You want a fly on the wall feeling.
SAMPLE PROFILES FOr THE beginner and the established craftsperson
HOW TO WRITE YOUR PROFILE WHEN YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PUT IN IT
Sarah works in Dorset and specialises in knitwear for children using only natural wools from English flocks. Sarah makes traditional nostalgic pieces which stand up to the rough and tumble of childhood .She has a regular stall at Trollope Bottom market on the last Wednesday of the month.
To this you must add pictures. Perhaps a shot of her stall, looking very English Calendar; a close up of her knitting away, a pile of garments folded just to show the patterns, a bit of Dorset rolling countryside and some cute kids in a field walking away from the camera, all wearing her knitwear.
FOR THE WELL ESTABLISHED CRAFTSPERSON
Tom Makepiece is one of the foremost slipware potters in Scotland. His pieces are represented in many major collections including ….( not all, just two or three )
Tom works from a pottery deep in the hills of Mcshire using local clay and a traditional wood fired kiln
(Now quote your self on why you use a wood fired kiln or local clay)
“Only a fool wood fires, it means 36 sleepless hours of stoking wood to build the temperature within the kiln and maintain it knowing all the time that your work is sitting in there a hostage to fortune.
But it is capable of producing heart stopping lustres which no electric kiln could dream of. For me this is the heart of pottery and allows my work to line up with the nameless medieval makers
I am striving not to make a pot but the pot the one that will ensure that my name will be up there with the greats ”
Tom Makepiece trained with the great Lucian Pole at the St Austell pottery and studied with the Japanese master Po in Pot.
He is represented by the Bond Street Snob Gallery and the Edinburgh Even More Snob Gallery
You will find Tom Makepiece each year at Art in Clay, ( name two top regulars) a full list here (link to page)
To this you add ( if possible) a Video of you making and a handful of photos perhaps of you at your wheel, romantic night-time kiln tending, at a gallery opening and a trophy piece
If you are intrigued by the photographs then you can read my profile of the maker here
If you want to upgrade your homepage there is a post on that here