As an author, your bio is one of the most essential pieces of writing you can ever create. As much as it’s a great way for readers to learn about you, it can build or destroy your book sales. It’s, therefore, crucial to know how to write a good author bio, particularly if you are new to book writing.
That is exactly what this article will do; show you how to create the perfect author bio. Let’s get started.
What's an Author Bio?
An author bio is a brief text, usually a paragraph or so, that describes the author, their work, credentials, achievements, and any other information that might interest prospective readers or buyers.
Your author bio is a chance to connect with your audience and lure prospects to buy your book. It is how you can show your credibility as a writer. You can also leverage this platform to market your other works.
There are many other places you can highlight your bio besides a book. You can put it on your social media profiles, website, or retailer platforms like Amazon. You can also pose as a guest writer and feature your bio in your fellow writers’ blogs.
A well-drafted author bio will make you stand out from the rest with similar books. But what should you include in this short passage, anyway? How can you write to make it impactful?
Things to Include in an Author Bio
Since you only have about 300 words to awe your audience, you’ll need to be as straightforward as possible. Here are the essential elements you should include in your bio.
This includes where you were born and currently live. People associate a lot with local authors.
These are the qualifications that validate your work. Do you have an education or professional background in your field of writing? Be sure to mention them if you have any. It’s a great way to establish authority.
Boast a little about what you’ve accomplished in your writing area. Tell the readers about the accolades you’ve won and the publications you featured in. If you don’t have any yet, do not fret. You can always tell them what you enjoy doing - about your interests and hobbies.
Books You’ve Authored:
If you have other books already, mention them; even better when they are bestsellers. If it’s your first book, you can talk about the subjects you love writing about. This enables you to generate a loyal audience when you deliver on the same.
A Professional Photo:
Include a photo of yourself if possible. It shouldn’t be a full picture of yourself but a headshot. Use a good camera to make your image look high-quality and professionally taken. Also, ensure the background is mute, not distracting. You can always use a neutral color.
A Call to Action:
Remember to mention where they can find you. Include your author's website address, social media handles, or business phone number below your bio. A call to action promotes your brand in a significant way.
Steps to Writing the Perfect “About Author”
Step 1: Determine the Subject Matter of Your book
Before drafting your bio, you’ll need to understand what your book is about and who you are writing for. It’s very easy to include irrelevant information, while that shouldn't be the case.
For instance, your readers will get confused if your romance novel has an author’s description of your love for horror stories. They’ll also doubt your writing authenticity if your book about real estate has a bio that reads like an elementary school textbook.
A perfect author bio should align with the genre of the book. If your book is about comedy, consider writing your biography in a humorous manner. And if it’s about spirituality, maybe you should have some positive affirmations. Get it?
Determining your ideal audience is also essential. Readers will most likely look for your personality in the bio if your book is fiction. If it is non-fiction, they’ll probably want to know your credibility on the subject matter.
It’s, therefore, crucial to evaluate the genre and the target readers of your book.
Step 2: Use Other Authors’ Bio as a Yardstick
It can be difficult, especially for a new author, to know how and what to write. Why not read other writers’ bio to get a feel of how you should write yours?
Take enough time to go through bios of books in a similar genre. Note how they’ve been written – the tones they use and the structure they take, then write yours. Be careful, however, not to copy; instead, write a unique version using a similar format.
Step 3: Determine the Key Elements of Your bio
The most important thing to remember when writing your author bio is to be prepared. You'll want to have a list of the most essential elements to include so you don't miss anything important. Think about what you want your readers to know about you, and make sure that information is front and center.
In addition, you'll want to keep your tone confident and friendly. After all, your author bio is an opportunity to connect with your readers on a personal level.
By taking the time to craft a well-written and informative author bio, you can make a lasting impression on your audience.
Step 4: Drafting the Bio
It’s now time to write the actual contents of the bio. But what structure should it take? Well, there’s no a one-size-fits-all formula but consider:
- Starting with a killer line: The opening line provides your readers' first impression of you. You should, therefore, make it count. Include the most relevant things you feel your audience should know.
Take, for instance, Rick Mofina's starting line;
“USA Today bestselling author Rick Mofina is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over L.A. with the LAPD, and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He’s also reported from the Caribbean, Africa and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. His books have been published in nearly 30 countries…”.
- Mentioning your background and showing the relevance in the book.
Check out this bio,
“Aiden Thomas, author of Cemetery Boys, received his MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. Born in Oakland, California, Aiden often haunted Mountain View Cemetery like a second home during their misspent youth. As a…”
- Establishing your authority: After you have your audience’s attention, it’s time to show credibility as an author and on the subject matter. Show them why they should read your book.
Look at how Adam Silvera shows his authority as a writer.
“Adam Silvera is the New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End, More Happy Than Not, and History Is All You Left Me and—together with Becky Albertalli—coauthor of What If It’s Us. He was named a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Adam was born and raised in the Bronx. He was a bookseller before shifting to children’s publishing and has worked at a literary development company and a creative writing website for teens and as a book reviewer of children’s and young adult novels. He is…”
- Ending with a call to action: Here are two perfect examples of ending a bio from John Scalzi and J.T.Ellison.
“...which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word “Whatever” into Google. No, seriously, try it.”
“…and USA Today bestselling author with thrillers published in 27 countries and 15 languages. She is also the Emmy Award-winning cohost of A Word on Words, a literary interview television show. She lives in Nashville with her husband and two small gray minions, known as cats in some cultures. She thinks they’re furry aliens."
3 Tips for Writing a Perfect Author Bio
- Keep it Short and Sweet: No reader would want to go through a long bio, worse still, a boring one. The secret is to make it brief by including the most relevant aspects only.
Here’s an example of a short but precise bio of Michael Siemsen;
"Michael Siemsen is the USA Today Bestselling author of 6 novels, including The Dig, A Warm Place to Call Home (A Demon’s Story), and Exigency. He lives in Northern California with “the wife,” “the kids,” “the dogs,” “that cat,” and he occasionally wears pants. His upcoming release, Frederick & Samuel, is the third book in his award-winning A Demon’s Story series."
- Maintain a Friendly, Relatable Tone: As much as you should write authoritatively, always try to maintain a friendly tone. Make the audience able to relate with you.
See how Laurelin Paige demonstrates relatability in her bio;
“Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching edgy black comedy on Netflix or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.”
- Write in 3rd Person: I know how unnatural it can feel writing about yourself in 3rd person. But guess what, you won’t sound like a braggart when mentioning your achievements. Also, if you find it difficult writing about yourself, you can always hire a professional or even a friend to do that for you. Note that all the examples given here are written in 3rd person.
You should treat your bio as a business pitch. Make it short, concise and interesting for readers to want to buy and read your work. I hope you find this post helpful and that soon you’ll have a bestselling book, thanks to your author biography.