Your author bio is a calling card and targeted marketing tool to promote you and your work wherever it appears. It establishes a relationship with the reader because they get to peek behind the curtain to see who you are, where you are, and what motivates you. A well-crafted bio showcases your talents and expertise and lines the path to the next opportunity on your author journey.
Because your bio appears nearly everywhere your writing takes you, take the time and effort to make it work for you. Even if this is your first publication and have no awards adorning your book, you can craft a bio to engage readers and attract attention.
Heather Hummel’s article on The Huffington Post websiteinstructs authors to write three bios. “Write an extended bio for your website, proposals, interview sheets and media kits; a medium length bio for queries, guest spots on other websites and shorter marketing material; and a brief bio as a byline or for limited character social media websites.”
Here are a few tips for shaping your bio into a fine-tuned marketing tool.
An author bio is always written in the third person. Give the reader a birds-eye view of your writing life or what led you to write your book(s). It’s written as if someone else is describing you and your work. If writing lavish praise makes you cringe, this viewpoint takes you outside of yourself to describe how someone else sees you, the author.
The opening line summarizes who you are and what you do. It also serves as your 11-second pitch, short bio, or byline.
Example: Mary Smith is a writer, speaker, and author of Sweet Dreams, a memoir detailing her traumatic childhood journey through war and famine.
Authority and/or purpose for writing the book
The next sentence speaks to what lead you to write the book and any authority you bring to the topic. If you’ve written other books or have been published in another form, you can add it here. If this is your first publication and have just started writing, share how you came to write this book and your passion for sharing your story, experience, or expertise. Words like “debut author” or “freelance writer” are good places to start.
What makes you unique/ interesting
If you are new to writing and don’t have awards or accolades to prop you up, share something that makes you unique or interesting. How does your hobby as a beekeeper inform your writing or your part-time job as a dance instructor give you insight into the human condition? In my case, I use my career as a professional juggler to make my bio jump from the page. It led me to write my first book and says something about my personality. But, mostly, it’s a little quirky and helps me to set myself apart from other authors.
Use your “voice” to make it stand out
Your writing voice sang throughout your book making it unique and interesting. Don’t let it be silenced in your author bio. Voice is what makes the words of novelist Ernest Hemingway different from that of comedian Tina Fey. If the author name was hidden from view, you’d still have a sense of their personality. Whether you’re funny or inspirational, snarky or analytical, your bio still says something about who you are and what you contribute to the literary space.
Obviously, you’ll have less real estate to highlight your uniqueness if you’ve got nothing more than a sentence to tell the reader who you are. But, the About the Author page on your website or in your book plus on places like Amazon’s Author Central beg for longer biographies. If you don’t have the award-winning bling you want at this point in your writing career, write the one you aspire to be and hang it on your computer to inspire the next part of your journey. For now, stand in the light of being the author you have become.
Here are some examples of actual author bios posted on Amazon Central.
Matt Knee is the founder of MyCompanyWorks, Inc. (an INC5000 Company) which has helped over 50,000 entrepreneurs start and manage their business in all 50 states and DC.
He’s passionate about startups and has been helping entrepreneurs start and improve their companies since 2001. More importantly, Matt has seen (and made) every small business mistake in the book and is determined to make sure others don’t make the same mistakes.
He lives with his family in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Kimberly Rae Miller is a writer and actress living in New York City. Her writing on healthy living has been published on Conde Nast’s blog network, Social Workout, Yahoo’s women’s network Shine, and in various magazines. She also contributes entertainment news to CBS Radio and CBS New York. In 2010, Kim was featured in Katharine Sise’s breakthrough career guide, Creative Girl: The Ultimate Guide for Turning Talent and Creativity into a Real Career. You can read her personal blog at TheKimChallenge.com.
Amy Dresner is a former professional stand-up comic, having appeared at The Comedy Store, The Laugh Factory, and The Improv. Since 2012, she has been a contributing editor of the online addiction and recovery magazine TheFix.com. She’s also written for the Good Men Project, The Frisky, Refinery 29, and has been a regular contributor to Addiction.com and PsychologyToday.com, where she has her own addiction blog entitled “Coming Clean.” “My Fair Junkie” is her debut book. Visit her website: www.amydresner.com
Keele Burgin is an entrepreneur, activist, mother of three, author, and filmmaker. Her story of survival and self-discovery has inspired a life dedicated to impacting tens of thousands of women across the globe. She has served in leadership roles on the boards of multiple nonprofit organizations that empower women.
Keele made her mark in the business world by cofounding two companies, taking her first one public. Her second, a venture out of her hometown of Boulder, Colorado, is designed to help women rearchitect their lives by relinquishing the patterns of behavior that hold them back.
For more information, visit www.keeleburgin.com.
Vanessa McGrady is a writer who spends a lot of time thinking about feminist parenting, food, and ways to do things better. She wonders why people aren’t more freaked out about all the plastic in the oceans.
She considers herself lucky to call several places home: New York, the Pacific Northwest, and since 2005, Glendale, Calif. She is immensely lucky to be a mom to a magical fairy sprite child named Grace and their weird little schnoodle, Manuka.
AMANDA COOK is a digital marketer, health coach, herbalist, author, and host of “The Wellpreneur Podcast.” She has interviewed more than 120 successful wellness entrepreneurs about how they built healthy businesses online and has spoken at events on five continents.
Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post UK, The Sunday Telegraph, Natural Health Magazine, MindBodyGreen, TinyBuddha, and Copyblogger.
Amanda teaches health coaches, yoga teachers, personal trainers, nutritionists and other wellness business owners around the world to grow through digital marketing in her Marketing Bootcamp Program. She lives in London, where she forages for wild plants along the Thames.
Post your author bio here so we can see how you’ve crafted your uniqueness. Thanks for sharing!