Writing a Great Author Bio

Picture it: You’ve written your book. A small press picked it up, and they’re handling everything from pricing to distribution. You’re called in every once in a while to weigh in on important decisions, but for the most part, you’re letting them take the reins. Then, just before it goes to press, your publisher gives you a call. I can’t believe we forgot – we need your author bio. You search your hard drive for something you might have written years ago, but you have nothing to work from. She wants it by the end of the day. What do you do?

Don’t stress out. Of course, nobody (except you lucky memoirists) likes writing about themselves, but the author bio is fairly simple. In fact, it’s almost formulaic. You’ll need to present specific information and take stock of what’s important to your target audience.

To start, take a few minutes to write down any credentials you have, related to either your work or personal life, that showcase you as an authority figure. Do you have a degree in writing? An area of expertise? Have you been published elsewhere? The purpose of an author bio is to build trust between you and the reader. What are you offering them?

Then, using this information, write your bio in the following order.

Your byline – Include only your name and the name of the book you just authored. Write it in the third person.

Build engagement – Pull out the paper you used earlier. What information do you want your readers to know about you? What are your credentials? Why did you write the book you just completed?

Incorporate a personal touch – This is where you include where you are based, if you have a partner, if you have kids, or what you like to do for fun. Admit as much or as little as you are comfortable doing.

End with a call to action – Where can your readers find you? Do you have a website? A popular Twitter account? Include these at the end.

 

And that’s it! Ideally, your bio should be somewhere between 75 and 125 words. Play around with phrases and wording, but in all, this should take only a few minutes. Crisis: averted.

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