Although they say not to judge a book by its cover, readers often decide whether or not to purchase a book based on its cover art and the blurbs on the dust jacket. So if you want to attract new readers and boost your sales, it’s important to perfect the text that will appear on your book’s cover, including your author bio. Here are some tips to help you create a concise, impactful bio that puts you and your work in the best light.
What Is an Author Bio?
An author bio is a short blurb about your professional background that usually appears on the back flap of your book’s dust jacket. It’s similar to an elevator pitch and demonstrates why you’re uniquely qualified to write about your book’s topic. A well-crafted author bio will position you as an expert in your field and convince readers to buy your book by highlighting your relevant experience, education, and accolades.
With a few tweaks, you can reuse your author bio on the “about me” page of your website and include it in your media kit. If you’re planning to sell your book online, you can also upload your bio to the product page to help boost sales. Because your author bio is such an important, versatile piece of marketing collateral, it’s worth taking the time to get it right. Here’s how to write a winning author bio.
How to Write a Great Author Bio
Write in the Third Person
Author bios are usually written in the third person, which helps create an objective, authoritative tone. If you list all of your accomplishments in the first person, your bio could come across as self-congratulatory.
Although it may feel awkward to write about yourself from a third person perspective, doing so will make your bio sound factual instead of boastful and increase readers’ trust in your credentials. If using third person pronouns trips you up and causes writer’s block, you can always create a rough draft in the first person and edit it later.
Keep It Short and Sweet
Your author bio has to fit in a small space on your book’s dust jacket, so you should limit yourself to around 100 words. Since you only have a paragraph to summarize your professional history, focus on career highlights that pertain to your book’s content, such as:
- Degrees and certifications
- Years of experience in your field
- Industry awards and professional designations
- Publications you’ve written for or been featured in, especially high-profile ones
- Related projects you’ve started like a podcast or YouTube channel about your book’s subject
- Other books you’ve published if applicable
Reviewing your resume and LinkedIn profile can help you narrow things down and figure out which details to include in your bio.
Start with a Solid Opener
Many people who pick up your book will only glance at your bio briefly and won’t get past the first line or two. That’s why it’s important to frontload your copy with your most significant achievements and start with a strong opening line. If you’ve ever been published in The New York Times, this is the place to mention it!
However, if you’re a new author who doesn’t have prestigious publications or awards to name-drop, a humorous opener can be a good way to capture interest. Leading with a tongue-in-cheek remark can hook potential readers and encourage them to give your book a chance.
Add a Personal Touch
If you have the space, it’s a good idea to include something about your personal life at the end of your bio to make it more relatable. Squeezing in a short sentence about your family and where you live can help you connect with readers, especially if you plan to promote your book locally. Alternatively, you could share a fun fact about yourself such as an interesting hobby or unique character trait to add some levity to your bio.
Ask Family and Friends for Ideas
Writing about ourselves can be a challenging task. Sometimes it’s hard for us to recognize our talents and strengths and give ourselves credit for them. If you’re struggling with writer’s block, getting an outside perspective can help.
Ask your friends, family, and colleagues what they think you should include in your bio. They’ve been by your side as you’ve accomplished career milestones and can help you hone in on your biggest achievements.
Take Your Time
The writing and editing process will likely take a few days to complete, so give yourself ample time to write your bio and don’t rush! After you’ve completed the first draft, you should step away for a day or two so you can edit it with fresh eyes.
First, run your work through a spell checker like Grammarly to catch any typos or grammatical errors you may have missed. Then check the word count and make sure your bio isn’t too long. If you need to cut things out, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Considering that this may be their first interaction with your brand, what do you think they need to know about you? Which facts will pique their interest and make them want to read your book?
If you’re having trouble whittling down your bio, it may be helpful to get feedback from authors who have successfully tackled their own bios. You can find writers to review your work in online critique groups like Writers Helping Writers and Writers United. However, you’ll usually get the most useful feedback from a professional book editor or coach, so it may be worth investing in their services.
Repurpose Your Bio
The time you spend perfecting your author bio will pay off because you’ll be able to reuse it on many different platforms. You can upload your bio to your Amazon Author Central page, Goodreads profile, and your book’s product page to help drive sales. You can also include your bio in your press kit, which gives journalists the information they need to write about you and your book. Creating a press kit can help you secure media coverage for your book and build buzz around it.
Your author bio can even be repurposed into an “about me” page for your website by adding a few extra paragraphs. “About me” pages are usually 250 to 500 words. They give readers more insight into who you are as a person, why you’re passionate about the work you do, and what kind of impact you want to make. If your author bio is your elevator pitch, think of your “about me” page as your mission statement.
Another way to adapt your author bio is to cut it down to about 50 words. Then you’ll be able to use it as a bio on your social media pages and a profile on any websites you contribute articles to.
Common Author Bio Mistakes
If this is your first time writing an author bio, watch out for these common beginner mistakes when editing your first draft.
One of the biggest mistakes new authors make is writing an overly wordy bio due to a lack of confidence. Publishing a book is a huge accomplishment whether it’s your first release or fifth. So you don’t have to “make up for” the fact that this is your authorial debut by overwriting your bio. A clear, concise bio will demonstrate your writing ability and expertise better than a long, rambly one.
During the editing process, it’s important to make sure your bio avoids common cliche traps. For example, most authors are voracious readers and dreamed of being writers since they were young, so it’s best to leave those details out. Focusing on what makes you and your professional history stand out will help boost your book sales.
Being Too Modest
Your author bio is meant to be an advertisement for your work, so don’t be afraid to give yourself credit for your professional achievements and toot your own horn a bit! If you’re too modest or self-deprecating, readers may doubt your expertise and pass over your book.
Choosing the Wrong Tone
The tone of your author bio should work in concert with the style of your book. If your book has a chatty, conversational tone, your blurb should reflect that to show readers what they can expect from your writing.
Not Including a Call To Action
It’s important to give readers a way to learn more about you beyond the 100-word blurb on the back of your book. Many authors include their website address or social media handles in their bio so readers can further engage with their work if desired.
Including Unnecessary Details
When tasked with writing about themselves, many authors start at the beginning of their story and talk about their childhood. But unless your book is about early childhood development, the name of your elementary school and first grade teacher is probably irrelevant. Because author bios are so short, there’s no room for unnecessary details that don’t pertain to your book or help communicate your author brand.
Forgetting to Update Your Bio
As you advance in your career, don’t forget to update your bio to include your most recent accomplishments. Although many authors have a hard time writing about themselves, rest assured that the process will get easier over time as you revise and improve your bio.
Author Bio Examples
Reading other author bios can give you the inspiration you need to write your own. Here are some great examples to help get your creative juices flowing.
Beth Standlee, one of our authors at Stonebrook Publishing, is a successful business coach. Her book People Buy From People outlines how to personally connect with prospects to close more sales. Here’s a quick look at Beth’s bio:
Beth Standlee never met a stranger. A dynamic, enthusiastic liver of life, she dedicates her time to helping others and making their lives better. She is the CEO/Founder of TrainerTainment®, a coaching and training enterprise that primarily serves the hospitality industry. Her team provides business coaching, sales coaching, grand opening strategies, mystery shopping services, and on-site training. Beth is the mother of two adult daughters and one son. She lives near Fort Worth, Texas with her husband, Jerry.
Beth immediately draws readers in by saying she’s “never met a stranger,” making you feel as though you know her. She builds upon that personal connection by giving readers a glimpse of her home life at the end of the blurb.
In addition to showcasing her warm personality, Beth’s bio demonstrates her sales expertise as founder and CEO of TrainerTainment®. This bio is a great example of how to communicate your author brand to readers in a short, concise way.
Brian Marcel is a business owner and leader in the bar code industry. He published his first book Raise The Bar with Stonebrook Publishing to help new business owners successfully navigate the challenges of entrepreneurship. Take a look at his bio below.
Brian Marcel started his career in the London Stock Exchange, but working in an institution didn’t suit him, and he got fired from his grandfather’s firm. From there, he moved on to sell all types of papers made by Wiggins Teape, a leading British paper manufacturer that sent him to South Africa to enhance his career and learn the art of sales and marketing. It was in Cape Town that he met his wife, Liz, who sadly died of breast cancer after twenty-eight years of marriage. After returning to the United Kingdom, he got involved in the early days of barcoding and soon started his own business selling artwork used for printing barcodes on products. The business expanded, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, he set up joint ventures in five of the former Eastern Bloc countries. They are still great success stories in their own right. Brian was recently married to his new wife, Lisa. He has a daughter, Jessica, that he adopted from Romania. They all live in London. This is his first book.
Brian’s bio demonstrates that he’s a natural storyteller. He instantly hooks readers with an anecdote about getting fired from his grandfather’s firm. He does a great job weaving together his business, life, and travel experiences to create an engaging bio that makes you want to learn more.
Need More Support?
If you’re struggling to write your author bio, you’re not alone. Many authors have a hard time figuring out how to promote themselves and their book in a way that feels authentic. But you don’t have to go it alone.
The Book Professor’s coaching programs can help guide you through the book writing, publishing, and promotion process step-by-step. Contact us to learn more about how we can support you throughout your book writing journey.