Trying to write about yourself in only a few sentences is a lot easier said than done. But if you aren’t Toni Morrison or Stephen King, telling your audience who you are matters. If you want more readers adding your book to their shopping cart, you have to tell them why you’re the best person to write that book.
The gist of your biography should include your credentials, a spark of your personality, and the tone that fits your book’s language. Keep it short (like, only a few sentences) and in the third person. Honestly, your bio can still be killer if it’s less than 100 words.
Why you should spend time writing your bio
Most readers, especially advanced readers, are not looking for amateur authors. They will spend an extra few minutes reading your bio to ensure your credibility and feel confident that they won’t be wasting their time or money. Think of it as your second pitch (your first being the actual book description), one final gesture to reel them into purchasing. The author bio is your chance to connect with your readers and build trust. As you write your bio, ask yourself, Why should readers take me seriously?
Below is a more detailed description of what you should include in your author bio.
Again, your credentials will not only build your credibility but will also enhance your author brand and reputation. With only a little room to squeeze in your credentials, mention the most noteworthy ones: whether you’re a bestseller, have previous book titles, or have won any significant awards. If you were recognized by or worked with a household-name author, drop that in there. Even if your name isn’t highly known yet, highlighting your relationships can indicate your importance in the industry.
Do not, and we mean DO NOT, list all your accolades that leave the reader having to scroll through. Otherwise, the content will be skimmed and not fully absorbed. Instead, add all your credentials to your website—that’s the perfect place for them! But in your bio, keep your credentials to only a few.
If you don’t have any awards or recognitions (yet), don’t fret! Show your readers you’re capable by either noting your specialization in the book’s content—or the book in general—by highlighting your academic background, professional degrees, or previous writing experiences.
And if you’re a first-time author without any professional ties to writing or to the book’s theme, begin by stating why you decided to write the book. Find some connection from your life that inspired your creativity (for fiction) or interest in the topic (for nonfiction). If you feel you’re really stretching to meet this requirement, don’t do it. Instead, list any of your life accomplishments, even if they are unrelated to your book, to disclose that you’ve contributed to the world in some important way. As a last resort, you can describe a passion of yours or something that makes you happy. Say something that readers will care about!
Adding some personality
You’ll often see in an author bio a sentence about where the author resides, and if they’re married or have children. Giving a glimpse into your personal life can give an overall warmer tone and bring out the person behind the words.
Along with adding a bit of your personality, match your tone. If your book is fiction, you don’t have to use as formal a tone compared to a nonfiction book. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily need to state your PhD in physics if your book is a beach romance.
Your whole bio should be straightforward, but you can still be creative with it. Maybe get humorous or throw in a unique fact about yourself that could make readers laugh or smile, or even better, spark curiosity. Again, only put in information that your reader will care about. Ask yourself if you would want to know that about an author. Will people really be interested that you have two siblings named Sebastian and Carl?
To wrap up your bio, add your social media handles or website information. Since you only gave them a peek of who you are, direct them to where they can learn more about you.
Like with your book description, have your friends and family read your bio. Reach out to your writing network for assistance and read your favorite author bios to help you. And, lastly, don’t forget to keep updating your author bio when you accrue more of an author status and publish more books.
Let’s take a look at some examples that did the job right:
Mary Jo Hazard wrote Stillwater, a young adult book that delves into elements of mental health, so it’s only natural that she notes her professional background in therapy and her mission to counter the stigma attached to mental illness. This is a wonderful example of a bio that has only a few sentences, but is descriptive, engaging, and creative. And, a little bit of imagery gives us a taste of her writing style and tone.
Mary Jo Hazard, M.A., M.F.T., is a licensed psychotherapist, the author of three children’s books, and a contributor to Palos Verdes Peninsula News. She loves living on the Palos Verdes Peninsula—a place with crashing waves, rolling hills, and colorful peacocks in the trees. Mary Jo and her husband love traveling and spending time with their ten grandchildren. Her mission is to remove the stigma of mental illness and help others live their lives to the fullest.
Lori Orlinksky wrote Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All), a children’s book about a girl getting bullied for her height. That said, this bio has relevance (and humor) to the book’s subject. It quickly summarizes her career background and why she decided to write a book—all in three sentences!
Lori Orlinsky is a 5’ 1” (on a good day, with heels and big hair) writer, marketing director, and mom who lives in Chicago. She was inspired to tell this story after her own real-life experiences raising two little ladies. She wishes this story was around when she was growing up.
Philip Buckman is the author of Divorce Pool, a riveting fiction book that incorporates science and technology. Philip gives snippets of his life: from what he does daily, to an entertaining passion, and finally to a comedic fact about himself.
Philip Brent Buckman is an educator, musician, and author. An avid fan of science-fiction, Philip’s work focuses on the uncanny relationship between emotions and technology. He received a BA in History from Northern Arizona University and currently researches the impact of agriculture on the American Southwest. He also harbors a deep love for punk rock, having toured in the early 2000s as the one-man band I Hate You When You’re Pregnant. Philip puts peanut butter on nearly everything and lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his two daughters, Gemma and Ashley.
Ruby Silvious is the author of 363 Days of Tea, a photography book featuring photos of artwork made out of tea bags. Therefore, it makes sense why she would include that she’s an artist and that her work is 1) award winning and 2) featured in prestigious collections.
Ruby Silvious is a visual artist and graphic designer. Her recent work includes experimenting on recycled and found materials. Silvious was born in Tacloban City, Philippines and currently lives in the Hudson Valley, New York. Her award winning work has been exhibited internationally and is included in institutional and private collections.
And lastly, we have Mascot author Rocky Snyder who wrote Return to Center, a book about strength and conditioning. Because his book and its genre takes a more serious tone, so too does his bio. The majority of the paragraph outlines his outstanding experience in the field, and ends with a few words about him personally.
Rocky Snyder is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. He is a nationally recognized expert in human movement with nearly 30 years of professional experience and knowledge. Rocky has trained thousands of clients ranging from grandparents to professional athletes and Olympic champions. Aside from owning and operating his training studio in Santa Cruz, California, Rocky travels far and wide providing educational workshops to personal trainers, manual therapists, chiropractors, and physical therapists. He lives and surfs with his wife and two children in Aptos, California.
Ready to draft your author bio? Let us know how it goes at @MascotBooks on: