A well-written author bio is an essential element of a book marketing campaign. In some cases, a good author bio may encourage someone to pick up your book and read it instead of the next one on the shelf. But writing an author bio isn’t necessarily as simple as writing an About Me page on a website. It’s important to consider not only what you want to include but also how you want to present yourself in terms of your author-brand strategy (and yes, when you become a writer, you naturally become a brand).
Following a few simple tips when writing your author bio can help you strengthen it and make it stand out so that you’re setting yourself up for as much success as possible.
1. Write More than One Version
You should have a longer-form author bio for your website and media kits, a shorter version for other marketing material, and a very brief one to introduce yourself on social media. You should also experiment with several approaches before you settle on a final style. (You can even splice the best parts of each version together!)
2. Write in the Third Person
A first-person bio automatically evokes skepticism, regardless of how humble and modest you try to be. You writing a summary of yourself is not nearly as reliable as a third party writing about you. Even though most people will understand you have written your bio, third-person style reads more comfortably and professionally.
3. Keep it Short
A reasonably-sized paragraph of 250-300 words is what you should write. Be careful not to compose a second book about your life. Brevity is the soul of wit — and also the best way to hold your audience’s attention.
4. Focus on Your Writing
Start by writing about your work; cater to your genre and make people interested in what you have to say. Leave your birthday and the names of your kids for the end of the bio. Personal touches are acceptable when tactfully limited and well placed. Writing a bio is a bit like writing a news story – the most important, relevant information needs to come first.
5. Reference Relevant Awards and Credentials
Awards that pertain to your writing are normally relevant. If you have many and some are older, you only need to reference the newer ones. Also, if you’re writing a non-fiction book, your credentials related to the subject you’ve written about are also great facts to include in your bio.
6. Update Your Bio as Your Career Develops
Treat your bio as you would a specialized resume; keep it updated with the most recent, relevant information for the book you’re publishing.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Add a Creative Touch
Author bios are important, but it doesn’t mean they need to be boring. As a writer, you are no doubt familiar with expressing things in your own unique, interesting way. Don’t shy away from that approach when writing your bio any more than you would when writing your book itself.
A well-written author bio is an asset to book publicity campaigns and your marketing overall. People say about you what you say about yourself, so take the time to write an interesting, relevant bio that summarizes you and your author brand. Modesty is virtuous but some amount of tactful self-promotion is required to sell books. A strong author bio is a cornerstone of effective book marketing.