You know (or you should know) who you are as an author. But is your author persona successfully coming across? Your readers want to learn about you. They need to understand why you’re interesting, unique, or qualified—why your books will be worth their time.
Writing an author bio is a task that even many big-name writers shy away from. But a well-crafted bio is the first step when connecting to your audience. It makes your personality and professionalism shine, and welcomes readers into your world.
In this article, you’ll discover how to craft an author bio that will impress readers and media professionals alike. We’ll teach you what key elements to add and what you should leave out. We will also show you some examples from the pros, so you can learn from the best.
So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to write a bio for the ages!
Your author biography (or your “About the Author” section) comprises your credentials, interests, and any relevant information about you that your audience will find interesting and compelling. It deepens the connection to your readers beyond just a byline.
Remember, your author bio is not a personal journal. Its point is to establish you as the kind of writer your target market ought to read. It builds trust. It’s essential you get it right.
First rule: Keep it short and simple. Make sure it covers the following:
- Who you are.
- What you write about.
- What makes you unique.
- Your major accomplishments.
- A couple of interesting, personable details or quirks (such as a hobby).
- Contact: website, email, links to your active social media profiles (active is the word).
- A link to your newsletter. Get that mailing list going!
An author’s reputation is consistently cited as one of the major factors that influence a book-buying decision. If readers recognize your authority as a writer, there’s a bigger chance they’ll not only buy your book, but also put it first in their reading list, and recommend it to their friends. However, unless you are a household name like J.K. Rowling, Tom Clancy, or Stephen King, no one will know who you are from the get-go.
Crafting a great author bio helps you build credibility, and helps your audience get a better sense of who you are, and more importantly, why they should care. It’s both your introduction, and a way to set yourself apart from other authors.
Your bio also plays a role when reaching the media. Media pros are time conscious. They won’t check every book and new author out there. A fascinating bio will help them understand why they should pay attention to you, and only you!
- At the back of all your books.
- On the inside flap of your book’s jacket (in a hardcover).
- On your website.
- On every online retailer where you have a presence: Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, etc.
- On your social media platforms (you might need a shorter version for some of them).
- On your press-kits.
You can (and should) have your bio ready in different lengths, but that doesn’t mean you need to write more than one. Remember, when building an author brand consistency is key.
If your reader sees a huge block of text below your “About the Author” section, there’s a big chance she will skip the whole thing. That means a potential connection that will never happen.
Keep your bio short and to the point. Don’t turn it into a book listing, a CV, or a sales pitch. Readers come to your bio for interesting and unique facts about your author persona. That should be your focus.
Anything below 150 words should be OK. Three to five paragraphs should do the trick. Longer than that, it may be time to get the scissors and trim away.
Even if you’re writing your own bio, imagine someone else is doing the work.
Don’t say: “I write chilling paranormal thrillers.”
But: “Ghostly McMist writes chilling paranormal thrillers.”
You might think crafting your author bio in the first person makes you more personable and fun. Wrong. Write your bio as an objective observer your readers can trust.
Abstract sentences based on your hopes and dreams signal a lack of confidence. Which sentence do you think states the author’s skill better?
a) "Johnny Microchip has always wished to be a cyberpunk writer."
b) "Johnny Microchip is a cyberpunk writer."
See the difference? If you’re writing an author bio, you already ARE an author. Get rid of any language that makes you seem doubtful, or apologetic. If you don’t believe you deserve the credit, your readers won’t either.
It’s important to establish your authority and expertise. Why would any reader trust your book’s any good otherwise? If you’re a bestselling author (New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, or even Amazon) or you’ve won a prestigious book award, that’s all worth mentioning.
That said, no one wants a long, shopping list of your credentials. Overstated accomplishments and awards will turn your readers off and make you look less credible. Pick wisely, based on the current state of your writing career.
If you are a first-time author, you might not have many credentials under your belt, unlike best-selling and award-winning veterans. You might feel you do not have a clear way to signal direct authority. You’re wrong. Just sit down and make a list of anything that gives you credibility, including life experience itself. Here’s an example:
Cupcake Rosewater is a cozy mystery author. Her days as a pastry chef’s assistant inspired her “Sweet-tooth Sleuth” series, a small-town mystery that revolves around a famous and eccentric wedding cake shop.
However, careful if you invent things to fake-establish your skill. In this day and age, most facts can be confirmed with quick search online. Honesty goes a long way.
You should share some of your passions and interests. Surely, mentioning a hobby or two will make you more relatable. However, don’t go overboard with personal details. When it comes to trivia and anecdotes, ask yourself these two questions:
- “Is this information interesting to my audience or only to me?”
- “Is this information about my author persona or my personal self?” Remember, they’re related but far from the same thing. Your author persona is your brand. Your bio is part of that brand.
- “Am I making myself less intriguing by oversharing?”
If you start getting into the weeds, it’s time to pick and choose the best bits, and discard the rest.
Did you have a fellow author or famous book reviewer say something nice about you? Great! If it’s short and to the point, you may use it to spice up your bio. Here’s an example:
Rose Valentine is a contemporary romance author [AUTHOR NAME] called “one of the steamiest narrators of the past ten years.”
Pull quotes are powerful but you should use them effectively and sparingly. Keep that ego in check! You don’t have to mention every successful author who has ever praised your work. Think of them as an extra brushstroke to define your interest as an author, and win your readers’ trust. And never, ever, misquote someone or twist their words to fit your needs.
Your author bio works as a business card and as a welcome mat. After you’ve caught your readers’ interest, it’s important you guide them to places where they can learn more, engage further, or purchase a book.
- Entice your readers to dig deeper into your world by visiting your website, blog, or social media group.
- Only link to those social media platforms where you are actually active, or actively growing. People want to follow you because they want to interact. Don’t send them to a wasteland.
- If you want to mention retailers that carry your books, point to your top 3, not all of them. If you overwhelm a reader with options, he’ll most likely choose none.
- Invite your audience to connect via your newsletter. Now that they like you, what better way to keep in touch?
In your books, you connect with readers through story, style, characters, and dialogue. These elements go hand in hand with your book’s genre. If you write mysteries, you focus on building suspense and keep the reader guessing. If Romance is your genre of choice, you’ll be using your writing toolbox to build heart-pumping sexual tension. It’s both what you write and how you write it.
Those are the same tools you should smartly use when crafting your author bio. Word choice matters. The words, sentence structure, and tone you use in your bio will reveal many things about you. Anything you write, bio included, will always show your underlying sentiments about life. And that’s what gets readers excited.
Your bio should match your book’s genre, tone, and target audience. If your author bio reflects your books main thematic elements, you will be strengthening the connection between the two. Tell your readers what attracts you to your genre, what influences you to pursue a story and not another. If you think about it, I’m sure there are tons of personal tidbits you can use to make your case!
Also, write your bio with your target audience in mind. Get to know them. Speak directly to them by relating to views, values, and ideals you both cherish. Build trust by showing them what you have in common.
For example, Glynnis Campbell writes historical romance. In her bio, she talks about how she loves to play the role of a matchmaker, and how she does her best writing on cruise ships, Scottish castles, and in her sunny garden—all things that are appealing to her potential readership.
Translating your author bio into other languages can have amazing benefits, especially if you’re targeting a global market for your books. A good translation:
- Will convey your personality better for your readers in their mother tongue.
- Will build better emotional connections with them.
- Will show them you care.
Translators can help you nail the correct tone as they can leverage the innate meaning of local words and phrases, making your bio just as engaging as it is in English. A quick online search will bring you tons of possibilities in different price ranges. You can also use a freelancer services website like Fiverr.
You might get away with a quick translation using software, such as Google Translate. But be aware that the language might sound a bit stiff or even not fully correct. If you have someone who can double check it for you before you post, such as a friend, we recommend you do so.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don’t read (or write) romance, and if you watch reruns of the game show The Weakest Link, you might catch her winning the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys. Still, she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before a code.
In 2020, Netflix will premiere Bridgerton, based on her popular series of novels about the Bridgerton family.
Find her on the web at www.juliaquinn.com.
Word count: 120.
Laurelin Paige is the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching edgy black comedy on Netflix, or dreaming of Michael Fassbender. She’s also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn’t do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio.
You can connect with Laurelin on Facebook at facebook.com/
LaurelinPaige or on Twitter @laurelinpaige. You can also visit her website, laurelinpaige.com, to sign up for emails about new releases. Subscribers also receive a free book from a different bestselling author every month.
Word count: 136
Seanan McGuire is a native Californian, which has resulted in her being exceedingly laid-back about venomous wildlife, and terrified of weather. When not writing urban fantasy (as herself) and science fiction thrillers (as Mira Grant), she likes to watch way too many horror movies, wander around in swamps, record albums of original music, and harass her cats.
Seanan is the author of the October Daye, InCryptid, and Indexing series of urban fantasies; the Newsflesh trilogy; the Parasitology duology; and the “Velveteen vs.” superhero shorts. Her cats, Lilly, Alice, and Thomas, are plotting world domination even as we speak, but are easily distracted by feathers on sticks, so mankind is probably safe. For now.
Seanan’s favorite things include the X-Men, folklore, and the Black Death. No, seriously. She writes all biographies in the third person, because it’s easier that way.
Word count: 139
Malorie Cooper likes to think of herself as a dreamer and a wanderer, yet her feet are firmly grounded in reality.
A “maker” from an early age, Malorie loves to craft things, from furniture, to cosplay costumes, to a well-spun tale, she can’t help but to create new things every day.
A rare extrovert writer, she loves to hang out with readers and people in general. If you meet her at a convention, she just might be rocking a catsuit, cosplaying one of her own characters, or maybe her latest favorite from Overwatch!
She shares her home with a brilliant young girl, her wonderful wife (who also writes), a cat that chirps at birds, a never-ending list of things she would like to build, and ideas…
Word count: 149
Jamie Davis is a nurse, retired paramedic, author, and nationally recognized medical educator who began teaching new emergency responders as a training officer for his local EMS program. He loves everything fantasy and sci-fi and especially the places where stories intersect with his love of medicine or gaming.
Jamie lives in a home in the woods in Maryland with his wife, three children, and dog. He is an avid gamer, preferring historical and fantasy miniature gaming, as well as tabletop games. He writes LitRPG, GameLit, urban, and contemporary paranormal fantasy stories, among other things. His Future Race Game rules were written to satisfy a desire to play a version of the pod races from Star Wars episode 1.
He loves hearing from readers and going to cons and events where he meets up with fans. Reach out and say “hi.” Visit JamieDavisBooks.com for more books, free offers and more!
Word count: 149
Jami Albright is a born and raised Texas girl and is the multiple award-winning author of The Brides on the Run series—a fun, sexy, snarky, laugh-out-loud good time. If you don’t snort with laughter, then she hasn’t done her job.
She is also a wife, mother, and an actress/
comedian. She used to think she could sing until someone paid her to stop. She took their money and kept on singing.
Jami loves her family, all things Outlander, and puppies make her stupid happy. She can be found on Sundays during football season watching her beloved Houston Texans and trying not to let them break her heart.
Jami loves to hear from readers. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Word count: 119