You’ve done the hard part. You’ve written your novel, self-edited it, and sent it off to a professional editor (hopefully, a Fictionary Certified StoryCoach Editor—wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
Now it’s time to write your author bio.
My what now?
That’s right! You’re going to have to talk about… *gulps* yourself.
But Shane, you cry in a fit of writerly existential angst, what exactly is an author bio, and what do I put in it? Honestly, I’m pretty boring, and people don’t really want to know about me, do they?
Au contraire, my author chum!
But fear not. By the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll be able to write your author bio with confidence and ease.
Is an Author Bio Important?
In a word, yes.
Unless you’re a mega-famous author like Stephen King or Nora Roberts, nobody is going to know who you are and (more crucially) what you write unless you tell them.
Your author bio is a great tool for sharing the key facts (and personal tidbits) readers need to know about you before deciding whether they know, like, and trust you enough to buy you books.
Let’s get into the nuts and bolts of all things author bio.
What Should an Author Bio Include?
Your author bio should include:
- The Essentials: Readers need to know who you are and what you write, because if you write fantasy and they read romance, you’re not the right fit, and you want to attract all the fantasy readers
- Successes, Qualifications and Accolades: This is not a spot to humble-brag, because no-one likes that, but you should mention one or two key achievements to help build credibility with readers
- Personality: Share something personal with the reader, and give them a taste of what makes you, well… you
Now you know the what, let’s check out the how, and put your author bio together.
5 Tips for Writing a Compelling Author Bio
Tip #1: Less is More
The trick to crafting a great author bio is to keep it brief. Remember, your author bio gives the reader a snapshot of your author-self and should get them interested in reading your books.
Readers attention spans are short.
Want a challenge?
See if you can condense your author bio down to 100 words.
You can stop glaring daggers at me now.
You should be able to tell readers everything they need to know in 100 words. Remember, this is not war and peace. If you want to sell yourself make it short and snappy.
Save the mammoth word counts for your novels.
Tip #2: Write in Third Person
While you would think writing your author bio in the first person draws readers in by giving it that intimate touch, using first person here just looks strange.
Go look up all the best-selling traditional and indie-published authors in your genre and you’ll see they write their author bios in third person. Readers are used to seeing third person author bios. In other words, they trust a third person author bio.
And readers buy books from authors they know, like and trust.
Tip #3: Start with the Essentials
Like I said up top, your bio should open with who you are and what you write.
Here’s an example from mystery and thriller author Tom Fowler:
“Tom Fowler was born and raised in Baltimore and still resides in Maryland. He is the author of the C.T. Ferguson mysteries and the John Tyler thrillers, both of which are set in his home city.”
In two simple sentences, Fowler tells us who he is and what he writes.
Tip #4: Highlight Successes Without Bragging
What successes have you had in life, and how can you relate those to your books? Remember, the key is to mention one or two successes without resorting to a humble-brag.
Here’s an example from thriller and non-fiction author Joanna Penn:
“Joanna has a Masters in Theology from the University of Oxford, Mansfield College, and a post-graduate diploma in Psychology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand.”
Penn’s fiction is packed with religion and psychology, so these qualifications are relevant to her work.
Tip #5: Show Some Personality
This one is key.
You’re not a corporate robot writing a dry report for your bureaucratic manager. You’re an author. A creative. And, yes, writing a compelling author bio can—and should—be creative.
To close your author bio, tell the reader a little something about you, and show off your personality. This will help you connect with like-minded readers.
Here’s an example from YA fantasy and non-fiction author Sacha Black:
“When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.”
Black’s brand is all about being a rebel author, so this line works perfectly.
Can you see how, by following a simple structure, you can write a compelling author bio guaranteed to attract the right readers?
- Tell readers who you are and what you write
- Share a couple of awards, qualifications or accolades to build credibility, but don’t humble-brag
- Add in some personality to make your author bio fun and engaging.
What are you waiting for?
Go forth and write your compelling author bio!
About Shane Millar
Shane Millar is a Fictionary Certified Story Coach and the author of the Write Better Fiction craft guides. He is also the author of the Myth & Magic and Chosen Vampire urban fantasy thriller series.
Shane holds a BA in journalism and is a member of The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). He lives in Buckinghamshire, England.
He has taken too many writing courses to count and enjoys reading as much as possible. Shane is obsessed with five things: the writing craft, mythology, personal development, food, and martial arts movies.
Want to hire Shane to edit your novel? Visit: https://swmillar.com/editing