With almost two million ebooks on Amazon, authors can get lost in the sea of books available to readers.
Because you are competing for readers’ attention, it’s important to have a compelling and interesting author bio. Unless you’re a household name, how are prospective readers going to learn about you on the worlds largest platform?
Your author bio is the framework for your reputation and credibility as an author. It is the place for you to introduce yourself to your readers and offer them other ways to explore your work.
Many more people will read your bio than they will your books, but you can shift those percentages in your favor by impressing potential readers from the get-go.
A sub-par author bio can quickly turn off readers — so consider your bio as your first impression and perhaps the only source for new readers to find out about you.
Because you must fight for the attention of your reader, it’s important to learn how to write an author bio that effectively grabs their interest and communicates why the reader should consider your books.
You want to spark a small connection with readers that can impact sales of your books and win them over as repeat buyers.
How to write an author bio: 8 tips that are sure to set you apart from your competition.
1. Less is more.
Especially if you have a lot of credentials or a lengthy resume of experience, it is important to touch on the most distinctive parts of your background and leave the rest for those who want to do further research on you.
People are not likely to read a long paragraph that details everything you have done to master your craft. Instead, pick the end goals that you have achieved and say them quickly and succinctly. People will get the point.
2. Write in the third person.
When you write in the third person, it feels like someone else is sharing your success and accomplishments. It makes it a lot easier for you to toot your own horn (briefly) and seems more authoritative to the reader.
Saying something like, “Joe is a first-degree black belt and has won over a hundred awards,” sounds much less off-putting than, “I’m a first-degree black belt, and I’ve won over a hundred awards.”
3. What are your books about?
If you are writing business books, your readers don’t need to know about the week you spent in the Ashram in India (unless your business is Ashrams).
Your book niche and topics should be your guidepost for what goes in your bio. If you write self-improvement topics, then stick to information related to self-improvement, which is clearly the interest of the reader. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be reading your bio.
You may have scads of experience in a wide variety of areas, but be tight and focused with the information you share in your author bio so your readers don’t start yawning and click away.
Take a look at Steve Scott’s bio and how he clearly informs readers what his books are about.
“Build a Better Life – One Habit at a Time” Getting more from life doesn’t mean following the latest diet craze or motivation program. True success happens when you take action on a daily basis. In other words, it’s your habits that help you achieve goals and live the life you’ve always wanted. In his books, S.J. provides daily action plans for every area of your life: health, fitness, work and personal relationships. Unlike other personal development guides, his content focuses on taking action. So instead of reading over-hyped strategies that rarely work in the real world, you’ll get information that can be immediately implemented. When not writing, S.J. likes to read, exercise and explore the different parts of the world Learn more by scrolling down the page and check out his books on developing positive daily habits…”
4. Humbly signify your authority.
Author reputation is a significant factor in a reader’s decision about purchasing a book. If you present yourself (legitimately) as an authority on your book topic, readers will be much more inclined to buy your book.
Mention any relevant credentials that you have, such as professional degrees, training, or experiences that make it clear that you know what you are talking about. This helps convince the reader that they should listen to you and trust you as an authority.
Just be sure it’s relevant information. Your scuba-diving certification won’t impress your readers perusing your marketing books.
If you are writing fiction, mention any career awards, numbers of books sold, or other accomplishments that may set you apart from authors in your genre.
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And again, less is more. If you have a string of credential and awards (good for you!!), choose the most relevant few to include. No one has time to read through a lengthy list of your accomplishments.
You can always include a link to your blog or website, with a statement like, “To learn more about Barrie Davenport, please visit liveboldandbloom.com/about.
5. Fiction writers can get personal.
If you are writing fiction, include some info about any relevant experience you’ve had related to your genre. For example, if you are writing crime novels, and you were once a detective or attorney, be sure to mention that.
If your story relates to a real-life experience, mention the inspiration for your book.
For fiction writers, offering more personal information in your bio can be a good strategy, as your readers enjoy getting to know you. Allow your personality to shine through so your readers feel connected to you and your books.
A good example is this bio from romance author Laurelin Paige:
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 Game of Thrones and the Walking Dead, 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 and a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate in a monthly drawing.
Non-fiction writers can also share some personal information in a line or two within the bio. But keep it short and sweet, as non-fiction readers are generally looking for solutions or inspiration and aren’t as interested in your personal life as much they might be with a fiction author.
6. Remember that the author bio is about your reader.
While the author bio should highlight your credentials and experience, it is important to remember that your bio is primarily about your reader.
You are communicating to your audience what they should expect to learn and gain from reading your work. This is especially true for non-fiction writers.
While you are trying to sell yourself, your goal is to align with your reader’s interests and needs so they will feel like they not only relate to you but also gain from your insight.
Make it clear that you are writing for your readers and not for yourself. Writing and publishing books is a business, and you are trying to capture a section of the market and keep those readers coming back for more.
Take a look at Barrie’s author bio to see how she focuses her bio information on her readers needs:
Improving your life requires more than inspirational words and motivating concepts. Too many personal development books give you great ideas but don’t show you how to apply them. What you need (and what Barrie provides) are proven actions that work — each designed to help you solve a specific life challenge or problem. Barrie writes books for a variety of people hungry for positive change and willing to take action to make it happen — men and women who want better relationships, stronger confidence, positive habits, more mindfulness, and improved emotional intelligence. What makes Barrie’s books different is her ability to explain complex ideas and science-back strategies in a simple, accessible way you can implement right away. Barrie is a certified coach, top-ranked blogger, and online teacher. Barrie lives in Asheville, NC and enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and spending time with her family. Want to know more? Then scroll down the page and check out the different Books Barrie has published .
7. Name dropping is good.
Name dropping is can be irritating and obnoxious. However, if no one really knows who you are, it can boost your credibility in your author bio to mention some well-known and respected people or media outlets that have featured you.
For example, if a celebrity or household name has given you praise, be sure to mention that. If people can relate you to another author that they already enjoy, they will be more likely to buy your work.
Also, if you have had the opportunity to work with any well-known people or have appeared on television programs, use this effective tactic to boost your credibility.
What matters most is that you only use someone else’s name if it makes sense in your bio, and you are not using it in a gratuitous way.
Here are a couple of examples.
From Tim Ferris’s bio:
Tim has been featured by more than 100 media outlets including The New York Times, The Economist, TIME, Forbes, Fortune, Outside, NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox and CNN.
From Danielle LaPorte’s bio:
A speaker, a poet, a painter, and a former business strategist and Washington-DC think tank exec, Entrepreneur Magazine calls Danielle, “equal parts poet and entrepreneurial badass…edgy, contrarian…loving and inspired.”
8. Use your bio to build your email list.
Your author bio will be seem by many people who may not buy your book right away. But these readers could develop into buyers down the road. The best way to cultivate repeat buyers is by getting them on your email list.
Be sure you have a lead magnet (free gift in exchange for an email address) that you can offer those who visit your author page. Invite potential readers to download your free gift, and you can continue to reach out to them when you publish new books or want to keep them updated, informed, or inspired.
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Here’s a great example from author Patrick King:
Visit WWW.PATRICKKINGCONSULTING.COM for FREE access to (1) The Flawless Interaction Checklist and (2) The Better Conversations Worksheet and also view more of his writing.
Patrick King is a Social Interaction Specialist and Conversation Coach based in San Francisco, California. He’s been featured in: GQ Magazine, TedX, Forbes, NBC News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Men’s Fitness, Inc., ATTN, Real Simple Magazine, and Creative Live. When he’s not helping clients conquer the world, he’s either fronting an 80′s cover band or training for his next 10k.
Spend the time crafting your author bio page with as much attention as you craft your books. It may seem like an insignificant marketing tool, but a thoughtfully written bio will help you sell books. It is an important part of building a long-term business around writing books.