Whether you’re writing a short paragraph to include in the back of your newly finished novel, or are revamping your website’s “About Me” page, it’s important that you don’t skimp on your author bio. An “About” page is one of the most visited pages on a website, second only to the homepage. And if your readers want to learn more about you, one of the first places they’ll look is the author bio that’s usually located at the end of a book, along with any links to a website or social media.
Read on for some tips on writing a memorable author bio that makes it easy for readers to connect with you and your work.
1) Think About Your Ideal Readers
This might sound counterintuitive but, when you’re drafting an author bio, the spotlight shouldn’t always be on you. You should also be considering your ideal readers and how best to engage with them. What do they want to know about you? What will drive them to buy more books from you? For example, readers of personal finance books might want to know about the author’s qualifications. Readers of romance might be more interested in learning about the author’s writing journey.
Whatever genre you write in, you should take the time to figure out who your ideal readers are and then craft content that specifically addresses their interests and needs. By doing this, your author bio will become infinitely more engaging and your intended audience will connect more easily with it.
2) Craft a Compelling Story
Rather than writing down a laundry list of degrees, jobs, and other miscellaneous facts in your author bio, focus on crafting a compelling story. Depending on your ideal audience, this story can illustrate how you became the writer you are today. For nonfiction authors, it can tell the story of how you became knowledgeable in your field. Again, it’s key to consider your ideal readers, here. What kind of story would engage them the most? For ideas on what kind of story to include in your author bio, consider the following questions:
- What unique skills do you bring to the writing community?
- Are there any experiences in your past that have significantly shaped you as a reader and writer?
- Why do the stories you have to tell matter?
- What are you passionate about? What do you stand for?
- How can your work benefit your readers?
By answering one or more of these questions in your author bio or “About” page, you are going deeper than just talking about your degrees or where you live. You are giving readers a reason to connect with you.
3) Talk About Your Accomplishments
An author bio is an excellent place to talk about your accomplishments, however, you shouldn’t go overboard. For shorter author bios (like the ones found in the backs of books), you should stick to only talking about a couple of recent and/or relevant accomplishments or awards, such as literary prizes. Additionally, you will also want to include your most recently published books.
For a larger “About” page on a website, you can definitely include a longer list, however, it shouldn’t overshadow the story you are trying to tell. Oftentimes, authors will have a separate awards page on their site so as not to over-clutter their “About Me” page. If you find that you have a long list of accomplishments and awards that you would like to share on your website, consider creating a separate page for it. That way, you can focus on sharing a compelling story without worrying about your readers going cross eyed over lengthy lists.
4) Choose the Correct Point of View
Shorter author bios (and sometimes even longer ones) are typically written in the third person. These are the kinds of bios that you find in the backs of books or after articles you read online. “About Me” pages on an author website are a bit different. They can be written in either the third person or the first person, however, more often than not, they are written in the first person, as this particular point of view creates a friendlier, more personal tone.
Whatever point of view you choose to write your author bio in, it’s important that you be yourself! Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. And don’t be afraid to have fun. Depending on your ideal readers, you might want to share some funny facts about yourself. You might even want to share a cute picture of your dog or cat (I mean, who doesn’t love pet pictures?). The key here is to stand out to your readers.
5) End With a Call To Action
Finally, it’s always a good idea to include a strong call to action at the end of your author bio. This could include links to:
- A newsletter sign-up form
- Your author website and social media pages
- The next book in a series you are writing
- A contact form or email address where readers can get in touch with you
With these kinds of calls to action, you are inviting readers to join your community and to fully engage with you and your work.
Back to you, writers! How do you make your author bio stand out? Let me know in the comments!
Manuela Williams is a Las Vegas-based writer and editor. She is the author of Ghost In Girl Costume, which won the 2017 Hard To Swallow Chapbook Contest. Her second poetry chapbook, Witch, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. When she’s not writing, Manuela is busy drinking coffee and spending time with her blind Pomeranian, Redford. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Pinterest.