Self-publishing can be a little overwhelming at first—you have to take care of many small details without the support of a publishing company.
Drafting, editing, proofreading, cover design, page formatting, you’ll get to oversee all of these, and more!
One part of your book that’s easy to overlook when you first start publishing is your author bio. You usually see the author’s bio on the back dust jacket flap of print books: it’s that little blurb that tells the reader a little bit about the author as a person.
A memorable author bio is really important because it connects you—your name, image, and brand—to your work.
As you continue to self-publish, a quality author bio will help readers become more invested in reading more of your work and following your writing.
Here are five steps that will help you write a standout author bio for your self-published books!
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#5: Brainstorm the Tone
Your author bio is a part of your brand and your marketing. It shares the ideal image you want people to see of you as a writer.
Crafting the appropriate tone for a bio is important for novelists, poets, and “creative” writers, but it’s especially important when you’re writing as an entrepreneur.
Before reading your book, readers can check your bio to see that you are an experienced, knowledgeable, and reliable source. After reading, the bio is a reminder to look you up, check out your other work, and follow your professional social media.
Your bio should always be professional, and written in the third person, but it can have a personal twist to fit the right tone. Branding yourself as a technical wizard in online entrepreneurship will be different from branding yourself as an enthusiastic life-coach.
Decide the tone of your branding first, and then put it to words!
#4: Start with Your Profession
People want to know what you do—especially when you write nonfiction!
Bringing up your professional background gives readers a sense of your technical expertise and can show you know what you’re talking about. It’s also an opportunity to bring up your business or any projects that you’ve been involved in.
Instead of simply stating “Jane Doe is a real estate agent and author from New York”, you can add some neat details with more personality:
“Jane Doe is a real estate agent and author with eleven years of experience selling homes in the Brooklyn neighborhoods where she grew up.”
It’s still one sentence long, but it tells the reader a whole lot more about you as a professional!
#3: Mention Your Other Work
If you’ve written other books—or if you write a blog or newsletter—bring it up! If a reader enjoyed your work, you can bet they’re excited to find more of your writing.
Don’t be afraid to hype your previous work. You were #1 on the Amazon Kindle Store for books on wellness coaching? Say it! A reviewer listed your book as one of the best on content marketing in 2020? Let the world know!
Don’t have a writing portfolio built up yet? That’s fine! There’s no shame in proudly announcing that you’ve published your debut book!
If you’re only just starting your authorial career, mention a little fact about what inspired you to start writing. Maybe your friends, family, or even your clients said they could use a book with all your know-how in it!
#2: Close With Your Passions
You’ve told the reader all about your experience and your other work. What’s left? Try sharing a little bit more about yourself!
Interesting details about your life, your hobbies, and your passions make you more than just an image on a dust jacket. Simple, memorable facts make you stand out and readers will be more likely to remember your name.
Maybe you are on a quest to master as many musical instruments as possible, or maybe you speak three different languages! Do you travel abroad every summer? What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Many authors will end on these personal, memorable details for the end of their bio, where they’ll stick in the reader’s mind.
If it hasn’t come up already, this is the perfect spot to note the city or state where you operate, and to give a shout out to your spouse, family, and even your beloved pets.
That said, you don’t want to give away too much information about your personal life. Unless something deeply personal is connected to the topic of the book, stick to fun trivia about your hobbies and interests.
#1: Create Three Bios for Different Platforms
So, you’ve got a bio now. It covers your professional experience, your written work, a little bit about your personal life, and you’ve written it with a specific tone in mind.
Awesome! That’s all, right?
Not quite! Author bios can appear in many different places. The most obvious is on the back of your book, but you can also have an author bio for:
- Your website
- Press releases
- Media kits
- Guest spots and interviews
Some of these materials can be longer, and others might be shorter.
Ideally, you should have three standard author bios: long, medium, and short.
With 3-4 sentences using the outline above, you’ve already got a nice medium-length bio for your book jacket, your queries page, and a guest bio on podcasts and blogs.
Your long bio can be 1-2 short paragraphs, going into greater detail and talking about your skill set, background, and qualifications in more detail. This is the bio that you should use for your personal website, or when you’re submitting proposals and marketing kits for projects.
Finally, your short bio should be really short. Like, a couple sentences at most. This is for your social media accounts, Twitter posts, and bylines.
Take what you’ve already prepared then add and subtract from the content until you’ve got three fantastic author bios for all your publishing needs!
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