What is the purpose of an author bio?
When picking a novel off of the shelves, every reader needs to be convinced within the first fifteen seconds that it is a book they must purchase. A compelling book description certainly aids in that, but the description alone can’t convince a prospective buyer that you are a reliable author worth listening to. Therefore, every word you write needs to inspire, to weave a story that makes you an intriguing source of information.
As an author/speaker, I’ve written my Bio at least 50 times. I’ll also modify it slightly depending on what it is being used for, such as my Publisher bio versus my CEO bio versus my Author bio versus my Speaker bio. The more professional experience, accomplishments, awards and credentials you’ve acquired, the harder it is to structure a concise Bio. But in order to captivate the short attention span of the average person, it is essential to keep your Bio short and interesting.
If this task sounds daunting, fear not brave traveler! Below we have supplied several key steps to writing a Bio that will give you a clear idea of what your paragraph should look like.
What to Include in Your Bio
In order to convince your readers that you know what you’re talking about, you need to provide credentials. Share your professional history, such as any past careers, speaking audiences, major consulting clients, articles published, studies participated in, media credits and/or testimonials from respected people in your network. Let your audience know that you have the experience necessary to be a reliable author.
Cast humility aside and brag a little about yourself here! Share with readers any awards or recognition you have received in order to further establish your validity as an author.
Education and/or Degrees Attained
Finalize your credibility by writing about any degrees or universities you attended, or by writing about the ways in which you learned more about your topic outside of an educational institution. Prove that you know your stuff!
Unique Hobbies or Interests
Finally, after establishing yourself as a credible source, demonstrate to readers that you are a relatable and authentic person outside of the professional world—share your hobbies! What do you like to do with your free time? Are you a rampant chess player, or a proud owner of furry companions? Give readers an enticing sample of your personality.
Author Bio Formats
Given time, you will be asked to supply your Bio in multiple formats. Here are 3 starting places to ensure that you are ready when the flurry of activity starts.
This version will be used within articles (typically at the bottom). You’ll have other uses for a short bio.
This is your primary bio and will be used in most places, such as the back of the book or on your book jacket. It will also be on your Amazon Author Central page.
This is always a good starting point, where you work to get all your experience into one Bio. This version should tell the entire story.
A pro tip is to write your 250-word version first, then your 100-word version second, and the 25-word version last. By this time, you’ll be in the mindset of culling down your experience into one key part of your background that is compelling to complete strangers.
Key Strategies to Remember
Droning on about credibility can get boring fast—keep your audience captivated with a flourish of attitude or personality that will encourage them to continue reading. Additionally, lead with the most amazing things about you! Share what makes you special, distinct, and preferred right off the bat. Use intriguing vocabulary to solidify this feat.
Keep Your Desired Result in Mind
Be clear about what you want people to gain from your book. Showcase what’s in it for the reader—what is the desired result they should achieve by reading it? Offer a call to action at the end of your bio to encourage the reader to take action.
What to Avoid
As best you can, try to avoid the use of the word “I” when writing your author bio. Try this – when writing your Bio put yourself into a stranger’s shoes who does not know anything about you. What is in it for them to keep them reading?
A great professional Bio can do amazing things for your career as a writer, so enjoy the journey and make it sing.
Bryan Heathman is the CEO of Made for Success Publishing and the author of #1 Best Seller: Book Marketing Reinvented, a book written for authors to share the recipes for successful book launches. Bryan worked for three Fortune 10 companies and combines his marketing know-how with publishing to create best-sellers.