Your author bio can help make or break your writing career. Follow these simple steps to write a compelling bio that will not only help sell your current book but also create interest in future projects.
An author spends countless hours working on a project. There is joy and relief when the main content of the book is completed. Yet, there is still much work to be done!
The finishing aspects of your book will require the same focus and attention to detail as your content. Don’t overlook the importance of cover design, front book material, back of book synopsis, sales copy, etc.
Unless you are being published by a traditional publisher, you will have to do much of this work yourself. Paid access to our Christian Writer’s Club will walk you through the process of writing a book from start to finish with coaching along the way. Access is limited. Sign-up here for updates.
One of the most underestimated, elements of the book writing process is the author biography.
The author bio allows people to get to know you, establishes your authority, explains why they should listen to what you have to say, and helps you sell your products.
A well-written bio (with minor changes) will be used on your website, in sales copy, and in future products.
These principles can be adapted for use in projects other than books as well. Compare your existing biographical information on websites, brochures, etc. with the tips below.
1. Write in Third Person.
The bio should be “about you” instead of written by you. Any author that doesn’t have a staff or publicist will probably write their own bio. That’s industry standard. However, people tend to trust a bio more if it sounds like it was written by someone else.
Use phrases like “he went to” and “she has written” instead of “I went to” or “I have written.”
2. Humbly Signify Your Authority.
Your bio tells prospective readers why they should listen to you. They could choose a variety of books by various authors on your subject. Why should they read yours?
Many people will assume that you wrote your own bio. Everyone will know that you approved it for publication. The key is to be informative without coming across as proud or braggadocios.
State facts without overselling. Include your education and experience. Provide applicable credentials that bolster your authority on the subject of the book.
It’s ok to drop some relevant names. If you have worked for or with well-know people or companies, you should include that info. If a leader on the subject said something relevant about you that could be included as well.
Again – Be informative without coming across as proud. It can be a fine line. Ask others to read over your bio and get their input before you publish it.
3. Write The Bio For Your Reader.
The bio is “about” you, but it is not “for” you. Write it for your reader.
Communicate what they can expect to learn and gain from reading your material. Give them a compelling reason to read the book.
Every line should be written with prospective readers in mind. Who are you? Why should they listen to you? Would they like to get to know you more? How can you help them? What transformation can they expect from reading the book?
4. Mention Your Family.
Personal information humanizes you to people who don’t know you. Include general information about your family, where you live, etc. You can even add a hobby if you wish.
Don’t give out your home address, telephone, etc. Your contact info should be sanitized for business. A P.O. box at your local post office and a free business phone number from Google Voice are sufficient.
If you give too much personal info, you might earn a stalker or two!
5. Share A Memorable Personal Fact.
Give the reader something to remember about you. While this element is not necessary, sharing it gives you an anchor in the prospective reader’s mind.
Do you have a unique skill? Have you accomplished something rare? Do you live in an exotic location? Be creative.
6. Keep It Short And Sweet.
Don’t get wordy. Keep the writing tight.
A bio on a website can be much longer. Bios included in books, products, and sales copy should be short and sweet.
7. Include Your USP.
Think through your personal Unique Selling Proposition. This concept will be covered more thoroughly in a future post.
Your USP should be no more than 2-3 sentences that identify your audience and explain how you can help them. It clarifies what makes you different than the competition and identifies the expected result of your tutelage.
Most people buy non-fiction books looking for transformation. Explain how they will be changed because of your influence or product.
8. Hook, Grab and Hold.
Make sure there is a hook in your bio. Just because the bio is short doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be powerful.
Use this writer’s adage. Hook, grab and hold. What does that mean? Hook the reader. Grab their attention. Hold it until your message is delivered.
Give the reader something to remember.
9. Include Your Website and Social Media Information.
Every author should have a website. It doesn’t need to be extravagant or expensive, but it must exist. Your website becomes your online base for future works.
Social media networks are not enough. Social media can help you, but don’t trust the fickle corporate overlords with your future.
Choose 2 platforms that fit your style and personality. Master those before you add a new one.
PRO TIP: Choose ONE social media handle that is available for all the platforms you want to use. This simplifies your branding and marketing. If at all possible, avoid having multiple handles for the same brand.
Include your website and social media info in your bio. This allows people to follow you and become part of your tribe.
10. Add A Lead Magnet To Build Your Email List.
Finish your bio with a call to action.
Your author bio may be seen by people that won’t immediately buy your book. Also, readers that you have helped will want more content from you in the future.
A lead magnet is a free gift that you offer in exchange for an email address. Typically, it is a free download that would be interesting to your core audience. This gift could be a guide, report, list, sneak peek at a product, or ebook.
Invite people to download your gift so you can keep in touch with them. Building your email list is the best way to turn potential audience into fans.
Don’t underestimate the importance of your author biography. It is a powerful tool that can make or break your personal brand as an author.
These tips can be modified to create a professional bio for any position or product. Give it a try.
Get started formulating your compelling bio today!
What was the most helpful tip to you? Leave a comment below.