Question: How often have you scanned a back cover, specifically to check out the author’s credentials? If your answer is “all the time,” you’re among the majority. If you don’t think you do, chances are that you’ve measured a book’s value against other factors, such as price, return on investment, and good ole fashion worthiness–all linked to an author’s cred.
This is why your author bio has to be good. Not only good, but effective. A bio that doesn’t stamp your book as reliable hasn’t done its job. Your bio offers opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.
Consider your author bio, important in these three key ways:
1) It promotes you
2) It promotes your writing career
3) It promotes other endeavors you might be selling (i.e. a business, future books, blog, or cause)
Lead with Your Goods — Who are you?
An outstanding author bio begins with experience. It also explains who you are. Have you written other books? How many? Do you have any works published? Are you the leading expert in your field? For how long? What’s your claim to fame? Is it your blog? Your business? You want to show first and foremost that you’re qualified to write your book.
For fiction that means establishing that you’ve published other works or that you’re at least a longtime writer. For nonfiction, establish the number of years in your field, an established business, or notoriety of any kind that validates your expertise.
Ex. Jane Smith is the award-winning author of That’s So Awesome.
Ex. Mark Smith published his first novel in 1983.
Ex. Maggie Jones’ is a writer whose work has been featured in The Southern Fiction Journal and Mulberry Bush.
Ex. John Do is a leading health and wellness expert for twenty-two years. He’s also a speaker and the voice behind the acclaimed blog www.getgoodtoday.com
Ex. Nadine Provo has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels for more than fifteen years.
Ex. Cal Roberts is the CEO and Founder of Live Today, Inc, a non-profit that designs wellness programs for senior citizens.
List Your Awards/Rewards
After you’ve established who you are, next comes the bragging. Have you won awards? Has your company or blog? This is also a good time to mention your Ph.D, MBA, or other exceptional accolades that are relevant to your book audience. You should also mention if you’ve appeared or been featured in the media.
Ex. She was selected as an emerging writer by the prestigious Creative Writer’s League and she holds an MFA from New York University.
Ex. His book Morning Moon was awarded Best Fiction by New Book Magazine.
Ex. Her work has been featured in Forbes, Time, and the StarTribune
Ex. He has worked with several Fortune 500 companies including Merrill Lynch, Best Buy, and PepsiCo.
End with a Personal Detail
It doesn’t hurt to end with a personal detail such as where you live, your spouse’s name, or reference your children.
- Keep your bio to 150 words or less
- If you need a longer bio pull it into the book — don’t overwhelm the back cover
- Leave out details that don’t sell your book
- Don’t forget your website address