If you’re anything like me and most of today’s western society, your attention span is about the size of a walnut’s. We seek instant gratification, entertainment, and a great story, and the author plays a part in how we perceive their work. And how do we “get to know” an author if all we have to go on is their book? Yup. Their bio.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I’d like you to ask yourself a couple of questions first. You don’t have to write down the answers, but consider them before you start formulating your bio.
- What kind of author are you? Do you write self-help books, horror, or romance novels? As cliché as it sounds, your bio should also coincide with your genre, and if you write multiple genres, you should create multiple author bios.
- Is it more important for your readers to relate to you on a personal level or a professional level? If personal, you can feel free to throw in a joke or two, or even be a little dark and twisty if you write horror or suspense. If professional, it will be more appropriate to keep it to awards and recognitions, although if you can work in something that makes people smile and feel good, that would be ideal.
Author Bio Basics
- It includes an author photo (professional vs. whimsical vs. mysterious depends on your genres and readers).
- It is written in third person (he, she, him, her).
- It is usually 1-3 paragraphs long.
Working from here, you would want to begin with an opening sentence such as, “JC Johnson was born in Germany and raised in numerous different places across the world.” From there, you can get into a couple of details about your writing accomplishments, or whatever accomplishments or experience helped you to write the book you’re creating this bio for. As far as writing credentials are concerned, this becomes more difficult as your writing career goes on because you will most likely have a number of published works. My recommendation is to choose three to five favorites and/or most recent that are appropriate to share with the readers of this particular book and may inspire them to go check out some of your other work.
After this, you can move on to a second paragraph that is maybe a little more personal. If you’re trying to make a professional impression while getting personal, you can go with something to the effect of, “She wrote this book in hopes that her experiences with domestic violence will help prevent future occurrences and inspire victims to find the strength to leave their abusers.” If you can get personal and not worry about it, then share whatever is most appropriate for your book and comfortable for you.
You can also do a closing sentence that might double as your one-sentence bio. “Author and coffee enthusiast with an appreciation for blood, mystery, and root beer floats.” After this, to close it out, you can add a somewhat typical, “She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her three kids, three cats, and a derpy dog named Thor.”
The most important part? Be yourself! If there's something interesting about you that you can add to your bio, please do. We are all unique and offer the world our unique perspectives based on nature and nurture combined, which leaves room for countless combinations of personality, character traits, and quirks ;). As Oscar Wilde said:
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
I hope that this short rundown of author bios helps you to get started with writing your own! If you’re ready to put your book’s publication on the fast track, be sure to check out my upcoming online course, No Bull! Self-Publish Your Kindle eBook in 1 Week.