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How To Write An Effective Author Bio

How to Write an Effective Author Bio

Photo of Debbie Young at bookstall

Debbie Young shares ALLi' top tips on writing an author bio

Your author bio is an important hook to get your readers to engage with who you are as a writer as they decide whether to buy your books. Get the bio right, and your readers will feel an immediate connection and affinity for you that will predispose them to like your book too, and to choose your book rather someone else's.

This post brings together a collection of top tips shared by ALLi Author Members on our members-only Facebook forum (one of 21 membership benefits – click here to find out more about the rest of them!)

Make it short
This is an author bio, not an autobiography. Different outlets for your bio require different word counts. If you're asked for a specific word count, e.g. 50 words or a sentence, stick to it. For your Author Central profile, for example, try to keep it short enough not to require a “Read More” click. It can be useful to keep on file author bios of different word counts – 50, 100, 150, 200 etc – so it's easy to supply one when you're asked. Your author bio on your website may of course be as long as you like – but don't be tempted to make it longer than it needs to be, just because you can!

girl sitting writing on mountain

Only include your hobbies if they're relevant to your book (Image: Tyler Nix via Unsplash.com)

Keep it relevant
Only share details that fit you to write the book the author bio applies to. If you write across different genres, you will need different author bios for each genre. If you have a biographical detail that is precisely connected with the book – e.g. growing up on Christmas Island inspired you to write a murder mystery set there – that is a real bonus.

Make it appropriate
If you write humor, your author bio should be funny. If writing dark, make it more sinister. Match tone to genre, and the style of your bio to your writing style.

Don't overjustify yourself
If you're writing a book about catcare, readers don't want to know about your past career as a carpet salesman. Only include credentials that are relevant. If you're writing non-fiction and/or for academics, academic qualifications will add credibility to an author bio, but a PhD in Medieval Music will not help you sell your romantic comedy set on in a modern office.

Step into the reader's viewpoint
Would your author bio appeal to a reader who doesn't know you? What would interest your target reader? Include details that would be of most interest to the reader, not to yourself.

Check the competition
Visit the Author Central profiles of other authors in your genre on Amazon and see what you like or dislike about their author bios.

Don't hide your light!
Many authors, particularly at the outset of their career, are shy of sharing biographical info, thinking that readers won't be interested in them, but only in their books. In the internet era, readers expect to know something about the authors behind the books, and if you play too hard to get, you'll only risk alienating or disappointing them.

Stay safe
On the other hand, you don't need to reveal any more information than you want to or feel comfortable with. The fact that you have three children and four dogs won't make them buy your book. But sharing that info might make you worry about their privacy issues (well, maybe not so much for the dogs!)

Update it
It's scary how fast an author bio can become inaccurate, e.g. number of books published. Revisit it every few months to update it. You'll probably find, as I have done, that the more experienced you become as an author, and the more books you publish, the easier it'll become to write your author bio – and the shorter it will get, as you become more secure in your identity as an author, and feel less need to justify yourself.

With thanks to Aviya Carmen, Anna Castle, Ros Jackson, Tracie Podger, Ann Richardson, Karuna Sovoie, Louise Tondeur, Jo VanEvery, and Lisa White for sharing their top tips for writing an author bio 

OVER TO YOU Do you have any top tips or comments to add? Feel free to join the conversation via the comments box!

#Indieauthors - struggling to write your #author bio? Read these top tips from @indieauthoralli author members to help you get yours right! #bookmarketing Click To Tweet

From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive


This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. Thank you very much for your recommendations, they look very convincing. I actually liked your “don’t overestimate yourself “clause. As for me, this is very important, you need to understand who you are and not to invent unnecessary merits. Also, I think you need to understand why you write a biography of the author, if it is a summary of the spread of the book, it should be brief and enticing. Sometimes, an author’s biography sounds much better than his novel.
    The best thing is to create your website business card. Most likely you will have fans who want to know more about you or write a short report or a composition about you. Don’t hide information about you, writers are public people, aren’t they?:)
    All the best, writer on https://writercheap.com

  2. Oh the agony of writing an author bio. I honestly find writing about myself the hardest thing to do. I get as far as ‘Claire Jones is’ and then I have nothing. Nothing. Somehow it all sounds ridiculous. Must try harder.

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