Every writer needs a biography. Knowing who you are makes readers comfortable and comfortable readers buy books. Your bio should be professional and communicate why you are the only person who could have written your book.
There has been a trend of late to write a biography like this:
Janet Jones eats cupcakes for breakfast, loves rollercoasters, and has three pet hens named King, Patterson, and Kenyon. When she’s not writing, she roller-skates in the moonlight.
While these types of bios might be amusing, they communicate nothing about the author or her credibility. Readers look at your bio because they want to know more about you, so give them the information that they want. If you want to do that in a fun and creative way, go for it. That is a great way to show off your writing style, but keep in mind that you want to be sure to communicate your expertise as well as any of your previously published works.
You’ll find a Promo Kit Creation Checklist in the Workbook to assist with this section.
When you are writing your bio, your main goal is to establish your credibility. What experiences drove you to write your book? Look at the bios of your favorite authors on Amazon and see what jumps out. The best thing you can do is model your biography after a successful author who’s had a professional write their bio.
(In addition to the tips here, there’s a Biography Questionnaire in the Workbook to help jumpstart your imagination.)
Introduce yourself as if you were meeting a stranger for the first time. People need to know who you are before you tell them what you do.
Start with the most current events in your life, and then work your way backwards. When someone looks at your bio, they are wondering who you are and why you wrote your book. Your most recent qualifications should be highlighted.
Your bio will be posted with your work, reviews and in your Social Media profiles so it should sound like someone else is talking about you.
Your keywords support your personal brand, so make sure you include them in your bio.
If you are having trouble, start big and then edit it to get the shorter versions.
Different sites have different requirements, so you should come up with three versions of your biographical information:
· A one liner
· One to Two paragraph(s)
· A page long version.(Approx. 250 words.)
Sometimes this super short bio is known as an elevator speech. If you’ve only got thirty seconds to tell someone about you and your writing, what would you say? Some examples:
James Scott Bell: Award Winning Suspense Author and #1 Bestselling Writing Coach
Jodi Picoult: Novels about family, relationships, love & more.
When you read both of these authors’ one-liners you know immediately what they write about and whether or not you’d be interested in pursuing more information about them.
This is a slightly longer version of the one liner. You can feature this one on the home page of your blog under your picture or at the bottom of a guest post on someone else’s blog. When you fill out your profile for Social Media sites, you’ll also want to use this short version as space is limited.
This should run you about 250 words total, and while you are writing it, think in terms of book jacket copy. You can expand on what you’ve previously written in your shorter bio. For the most part, your longer bio will probably be the most straightforward of the three, but it should still reflect who you are as a writer.
When you are writing this bio, ask yourself what you want to tell a potential reader about yourself. What is going to sell you as an author to your intended audience? Be sure to start strong by stating your qualifications as an author, include any awards if you have them and then anything in your background that is of importance. (For example, if your book is set in a bakery and you ran a cupcake company for the last 20 years.)
You should also include:
· Your education, particularly what is relevant to your book.
· Previously published works.
· Your life experience and hobbies.
· Any writing prizes, credentials or contests you’ve won.
· Where you live. It’s okay to choose a metro area so you aren’t revealing your exact location.
If you end up with a bio that is too long, edit for relevancy. If you write both fiction and non-fiction, you might want to have two different versions of your biography that concentrate on those areas.
Title your bio with your name and be sure to put your contact information at the bottom of the page. Once you have your bios written, send them out to a few friends and colleagues and get their feedback.
If you want to add interest to your bio, you can link out to your Social Media sites like your bookshelf on goodreads or boards on Pinterest. Both of those sites offer fun and interesting ways to interact with your readers and share a little of who you are.
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