Bios - where to start? Literally and figuratively, author bios can be difficult to figure out. To help you out, we’ve laid down four straightforward steps you can take on your personal journey to craft the perfect author bio.
Tell a story
Your author bio is essentially an elevator pitch about your life; in order to be effective, it needs to get the relevant information across in an engaging way. So don’t start listing facts and expect readers to care for very long!
Look up examples of author bios, keeping in mind which ones inspire you and which ones have you falling asleep after three words. Think about what you’ve accomplished, and figure out how much you want to include in your “story.” Chances are, you’ve done some pretty amazing things already, and if you incorporate them as a good writer would, you’ll have readers coming back for more before they’ve even read your book.
For example, try starting with a strong intro sentence, then tell the reader what you do, why you’re qualified to do it, and then add a personal touch that makes you stand out from the rest. If you want, you can include a call to action at the end to give readers a way to continue learning more about you and your work.
Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about your readers
This may seem counter-intuitive. It is your bio, after all, right? Well, yes, but you already know all this information about yourself -- you’re not writing this bio for you. You’re writing it to address what your readers want to know.
Understanding that your bio is for your readers will keep you from putting in those little details that no one really cares about, like where you went to middle school or how many states you’ve visited. Of course, if you can find a way to make those facts interesting or humorous, by all means put them in. But try to approach your book and your bio from the reader’s perspective and ask yourself, “what would I want to know about the author after reading their book?”
Find the line between over-selling and under-selling
While it’s important to brag about yourself in your bio, you don’t want to make wide, sweeping generalizations that make it look like you’ve got a puffed-up ego. On the flip side, you don’t want to undersell yourself either! This is the space where you get to show off everything you’ve got, and you should take advantage of it. So the question is then, how do you find the balance?
Naturally, dancing this fine line can be a little difficult. One way to make it easier is to change the names and pretend you’re reading someone else’s bio. How does it come across to you? Another way is to get a second or third opinion from an unbiased party. What do they think? Imagine you met someone at a cafe and told them your bio out loud - how does it sound? Typically, writers are quite good at picking up on these kinds of things, so as long as you’re the one crafting your bio, chances are you’ll avoid over- or under-selling yourself.
Keep it short and sweet
One good tip is to treat your bio like a business card; use it to impress readers, to show off what you can do, and to keep your name in people’s minds long after they’ve tucked the card (or in this case, book) into a drawer or briefcase. You can’t do these things if you’ve written five paragraphs and a postscript for your bio. As awesome as you are, and as wonderful as your accomplishments look in writing, your bio isn’t supposed to be a full-length memoir.
So keep it short, and keep it sweet -- well, as sweet as you want. Everyone loves when a writer throws in a funny tidbit at the end of a bio, so don’t be afraid to spice things up with humor! There are a lot of creative ways to put one final spin on your bio, so put your pencil to your brain and start cracking some eggs.