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4 Steps to Creating the Perfect Author Bio

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.

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Three Tips for Engaging Your Audience as a Speaker

Many authors wonder, “Do I need to be a public speaker?”

It’s a tricky question; plenty of authors are skilled with pen and paper but hate the idea of speaking to a crowd. You don’t need to be a professional public speaker in order to reach your audience, but in order to effectively market your book, you should probably have some public speaking skills in your back pocket. At the very least, you’ll want to be comfortable enough with public speaking to do readings and similar events to promote your book. To help you out, we’ve put together some tips on how to feel more comfortable in the podium spotlight.

Tip #1 - Talk about topics you enjoy talking about. If you’re trying to speak on an unfamiliar topic, you’ll most likely be stressed on the stage, and that stress will show. It’s much harder to engage with your audience if you lack passion for the subject matter. Before agreeing to speak at an event, ask yourself what you know the most about. What are you interested in (related to your book, of course)? Is there a subject area that you have spent time and energy learning about? What do you think your audience wants to hear?

Tip #2 - Find a way to personally connect with your audience. One effective way to do this is to open with a personal anecdote that relates to your overall topic. Do you have any life lessons to share based on your past experiences or mistakes? What are some relevant life hacks that you have discovered and want to share with your audience?

Tip #3 - Make sure you’re speaking to groups at locations that connect with your book topic or genre. Ultimately, it isn’t worth spending a lot of time and energy on a speaking engagement that won’t bring new readers to your book. Look for places that cater to your audience’s demographic and seek out speaking opportunities at those locations.

Every author is different, and thus every author’s approach to using promoting their book via speaking engagements is going to be different. The amount of public speaking you want to do is up to you, but it’s somewhat inevitable when it comes to selling your book and promoting yourself. Practice makes perfect, though, and the more experience you have with speaking to an audience, the easier it will become.


How to Find YOUR Writer Community

Joining a local literary community can seem like a daunting task if you aren’t familiar with the options in your area. Not only can it be difficult to find a group that fits your individual style - there’s also the issue of finding groups in the first place. To help you get started, we’ve made a list with a few different places that often host or advertise such groups.

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-          Community centers

-          Art centers

-          Museums

-          Theaters

-          Independent bookstores

-          Literary magazines

-          Facebook

-          Eventbrite

After finding a few groups that interest you, attend their meetings to learn more about the groups and see if they’ll be a good fit for you. It can be a little awkward at first, especially if the members of each group seem comfortable and familiar with one another. You might feel like you’re trespassing, or like you don’t belong. But just remember - they advertised the group for a reason. They want to bring in new people.

The next step is figuring out which of these groups is the best match for you. You want to find a community that fits you and your writing.

-          Does the group fit your writing genre?

-          Do you already know any of the people in the group?

-          Have you attended more than one of their meetings?

-          Is there a group that is focused on a topic that you are passionate about?

Don’t forget to consider the necessary time commitment. If you really like a group but don’t think you have time to be a full member, see if you can do an event with them or speak to them about your experience as an author. Most literary communities are always looking for new people to share their stories.

If you truly can’t find a local group that meets your needs, consider starting your own. You never know; there might be a dozen other authors nearby who are waiting for a group like the one you could create. But don’t give up hope in the meantime. When you find the right literary community, you’ll know - and you’ll thrive with them.


Where should you have YOUR book launch party?

Every author loves the idea of a packed book launch party: crowds of eager readers excited to get their hands on your work, loud applause when you enter the room, standing room only. In order to bring that dream to life, you need to think about venue. While bookstores are often assumed to be the best places to hold launch parties, they aren’t always the best fit. Here are a few things to think about when considering where to host your book launch party:

-          Is your fan base large enough and local enough to fill the space of the bookstore you want to use?

-          On the flip side, is the bookstore large enough to host your expected crowd?

-          Bookstores will take a percentage of your sales; can you sell enough books to make it work financially?

-          Are you allowed to provide food and drink in the bookstore?

-          Does your desired time frame for the launch party line up with the bookstore’s policies?

-          How will the bookstore help increase your profits at the event?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself in preparation. You might be wanting to form relationships with bookstores as soon as possible - which is completely understandable - but a bookstore isn’t necessarily the best place for your launch party. After your launch, as a way of promoting your book, you could reach out to stores that are carrying your book and see if you can host a signing event on a smaller scale. But for now, focus on launching your book in a way that is most beneficial to you and your goals as an author.


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So You Wrote a Book! (Now what??!!)

Congratulations, new author!

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In the summer of 2017, I started writing down a few of my most-asked questions as the Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing. I thought maybe I’d answer 10 or 15 of them on a Facebook page for our authors, to help them with some of their immediate marketing concerns.

  1. Do I hire a publicist?

  2. What timeline should I be following?

  3. Do I need an audiobook?

The result of this exercise was a document far longer and more comprehensive than a simple Facebook post. On the surface, these questions are simple and should have simple answers. But the reality is far more complicated. Hiring a publicist depends on many different moving pieces. Timelines are subjective. And audiobooks? Well, maybe.

By the time I got through answering about 30 questions, I realized I had created a really useful tool for our authors. But when the founder of Wise Ink, Dara Beevas, took the manuscript on a vacation with her, she realized there was much more potential for the book. She added questions, added anecdotes from her personal experience, and by the time she was through, we had a solid first draft of Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing.

One of the most important tips we give our authors is this: know thine audience. For us, the audience for Buzz is any author who has taken the joyous leap of expressing themselves in the written word and asking themselves, “Now what?” Buzz is also for the author who is looking for some unique ways of engaging with potential readers, and also for authors who take seriously the work of using their book to promote their business, idea, and agenda. We tried to keep authors at all stages of the journey in mind as we created our checklists, questions, and examples.

Marketing your book is a marathon, not a sprint. The authors who are most successful are the ones who pace themselves, are strategic with their outreach, and most importantly, find a way to make the marketing work fun and fulfilling.

Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing in our store!

-Roseanne Cheng is a teacher, author, and Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Five Questions to Help You Establish an Author Brand

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The point of marketing is to convince people to buy your book. (Duh!) Some of the best ways to do this is by using social media, events, blogging, and promotions. But it’s more complicated than just that!

* What is your style?

* What is your mission?

* What do you value?

All of these questions go into making a brand and figuring out who you want to portray to the public and how your book fits into that brand.

Here are a few different things to consider about your possible brand and how to incorporate it.

* What is your email address/website address that is available to the public?

o Is your name in it?

o Do you use/check it often?

o Does your audience know about them to be able to reach you?

* What is the content of your website? (if you have one)

o Is the information complete and up to date?

o What other ways can you use them to connect to your audience?

o Does the design of your website match your brand?

* What information is in your author bio?

o Does it market you well?

o How personalized is it and does it sound like you?

o Is it on your website?

* What marketing materials do you have/use?

o Do you have any business cards?

o Do you have any other easy to hand out materials?

o Again, does the design of them represent your brand?

* What social media do you use, if any?

o Are you on it often?

o Do you like to be on it?

o Are you willing to promote yourself on it?

Marketing your book can be as intensive or as relaxed as you want it to be. When you market yourself and your book your sales can be better, and you can reach a wider audience when your name is recognizable. If you are putting yourself out there, people will find you and once they do they can help you spread your name and brand more if they like what they see!

Sample Indie Publishing Timeline

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6 Questions to Ask Before Recording an Audiobook

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Audiobooks are starting to grow in popularity and authors are faced with the decision of making their books available as audiobooks. There are several things that need to be thought about and decided on before giving the go ahead for an audiobook. The first thing that is most important to most authors is the cost of making an audiobook. The most popular way of making an audiobook is using Amazon’s Audiobook Creation Exchange. The cost of each hour of recording is $200 so a finished book can be upwards of $2,000, depending on how long the book is. Aside from the cost of the audiobook here are a few other things to think of when contemplating the audiobook decision.

* Do your readers and target audience listen to audiobooks on a regular basis?

Ask around on social media get a feeling from their responses on how well received an audio version of your book will be.

* What is the genre of your book?

Personal stories such as memoirs and biographies tend to go over better as audio books than fantasy or fiction.

* Is there a performance element to your book?

If your book has special characterizations that can develop a character better in an audio version, it may be something to consider.

* Can you add an extra feature to the audiobook version to make it more of a draw?

Extras could be an Interview with you the author, a soundtrack of songs that inspired your writing or fit the books theme, or other additional audios bits.

* Do you listen to audiobooks yourself?

If the answer is no, then it is probably best to skip an audio version of your book.

* Are you willing to do extra promotion for the audiobook?

Think of what time you have available and is you can fit in more promotional time without feeling overburdened.

There are many more things that may come up as you are working through the process of deciding on making an audiobook but hopefully these questions will help make the decision a little easier for you when it does come up.