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When you self-publish a book it’s a bit like making the perfect salad. No one ingredient is more important than another; you need them all to create a robust, well-rounded product that your readers will enjoy.

There is, of course, the manuscript that you wrote, and then there are all the other elements that turn a manuscript into a book. The cover draws them in, the book description gives them just enough of a taste to want to know more, and the author bio tells them why they should listen to you.

While writing your author bio might feel like an afterthought, it’s actually a really important book marketing tool that you will use in a variety of places including your website, your Amazon Author Central Account, inside the book itself, and on your social media channels

What is an author bio?

Essentially it’s a blurb of a few hundred words written in the third person that makes it clear to readers why you are the right person to be writing this book. Your author bio is a place where you can build your legitimacy on a subject, share relevant life experiences and accolades, and connect with your reader on a personal level. 

Where to use your author bio

A good author bio should be no more than 300 words, and ideally much shorter. Keep in mind you can have different versions of your bio for different uses. Your Amazon Author Central bio might be somewhere between 90-120 words, while your bio on your author website could be twice as long. 

You might consider writing an even longer version for marketing materials, or to send to different journals and podcasts. 

It’s good to have a couple different versions to use, but they will all include the same basic elements:

  • Your name
  • Any relevant accomplishments or life experiences pertaining to the book topic
  • Why you are the best person to be writing the book. 

Now that you know what an author bio is and where to use it, try these tips to make your bio stand out from the crowd: 

Make it compelling

Just like your opening paragraph of your novel, or the hook in your book description, your author bio should also begin with a compelling opening statement. This is your chance to introduce your area of expertise and build credibility with your reader. 

For example, if you’ve written a series of books about a horse ranch in the Rocky Mountains your opening line might read something like: Natascha Birovlejev has such a deep love for the Rocky Mountains she immigrated from her homeland of Germany to start a horse ranch in Alberta, where she found her inspiration for her novels.

If you’ve written a book on business management your bio might start out by saying you have 40 years of business and technology experience working with hundreds of leaders around the world.

Think of it this way: your opening line should be so killer it can double as your short bio for social media or guest articles and appearances. 

Make it relevant

Your author bio should not only reflect who you are as a person but also be relevant to your book. If you’ve written a non-fiction piece on how to engage influencers in social justice work, you might want to include some of the different charities you’ve worked with, or celebrities who you’ve engaged.

If you have written a fictional memoir about a flight attendant in the 1970s your author bio could include that you were the daughter of a diplomat and traveled all over the globe as a child, and it was this first-hand experience that convinced you at a young age that one day you must become a stewardess

Another way to make your author bio relevant is to include awards you’ve won or other accolades– as long as they have a direct connection to your book. Which accomplishments, awards, or work/life experience is relevant to this book that you just wrote?

Fiction readers might like to know that you hold an MFA in creative fiction, whereas non fiction readers want to know why you are the expert on this chosen topic, and your relevant background, accomplishments, and previous books that would make them want to listen to you.

For example, if it’s a book on healthy lifestyles, your 30+ years working as a dietitian observing human behaviors and how they relate to lifestyle choices will carry a lot more clout than a creative writing degree. 

If you studied yoga for 17 years as a monk in India that would have some relevance for a book you’ve written on the benefits of Yoga for the mind and body. Even if this is the first book you’ve ever published, that bit of life experience is enough to show readers you are an expert on the subject. 

Make it personal 

Readers want to know something personal about you and while they might not care what your favorite color is, the fact that you live in Oregon on an alpaca farm might do the trick (especially if your book is about raising alpacas).

It’s easy to sneak in something personal without taking up a lot of reality. Things you could include would be your pets, your favorite pastime, or what you’re doing when you’re not writing. If you wrote a book about helping shelter animals find permanent homes you might include that you volunteer every weekend at your local animal shelter. 

Whatever you include, be sure to write with your reader in mind. An author bio for a western novel is going to read a lot differently than an author bio for a business management book. 

You have to think about your reader and what they want to learn from you. Figure out your target reader (you probably already know who this is, since you wrote the book for them), then write your author bio for that person.

After you’ve completed your author bio, you can add it to your Amazon Author Central Account and connect it to all your books. 

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