How to Write an Author Bio [With Examples and Templates]

To write a great author bio, you need to know your target audience, cater to your genre, brag (but not too much), keep it brief, and call the reader to action.

When you’re self-publishing on Amazon, you need to put some serious thought into the author bio on your Amazon book page. Don’t haphazardly throw together some sentences and hit the publish button.

The author bio isn’t your most important tool. (The most essential tools are the book reviews, book cover, and synopsis/blurb.) But the author bio is another critical tool that you shouldn’t leave out.

Can I just leave my author bio out? No, you cannot just leave out your author bio, even if you wrote a short story or novella. It looks unprofessional, scares away potential readers, foregoes an opportunity to connect with your target audience, and leads to fewer book sales.

Plus, writing a good author bio doesn’t take that long.

If you’re not Grisham, or Godin, or Ferriss, or Fleming, very few people will buy a novel by you purely based on name recognition. So put a little work into your bio, and you won’t regret it.

Note: The Author Bio is just one of many parts of a book. We have a whole series of posts on the subject, and we highly recommend you check those out as well!

In this article, you will learn:
  1. What is an author bio?
  2. Examples of phenomenal author bios
  3. Tips on making a persuasive, engaging author bio
  4. How to add the bio to your book page
  5. An author bio template checklist

For clarification, on Amazon, there are 2 kinds of bio:

  1. The generic bio on your “Author Page
  2. Separate bios for each of your books

The advice in this post is aimed at your bio on your individual book pages, although much of it will still be relevant to your main Author Page.

What is an author bio?

Also called “About the Author,” an author bio is:

  • A paragraph about you as a writer
  • Your credentials
  • Your interests
  • A call to action
  • Other relevant information you want to share with your target audience

An author biography is your chance to connect with readers beyond just a byline.

Everyone needs a stellar front cover design, an attention-grabbing book title, and a sophisticated keyword strategy. But those book marketing musts simply draw users to see your book’s product page.

A good author bio (and book reviews and book description) compels them to actually buy the book.

The author bio establishes you as the kind of writer whom your target market ought to read. It’s where you forge a connection with potential readers and get them to trust you. Readers should want to know what you have to say based on your author bio.

If you take the author bio seriously and get it right, you’ll sell more books.

What should an author's bio include?

You should include your name, relevant accomplishments, and a call to action in your author’s bio. Aim for a bio of 60-90 words in length.

If your book is humorous, inject humor. If your book is melodramatic, add a little melodrama. Tailor your bio to your genre, target audience, and the individual book it’s for.

If possible, include links to your website or social media, so people can find out more about you.

Include a picture when possible. This picture should be a professional headshot of you smiling or looking serious, depending on your genre. Do not skimp on the headshot. An unprofessional author headshot screams low-quality content.

Is an author bio actually important?

Yes, a good author bio is actually important because:

  • It builds credibility
  • It affirms whether what you have to say is worth reading
  • It tells your target audience that you have written a book for them
  • Readers may relate to your personal story
  • You will sell more books

“No one reads the author bio,” I hear you say. But you’re wrong. While not everyone cares about the author’s bio, some care a lot.

First of all, unless you’re a household name, you must build credibility with the reader. If a reader doesn’t think you’re credible, they will read your book with a cynical eye and judge every mistake they find. Or worse, they won’t buy your book in the first place.

Second of all, more than ever, consumers are buying books from writers they want to support. If someone learns more about and relates to the author, they are much more likely to buy.

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How to Write a Powerful Author Bio for Your Book

Here are 3 steps to write an awesome author bio (About the Author) and upload it onto Amazon:

  1. Figure out your genre and target audience
  2. Write the bio
  3. Add the bio to your book page

How do you write a bio for a first-time author? First-time authors might not be able to include any literary accomplishments, like other best-selling books and prestigious awards. But first-time writers can include relevant expertise that pertains to your book. Also, any author can inject personality and a call to action, no matter if this is their first book.

Step 1: Figure Out Your Genre and Target Audience

Answer these 2 crucial questions to understand your genre and target audience:

  • What’s your book about?
  • Who are you writing for?

What’s your book about?

Your author bio needs to compliment the genre and subject matter of your book. Bios irrelevant to the book confuse potential readers.

While this may seem like obvious advice, a lot of irrelevant content finds its way into many author bios. Consider:

  • If your nightmare-inducing horror novel contains a perky and cheerful author description about your love for puppies and former career as a glassblower, you forfeit an opportunity to connect readers with your writing.
  • If your middle-grade comedy has an author bio that reads like a middle school textbook, your audience may be confused whether you’re able to write comedy.
  • If your book is a contemporary romance novel with a middle-aged female protagonist, your author bio’s personality and content should relate to the right target audience.
  • If you’re writing about tax-deduction strategies for real estate investors, your bio should present your expertise — why anyone should listen to you on the subject.
  • If your book is a spiritual guide to personal growth, some life-affirming positivity will improve your bio.

Who are you writing for?

You need to think about your target reader. Hopefully, you had a type of reader in mind when writing the book. You always need to know who would want to buy and read your book.

Figure out your target reader, then write your author bio for that person.

For non-fiction authors, your ideal reader probably wants to read your credentials, your life experience, and what qualifies you to speak on a particular topic.

For fiction writers, your ideal reader may be looking for a unique, exciting personality to come out through the bio. You may briefly include credibility-building credentials, such as if you earned an MFA in Creative Writing.

In many cases, creating an “avatar” of your customer — with a name, location, and personality — is a valuable way to both develop your author bio and strategically target your book marketing efforts. Check out this guide on how to create a customer avatar.

Don’t add information “just in case” a different kind of reader might appreciate it. You end up with a behemoth of a bio that no one reads because it’s too daunting and unfocused.

Find-your-target-reader
Don't be like a Storm Trooper and miss your target!

Step 2: Write the Bio

Now you need to write the actual words of the bio. Stick to this checklist on how to write an author bio:

  • Begin with a punchy, impactful first sentence.
  • Introduce your area of expertise or your unique personality, depending on the genre.
  • Build credibility without overly bragging.
  • Add a personal touch, such as a relatable profession or quirky hobby.
  • Finish on a call to action (check out the new book, follow you on social media, etc.).

While you’re writing, always ask yourself, “Is this relevant to my reader?”

Most readers won’t care where you were born (unless it’s a book about where you live), what high school you went to, or that you always wanted to become a full-time writer.

This isn’t to say that your bio should be impersonal. On the contrary! This is your opportunity to make readers feel like they know you. Your personality and/or expertise should make them want to read what you wrote.

4 Writing Tips For Creating an Author Bio:

  1. Write in the third person. “About the author” demands the third person. While it may feel a bit weird to write “he” or “she” rather than “I” in the first person, there’s one significant benefit: Your relevant accomplishments and accolades will sound far less boastful.
  2. Don’t brag too much. Don't go overboard showing off because everyone knows you wrote it. Even if the author bio is in the third person, state your achievements, but don’t become a braggart. Sprinkle in a bit of humility and modesty as well.
  3. Keep your author bio short. The faster they can read about you, the faster they can buy your book. Aim for 60-90 words and don’t go above 150. It takes effort and practice to distill everything into such a short space. Once you’ve nailed it, you can fit a great deal of personality and information into those 60-90 words.
  4. Use the bio like a business card. Give readers a way to interact with you by adding your website or social media info. At the very least, they’ll be able to find out more about you and explore your other works. Adding this info at the end is the most common call to action in author bios.

Step 3: Add the Bio to Your Book Page

You can add your author bio to your Amazon book page by visiting Amazon Author Central, select your book, and add it in the “About the Author” section.

You can add the “About the Author” page into your back matter for a physical book. On most word processors like Scrivener or Vellum, you should be able to generate the author bio into your print-ready file.

Podcast Episode: The Perfect Picture For Your Author Bio

                                          

6 Examples of Phenomenal Author Bios

Here are some real-life author bios from Amazon or on a back cover that combine most or all of the tips above:

Forgotten Legacy: Robin Perini, the Publisher’s Weekly and internationally bestselling author of Forgotten Secrets, is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts. A RITA Award finalist and winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award in 2011, she is also a nationally acclaimed writing instructor. By day, she’s an analyst for an advanced technology corporation, but in honor of her mother, Robin has become a passionate advocate for those who battle Alzheimer’s disease. She loves to hear from readers. Visit her web­site at www.robinperini.com.

[Length: 97 words]

Damn Delicious Meal Prep: 115 Easy Recipes for Low-Calories, High-Energy Living: Chungah Rhee is the founder, recipe developer, and photographer of Damn Delicious. What began as a grad school hobby is now a top food blog, with millions of readers coming to her site for easy weeknight recipes and simplified gourmet meals. She lives and continues to cook non-stop in Los Angeles, with her corgi, Butters. Her first cookbook was published in 2016 by Oxmoor House. Visit her at damndelicious.net.

[Length: 70 words]

Long Range Shooting Handbook: Complete Beginner's Guide to Long Range Shooting: “Ryan Cleckner served as a special operations sniper team leader with the U.S. Army's elite 1st Ranger Bn. on multiple combat deployments. He is a graduate of the premier Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC), among other military training courses, and has taught snipers and police sharpshooters from around the world. Ryan has a series of online instructional videos known for their ability to explain complex topics in a simple and digestible way. Ryan is currently a firearms industry professional and an attorney.”

[Length: 83 words]

Diary of a Farting Creeper: Why Does the Creeper Fart When He Should Explode? (Volume 1): Who is Wimpy Fart? Wimpy Fart loves Minecraft and writes awesome Minecraft books for YOU because you are the best Minecraft fans in the world. You can email Wimpy Fart to tell him about your favorite Minecraft books, or to talk about really loud farts. wimpyfart@gmail.com Oh – Wimpy Fart reads all your awesome Amazon reviews and likes to know what you want to read about in Minecraft books!

[Length: 68 words]

Joanna Penn writes non-fiction books for authors and is an award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling thriller author as J.F. Penn. She’s a podcaster and an award-winning creative entrepreneur. Her site, TheCreativePenn.com has been voted in the Top 100 sites for writers by Writer's Digest.

[Length: 49 words]

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you’re reading this, makes perfect sense. He’s best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller Redshirts, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word “Whatever” into Google. No, seriously, try it.

[Length: 85 words]

If you're looking for author bio perfection, Scalzi’s is as close as you're gonna find. His bio lends himself credibility, demonstrates his personality, and has one of the most unique calls to action you'll ever read. How many of you actually googled “whatever” just now?

Can you hire a freelancer to write your author bio?

Yes, you can hire a freelance writer or a ghostwriter to write your author bio to make sure it’s as amazing as it should be. Their creative writing know-how can produce a bio worthy of a good read and help you better connect with your audience if you’re having a hard time with the bio.

Hopefully, because you’re a writer, you’re able to follow the steps in this article to create your own bio. But in many cases, writing about yourself is more challenging than writing any other prose. (No shame, I promise!)

How to Write a Bio for Your Author Website

To write an author bio for your website, follow these 8 tips and tricks:

  • Determine what your book’s about, and tailor your bio to compliment the style and tone.
  • Determine your target audience, and tailor your bio to attract those specific readers.
  • Begin your bio with a punchy first sentence.
  • Build credibility by demonstrating your accomplishments, but don’t brag too much.
  • Add links to relevant interviews (on NPR or PBS, for example), news articles (ever been featured in The Wall Street Journal?), and Amazon sales pages.
  • Finish with a call to action — perhaps a link to your sales page.
  • Make sure your word count is 60-90 words.
  • When you review it, take out all irrelevant words. Will your target audience care about each word? If not, take that word out.

On an author’s website, you can go into more detail, list more important works or achievements, and link to other pages on your website to find more info.

Also, an author website bio lends itself more to the first-person than a book page bio. Feel free to use first person or third person, as long as you stick to one or the other.

Author Bio Template

There's no one-size-fits-all approach, but the following checklist provides a structure you can use as an author bio template:

  1. Begin with a punchy, impactful first sentence.
  2. Introduce your area of expertise or your unique personality, depending on the genre.
  3. Build credibility without overly bragging.
  4. Add a personal touch, such as a hobby or favorite TV show.
  5. Finish on a call to action (check out the new book, follow on social media, etc.).

If you browse bestselling author bios, you'll notice they tend to follow this sequence.

The content and tone you include in your author bio will depend on several factors:

  • Content and tone of your book
  • Genre (or multiple genres)
  • Previous works
  • Previous achievements
  • Personal preference
  • Medium (eBook only, literary magazine, etc.)

Where does your author bio go?

In a print book, your author bio should go in the back matter of your book or on the dust jacket sleeve.

You should also place an author bio on your website that goes into a little more detail than the bio in your book.

For an eBook on Amazon, your author bio goes below the suggested books. Here are the headings that appear before the “About the Author” section:

books in this series screenshot
screenshot of customers who bought this item also bought
screenshot that says Products related to this item.
After these headings, you’ll see “About the Author” or “More about the author.”

How often should you update your “About the Author” page?

You should update your “About the Author” page or individual author bios any time something significant changes in your life or career, especially honors and awards or when your next book comes out.

Publish a new book? Update all your old bios.

Win an award? Update all your old bios.

Featured on a famous talk show? You may want to update all your old bios.

Going through a divorce or other major family issues? If you mention your spouse or now-estranged children in your bio, you may want to change that. (I know that’s dark, but it happens and is worth considering.)

Earn a prestigious honor or academic position? You know what you should do.

I’ll show you mine…

In summary, the steps in this post take you through everything you need when writing your own author bio. Refer to them when you start writing – and you’ll have an engaging author bio that should easily sell more books.

My own author bio is listed just below for reference (and ridicule, if you like).

I don't have to tell you, I'm pretty much a techy goofball. Hopefully, my bio does a great job of conveying just that. Using humor and an upbeat tone, I want to let Kindlepreneur readers know exactly who I am as a content writer in 34 words.

Special thanks to John Scalzi for inspiring me to write this specific type of bio.



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67 thoughts on “How to Write an Author Bio [With Examples and Templates]

Comments
  1. Richard Hain

    Nice bio stuff, thanks!
    I guess including a picture in your bio helps a lot.
    That’d be more fun than going thru thousand words, right?
    As wannabe “ereaderpreneur”, looking forward to using the lessons shared in this page.
    To successful writing – Cheers!

    1. Dave Chesson

      Yup, most definitely.

  2. Leslie Chapman

    Hello,
    Great article. Thank you for the tips. I’m co-authoring my first children’s book. Would you mind taking a look at my author bio?
    What drives Leslie Chapman to visit countries across 4 continents and over 40 states in the US? Her love for learning and travel. There are three things Leslie is passionate about, her family, teaching and travelling. As a former high school science educator, that came with the job, but teaching is something Leslie does, having taught wee ones up through senior members of society. Check out her new children’s book, Boops’ Character Missions, Mission I: Roatan, and visit her at http://www.boopscharactermissions.com.

  3. Marie Hall

    Hello Dave! I happened to find this gem of an article by searching the web and I am so appreciative. Thank you for your insight to writing a great author bio. Would you mind looking over mine.As someone who has struggled with low self-love and self-worth, Marie knows firsthand how it can affect children ‘s ability to perform academically in school, especially for African American boys. With over seventeen years in the education field, she has sought to inspire and encourage children to believe in themselves and the power of the words they speak. Something that she has always instilled in her own son, Tracy. Marie holds a Master ‘s degree in Elementary Education and a Specialist degree in Educational Leadership. Her new book, I DECLARE ¦ is surely a rare jewel for promoting self-esteem and self-love for African American boys through powerful declarations they can speak into themselves.

  4. Erin Chambers

    TGIF Dave! I love the personality and insight you share! THANK YOU! (and yes, I did yell that)
    My question of the day is… I’m writing a book and blog with my bestie. The general gist of both holds gems and information regarding spiritual and energetic healing as well tips/thoughts/suggestions on how to simply be a good human being. What`s my snag? Probably about 95% of the knowledge and teachings we’ve received have come from hands on experience and one-on-one (informal) teachings from numerous sources; they did not come from designated schools, programs, or courses therefore we do not have certifications or degrees. Sooooooooooo… What would be the best way to go about writing a bio that does not discredit either of us, our practices, our methods, or our teachings because we do not have a certificate from a formal or informal institution? I want to write something that garners confidence and will attract people who are looking for help and ideas, not have people shy away because of the lack of accreditation.
    Thank you so very much for your help! Have a wonderful afternoon! 🙂

    1. Dave Chesson

      Awesome and glad you like it. As for your question, focus on the amount of years you’ve spent in the field or gaining your experience. Talk about your passion and drive and any details about things that would show that you aren’t just a casual observer or practicer…but are dedicated to the arts of it. That goes a long way!

  5. havee

    Nice and useful information. Thank you

    1. Dave Chesson

      No problem and glad you liked it.

Comments are closed.

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