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The author biography is oftentimes the last item we think about as self-published authors. As a result, we may even consider it to be the least important part of our marketing strategy. It's fluff, words to fill in space, right? No, not by a long shot. In many ways, it can be as important as your one-sentence pitch, and it is a key component for you to build your personal brand.


I've developed a few author bios as my career and experience progressed. And looking over them with a critical eye, my very first bio was my most successful. It was short out of necessity, because I didn't bring a lot to the table in the way of credentials. It was for my first book and all I had going for me at the time was that my family claimed to really like it. I knew enough to know that wasn't a great selling point. I sat down and wrote bio after bio trying to make myself sound a lot more important than I really was. The harder I tried, the less authentic the bio read. After literally hours of trying and failing, I set the project aside and walked through my house, trying to figure out who I was. I patted my dog for inspiration. I made sure that cats had food. I flipped through the mail and rolled my eyes at a mortgage statement. I stared at my wedding picture on the mantel, and that's when it hit me. This is who I am. I'm just a regular guy who wants you to read my book. So, I wrote the following bio:


R.W. Ridley lives in Charleston, SC with his beautiful wife, a hyperactive dog, three arrogant cats, and one ugly mortgage.


That was it. I added it to the back cover, and didn't give it another thought. An odd thing started happening. I got e-mails from people telling me they loved my bio. I'd show the book to people at book fairs and signing events, and they'd flip the book over, read the bio, and laugh. They'd walk off with a copy of the book based on the bio. The book has now been on the market for five years, and I still get remarks about the bio. This one was even posted in a recent review:


For that ugly mortgage
Haven't read it yet, but the "ugly mortgage" comment gave me a giggle


I changed my bio for later books because I felt it needed to include information about awards I had won and other books I had published, but I've never received a single comment about those. Credentials are important and include them whenever possible, especially if you're writing as an expert on the topic of the book, but don't use that as an excuse not to connect with your readers.


What's the lesson? Write the bio in third person, but take the opportunity to let it reflect your personality. And by all means, keep it short.


Think you've mastered the art of the author bio? Share it in the comments!


 

-Richard

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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67,157 Views Tags: self_publishing, marketing, self-publishing, writers, writing, bio, mortgage


Jan 13, 2013 8:36 AM Tuggy    says:

Thank you for sharing this information with us.  I am literally just getting started with publishing my first book and need all the help I can get! 

Feb 7, 2013 4:43 AM Alannah-F    says:

Thanks for posting your article, Richard.

 

I agree...  Perhaps some writers/publishers are interested in credentials, but I think readers want a human touch - a bio that gives someone a chuckle or connects with them seems much more relevant to me.  I also think people end up reading the same standard type of bio, so to write something a bit more personal is more likely to stand out.

 

Not sure I've "mastered" my bio, but have taken you up on your offer to share mine...  This is the beginning of mine on my website:

 

 

Avid writer, photographer, Campervan Capers blogger

... and experienced Cycling Widow

 

Born in Australia, Alannah Foley was raised in England and lived Down Under for five years in her twenties.  Before returning to Old Blighty, she discovered long-lost family, stayed on a camel farm, worked on a City Farm project, and got bitten by every mozzie around.

 

The rest is at: www.foleysforum.co.uk/about

 

Good luck to everyone playing with their bios - although I'd advise you not to get too obsessed with your profile...  It'll come with time!

Mar 4, 2013 9:38 AM FilipinoNovels    says:

YesI agreewith you all the way about bio. Great!

Apr 8, 2013 9:33 PM catpaws123    says:

Thank you for your bio info I need to feel confident in trying to be an author not just a mom, wife, catlover {obvious to do user name) and small buisness owner.

 

Thank you for all of the blogger kindness.

catpaws123

May 21, 2013 8:19 AM VinceGuaglione    says:

New to independent publishing but have given the author bio a shot.  Any comments are appreciated:

 

Vince Guaglione is a guy who asks lots of questions, not only of himself but of his society and the world around him. Although he claims he's found no real answers, that hasn't stopped him in his quest to gain perspective on a little something we call life. When he's not at his real job, you can find him sucking down venti-sized coffees at a brisk pace his local Starbucks, thinking up new writing projects, or pondering his mystery questions of life. Originally from Philadelphia PA, Vince now resides in Raleigh NC.

Jul 1, 2013 1:34 PM Esmelie    says in response to Tuggy:

I'm actually in the middle of publishing my book when I saw this.

 

Thank you so much! I was actually going to not include the author bio because I thought it was unimportant.

Aug 15, 2013 3:27 PM Froggy62    says:

I started out with a blah About the Author for my createspace page until I read this blog.  My book, Through the Eyes of a Ridgeback is out today along with updated About Author. Now I wish I would have used it for the book. Anyway, here ya go.

 

About the author:
Lori and her husband live in Jersey where they're held at bay  each day by their bossy, demanding, and somewhat spoiled dog named  Gunnar.
When Lori isn't catering to the dog she enjoys painting, photography (of the dog, go figure) and writing.
Lori's dream for the future is one day owning her own laptop that  doesn't have drool marks or muddy paw prints on it to continue on with  writing. Of course Gunnar would most likely have a different version of  this.

Sep 1, 2013 7:20 AM horsehumor    says in response to VinceGuaglione:

Really like this one, Vince.

Sep 1, 2013 1:48 PM VinceGuaglione    says in response to horsehumor:

Thanks for the thumbs up on the bio, horsehumor!  I appreciate your reply.

Nov 9, 2013 2:52 PM zanzaboonda    says:

Love all of these! Here's mine (from the back of my Twitter Fiction book):

 

 

KM Zafari goes by @thebatinthehat on Twitter; you can also find her at thebatinthehat.com.

 

Why The Bat in the Hat? “Sometimes dark, sometimes silly. If Poe and Seuss had a love child, it would probably be... unattractive - but might think just like me.” Plus, she loves bats. And she loves hats!

 

She has several alter egos, including a disgruntled alien, and has some really, really, really weird dreams.

 

She also curates @tweetyblurred, bringing you some of the best poetry and microfiction that the Twitterverse has to offer.

 

Most importantly, she has two of the most awesome kids in the entire world. And she loves them more than anything.

Dec 31, 2013 1:42 PM Gnostic    says in response to Froggy62:

Lori, This says you enjoy painting your dog. A comma after "dog" will fix that. 

Jan 2, 2014 10:56 PM Froggy62    says in response to Gnostic:

Thank you for spotting that! Believe it or not Gunnar has sat in paint many times without the aid of me! Happy New Year

Jan 10, 2014 11:23 AM mogzilla    says:

Great post - fun!  I think one should try to write as if writing to your friends..?  My book is still waiting for approval and as it's my first (and first bio) you might not find my bio... yet!

 

Mine says:

 

"A parent to a funny kid (who deserves his own personal book of quotes), M.J.O'Gara thought of creating a simple journal/diary of eye-pleasing pages to record the "bordering on insane" child chatter of family children.  Because it's fun.

 

Apart from being a parent M.J.O'Gara is a Graphic Designer and Wordpress fanatic.  You can make contact here:

http://mobilewebsitedesignuk.com

 

He also finds it hilarious to write about himself in the third person."

 

That last bit might strike a few chords - who the devil are we anyway?!? 

 

MJ

Jul 1, 2014 3:16 PM KatieCanary    says in response to mogzilla:

Loved your last line!

Sep 3, 2014 1:27 PM northexpress    says:

I have come back to this post several times, and I still laugh, and love the bio! It's priceless.

Jan 3, 2015 7:31 AM clebzz    says:

this is just marveelous RICHARD, THE LINE i WROTE WAS O.MATT a certificate at THE LONDON SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AFTER FINISHING A SHORT STORY COURSE IN THE SEVENTIES.my new book title.PAMMELA GOLD BY O.MATT in the print version.

Jan 9, 2015 9:08 AM Elder-AW    says:

This is very helpful as I begin my 2 book. My first book title Expression of a Poet- The Beginning has help me see some of the things that I can improve on in my second book to make it more successful. Your points/ideas will help in doing so. Thanks. God Bless!

Jan 10, 2015 1:33 PM BlueFenn    says:

Thank you!  I have read most of your tips and it has helped immensely!

Jan 17, 2015 5:31 AM mzChristyV    says:

I'm new to publishing and I didnt add a bio to my first book, but I did add on to my amazon.com author page. I'm not sure if it's any good...please read and let me know.

 

Christy Valentin(1986-) was born and raised in Jersey City, NJ. She is the mother of six children; 3 biological & 3 step children. She relocated in her 20's to Florida and married her husband then later returned to Jersey City to be closer to family. She is a young author who dreams of one day becoming a bestseller. Her work is for the hopeless romantic and a lot of her pieces are first hand experiences.

Feb 24, 2015 12:15 PM rlucy    says:

About to publish in late Feb, 2015... and after reading this, felt my profile could.... well.... lighten up. If you Like or Hate... thanx for telling me: stories at yourlegacysmile dot cawm. Here it is:

 

 

Robb Lucy lives in Vancouver, B.C. with his beautiful wife Kim, and two furniture destroying cats, Luna and Soleil. When he's not cleaning their deposits on the rug, he likes to get out of the house and combine adventure and learning. It started in university while studying English, business and journalism. He sailed the Pacific, then spent time as a shark fisherman on the Indian Ocean (back when it was OK). He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro and other mountains, and followed muskox on the shores of the Beaufort Sea. As a natural communicator, he then thought a career could include writing, producing and connecting. He spent six years as a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, then formed his own company, producing mixed media for corporations and governments around the world. He spent 25 years on the local, national and international boards of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and helped develop non-profits in literacy, sports history and cancer awareness. Robb and Kim travel often, and have been known to smile in both one star and five star environs (favorites: Nepal and France). Robb has always found the question, “What will your Legacy be?” an intriguing one. He now knows Legacies are easy to create, are about happiness, connection, purpose and meaning… and will continue to be until he's  caught in the path of a thundering herd of big, muddy, slightly angry animals.

Feb 27, 2015 10:20 PM TheBarrd    says:

My bio:

 

Deborah lives in sunny Southern Alabama with her best friend, an adorable little one-eyed Shih Tzu; a motley crew of assorted kids and grandkids, including a stray or two; and a sadly battered old laptop.

Every now and then, she threatens to replace the laptop.

May 15, 2015 3:16 AM salutdd    says:

Is the author-bio attached to the Author or to the book itself ?

 

If you once write a cook-book, the next time a travel guide, and another time some "how to repair your car", you might want to outline different views/events of your biography to underline your qualification.

 

This would be impossible, if the bio appears on all your books.
So, for marketing purpose, this can cause good and bad things.
One cannot market a car repair book with the note "The author is a good chief in the kitchen".

 

Or, if you write books in different languages, but you only have "one biography", it's hard to choose the appropriate language.

Aug 6, 2015 9:13 AM Puppy85    says:

Thank you for this information

I've published my first book

and now working on my second book

this information is very helpful.

Oct 13, 2015 2:36 PM SaffronGrey    says:

Great advice!  My bio's been reading like an essay!

Nov 28, 2015 4:37 PM Polymath-Alpha    says:

thank you so much

Apr 11, 2016 11:00 PM Risen    says in response to horsehumor:

LOL....love this one

May 8, 2016 4:27 AM cathysensei    says:

That was inspiring! Here's my shot...

 

Veteran do-it-yourselfer from New Zealand, now teaching English to the future movers and shakers of Japan, and trying to squeeze in long cycle rides, binge photo-taking, and making delicious meals for the nicest Japanese guy in the world.

Sep 15, 2016 6:26 AM Detz    says:

After rambling the world as a missionary professor and preacher from Europe to China and back home to the USA, Dr. Wayne Detzler now lives near NYC. He serves as pastor to a retirement community, but his love task is as a full-time caregiver walking with his wife through Alzheimer's.

Oct 24, 2016 2:02 AM fourquadrant    says in response to Detz:

Good article, I finished my first couple of books and placed them here last month.

My content is simple and was taken out of writing I have been doing for music and other related projects.

 

I  also incorporated work from my photography and NLP studies so my  subject matter is kind of song lyrics rhymes and positive quotations. I  wasn't really to sure how to even categorise it.

But this has given me a starting point.

 

Nice one

 

Many thanks

Credit Card Debt Management

 

Nov 24, 2016 12:44 AM LadyLyrical6    says:

New on broad. Just saying HELLO! to everyone. I trust we all tream to share and help each in fulfilling our dreams. Have a blossoming beautiful day!

Dec 8, 2016 5:55 AM Mamamia1009    says:

Cool! I am in the middle of publishing as well and did not find it important. But you seem like you know what you are doing. I'll keep it simple as well

 

M.Saez from Brooklyn, New York. Walking the path of parenthood with two girls. :#Amothershustle

Dec 18, 2016 1:09 AM EddieBJr87    says:

I did an author bio...not sure if it really meets anyone's standards....but, oh well.

Mar 31, 2017 6:18 PM julz_b21    says in response to Tuggy:

Here I am 4 yrs later responding to this..do ppl just not use this comment box!? Are you still in "Create Space"??

May 22, 2017 5:01 PM Heakmoot    says:

Great article! Love the idea of a little humor.

Thanks!

Pat