I’m going to say something that may cause other bloggers to hunt me down.
I am by no means an authority in writing an author bio. In fact, besides the about me page on my site, I have only ever written one author bio. I can safely say that I literally just wrote my first author bio earlier today. One of my short stories was chosen for publication in Millhaven Press quarterly journal, and they asked for an author bio.
Now, if you have never written an author bio, like me a few hours ago, you probably have one of two thoughts running through your head. One, why do you make it sound like it’s so hard? Or, two, AHHHHHHHHHHHH! (BTW, I was the second.)
I have learned that author bios have the ability to make or break you. What you need your bio for will also have a large influence. Bloggers that guest writes for other websites, where they do need to be an authority on a subject, have to let the readers know they can trust them.
For example, if some blogger is asked to write an article for another website about investing, they would want to make sure the website’s readers trust their article. They may also be interested in driving some traffic to their own website. So, if you’re reading an article about investing and you get to the author bio and they tell you nothing about their experience in investing, you’re probably going to question their article. If their bio says:
Jane Doe has worked as a stay at home mom for 18 years and is now starting her own knitting business. She blogs regularly on imaknitter.com about her knitting adventures. She loves her three children aged 15, 12, and 2. Jane hopes you enjoy her post.
You’re going to look back at that article about investing and wonder what crap you just read. There is nothing about that bio that suggests she knows a damn thing about investing. (BTW, I’m not knocking knitters because I LOVE to knit.)
Now, if you are writing an author bio for something like I had to today, for a fictional story, it can be trickier (in my opinion). You still want to grab their attention, and you want to make them want to read more of your work. That’s a lot of information for a short bio. I’m going to do my best and give you a few tips at coming up with an author bio that people will like.
Prepare Yourself for Your Bio
Depending on what you’re writing about, your author bio is going to be different. If you are writing a romance novel, your bio is going to a lot different than if you are writing about investing. Think about who your audience is and what they are going to want to know. Do you need to prove to them that you know what you’re talking about, or would they be more interested in knowing where they can read more of your work? While you’re writing, make sure that you ask yourself, “Who am I writing this for?”
Write in Third Person
Unless the person you are guest blogging for asks you specifically to write in the first person, always write your bio in the third person. Yeah, it will probably feel weird, and self-congratulatory, but you’ll get used to it. One thing you want to make sure you don’t do is overuse he or she.
Keep it Short and Sweet
People just want to know a little bit about you. They aren’t looking to get your life story. Save all the extra information for your autobiography. You may have a bunch of information that relates to your story but only provides the most important and relevant. Think of it like a resume. You don’t write out ten pages of past employees on your resume. You use the most recent jobs and the ones that are more related to the job you are applying for.
Establish Truthful Credibility
If you have to establish credibility with your bio, make sure you do so truthfully. Don’t lie. In this day and age, people will find out if you are telling the truth. As a ghostwriter, it’s probably safe to say I wrote some books for people that had no clue about the subject matter of the book. Unfortunately, for marketing purposes, they are probably lying to establish credibility. You don’t want to be them. If you’re trying to prove to people you are a credible source for investing information, then you better have experience in the stock market, and preferably more than a year’s worth.
Be Personal, but Not Too Much
Depending on what your bio is for, your readers may not want to know you’re a cat lover or a coffee addict. Adding personal touches is fine so that your readers know that you are human. Make sure you don’t go overboard and take away from the actual bio. Throw in a fun fact sandwiched between the important info.
Don’t Worry About Bragging
It’s okay to brag a bit. Make sure you don’t go overboard, but you can brag. It’s not rude, you’re just proud of your accomplishments.
Don’t Make it Long
I said this in the keep it short and sweet tip, but it’s important, so I’ll say it again. DON’T MAKE YOUR BIO LONG. Nobody wants to read your life story, they just want to know they can trust you, or they’re looking to get to know you a little better.
If you follow these tips you should be able to create a great author bio. The three most important things to remember are: keep your audience in mind, write in the third person, and keep it short. Those three things will help you the most.
Half my life is an act of revision. – John Irving