Readers of your work like to know something about who wrote the book or short story. An author bio serves two purposes:
- It gives your readers an idea of what you like besides writing.
- An author bio gives you a chance to let others know what you do and what you have published.
This article gives tips and examples of author bios for including in published works and on author websites and blogs. You can also include your author bio in press releases and other announcements about your writing.
Don’t be overly cute. You aren’t a child, but a professional writer so behave like one. Do not say you attended the School of Hard Knocks or graduated with honors from Hogwart’s. If you are serious about being published, then be serious with your bio. You want to make a good impression, the same way you want to make a good impression when you go to a job interview. If you don’t want certain things known about you, then don’t put it in the bio.
If you are writing a bio for a query letter, write it in the first person.
If it’s for something you are publishing or for your blog or website, write in the third person.
Read other author bios to see how they were done. Both traditionally published writers and self-published writers. Amazon author pages are the best way for this.
Use a high-resolution headshot of you if asked for by a publisher or to place on your website. Not an image of you and your family, significant other, or at a party. The bio is about YOU.
When you submit something for publication and the publisher asks for an author’s bio, read their guidelines carefully and look at the bios written by other writers for that publication. Some publications don’t want you to mention where you have been previously published. Silly, but true.
Some publications ask for a very short bio, one to three sentences in length.
Here’s an example:
Anna Dobritt lives in Michigan and has published two short stories, a novelette, and the first book in a trilogy.
Generic Author Bio
You can also create a tagline, which is like a headline. This acts as a quick introduction for you.
Sarah Smith is an archaeologist from Lansing, Michigan.
Here’s a generic author bio to help you out:
Sarah Smith, an archaeologist, has spent the last fifteen years at various digs around the world. She has published several articles in Archaeology Magazine. She lives in Lansing, Michigan, with two cats and a raven. This is her first novel.
First Person Author Bio
I am an independent eBook author, 53 years old and living in South Lyon, Michigan. I love to read and write, have two cats named Raven and Ebony. I enjoy watching Doctor Who, both the classic episodes and the current episodes.
Currently I’m working on three different trilogies — two in the paranormal genre and the other is fantasy. I have self-published two short stories, a novelette, and the first volume of a trilogy. In addition to the trilogies I’m also working on several other short stories and a novella.
Third Person Bio
Anna Dobritt is an independent eBook author and an indie publisher of RPG pdfs and fantasy maps through Cartography Unlimited for RPGs.
She is 53 years old, loves to read and write, and has two cats named Raven and Ebony that she considers her children. Anna lives in Michigan. She enjoys watching Dr. Who, both the classic episodes from the 1960s-1980s and the current episodes.
Anna has three trilogies in the queue: The Ravynwyng Chronicles – Volume 1: The Beginning has been released, and Volume 2: Discovery, is going through the editing and revision process, with plans to self-publish later this year. Volume 3: Truth is currently being written. Two other trilogies are The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures, and the Guardian Blades Trilogy.
Anna has self-published Volume 1 of the Ravynwyng Chronicles titled The Beginning; three short stories: The Hunter, First Raven, Raven Voice; a novelette titled Raven Flight; a collection of short fiction titled Whispers from Within and a piece of flash fiction in Spooky Halloween Drabbles 2014 published by Indie Authors Press. In 2015 she plans to release Ravenwyng Chronicles Volume 2: Discovery.
An author should include a headshot of just the author, no one else. After all, you wrote the book, not your kids, SOF, BFF, or anyone else. The Bio is about You and the picture should reflect that. The image should be high-resolution (300 dpi). However, if you are in a sensitive job or have had problems in the past personally, you shouldn’t include one.
I want to give a special thanks to Will Pennington and Heather Huntsman for the idea of this article. Both are members of Writers World critique group on Facebook.
May the words ever flow!