Author biographies vary almost as much the topics of books themselves. Some people choose to be funny, others choose to be professorial, but one thing is for certain…the author biography is your space to tell the story of you.
If you take a look at any of the book jackets you have lying around, chances are a majority of the author bios will have some common elements. They will include a photo of the author, a reference to prior works of at least minor distinction, and a sentence of general personal information about the author. A safe bet would be to use these guidelines as the basis for developing your author bio. Any additional information you choose to layer on top can help you find your own voice. Here are a few tips on really making your bio pop:
If you choose to add a line or two about your life outside of the writing world, make it something that matters to you. For instance, offer some words about your spouse, kids, pet, hometown, or favorite hobby. Pick something that is such a huge part of your life, you “have” to mention it. This is an area where your readers get to know about you, the real life person. It helps create interest and a sense of connection.
Referencing your past works (especially if they have achieved some level of recognition) is a great way to show that you are skilled at what you are writing about. If you don’t have past works, this is a good area to more generally answer the question: Why is it that you are able to write authoritatively on this subject? Chances are this is more important if you are writing nonfiction, but even in the fiction world, what specifically made you want to write this story? Having a good answer to what connection you have with this world gives the reader some confidence.
Some of the more memorable lines featured in author bios have very little to do with career or personal life. Don’t be afraid to add some spunk to your bio by being yourself, throwing in a line completely off-topic, or telling a joke. You may be surprised how much your readers admire your creativity!
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