Your book is written. The result of months of effort has finally come to fruition. For most authors their main focus is the work between the front and back cover. But in order to connect you with the subject of your book and hopefully your target market, you will need a bio. Don’t underestimate its importance. Your bio will often determine whether people proceed to even skim through your book, let alone buy it.

So where to start? For new authors it’s worth spending time looking at different bios, especially within your genre, either online or in bookstores. You will come away with ideas of what makes a good, excellent or stand-out author bio as well as quickly realizing what is important to include and what is superfluous. Here are some things to consider when writing your bio:

  • A bio determines your credibility and reputation as an author. For example, if you have written a book on investment include the fact that you worked in financial services for ten years as it establishes you as a credible source. If you have relevant professional or educational credentials include those too.
  • Your family history is important to you but again only refer to it if it is of relevance. Writing a book on Japan? Lived there for several years as a young adult? Mention that!
  • Keep it interesting but be succinct. Be careful not to overwrite. A meandering bio with a lot of irrelevant information will quickly bore readers and won’t sell your book. Equally, too little is seldom enough. Unless you are a global household name readers need to know enough about you to understand who you are and why they should want to read your book.
  • Keep your bio to a maximum of 200-250 words.
  • If you have a website include the link to it.
  • Keep your bio fresh and updated. Review it regularly as it will develop as your literary journey does. Similarly, if you are writing on different subject matters you will more than likely need a different bio for each genre.

Finally, remember that selling yourself is the first step to selling your book. Good luck!

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Mary Vaux-ClarkMary Vaux-Clark is a freelance editor, proof-reader and writer. Her areas of interest include current affairs, travel, history and sport. She has travelled widely and worked in Hong Kong as an editor and ESL teacher for over ten years.