Is Your Author Bio Compelling Enough? Sell More Books With a Great Bio!

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How To Write A Compelling Author Bio

author-bios

When you wrote your Amazon book page, how much thought did you put into the author bio? Did you quickly throw together some random sentences just so you could finish the page and hit “publish”?

Did you even bother to write an author bio at all?

No one reads the author bio… so it doesn’t really matter, right?

Wrong!

Unless you’re a household name, the author bio matters!

I’m assuming you’re not Grisham, or Godin, or Ferriss, or Fleming (that last one would be particularly difficult to achieve) – which means very few people other than your mom will buy the book purely because you’re the author.

Instead, those who end up on your book page will rely on a few key details to help them determine whether or not to buy it. Those details are: book reviews, book description, and author bio!

(It’s a given that you need a stellar front cover, an attention-grabbing book title, and a sophisticated keyword strategy. But those are the elements that get users to your book page in the first place – not what keeps them there.)

The author bio is where you establish yourself as the kind of person who ought to be read by your target market. It’s where you forge a connection with your potential readers and get them to trust you, believe in you, and want to read what you have to say. If you take the author bio seriously and get it right, you’ll sell more books. *That’s* why the author bio matters.

In This Article, You Will Learn:

  • How to decide which information to include (and what you can leave out) in your author bio
  • The best “tone” and “personality” to use
  • Tips on making sure your author bio is persuasive and engaging
  • How to add the bio to your book listing page
  • An author bio template checklist

First, though, a quick explanation of which author bio we’re talking about. On Amazon, there are two kinds of bio: the generic bio on your “Author Page,” and separate bios for each of your books. The advice in this post is aimed at your bio on your individual book pages (although much of it will still be relevant to your main “Author Page”).

Let’s go!

STEP 1: STRATEGICALLY PREPARE FOR  YOUR AUTHOR BIO

Before you write your masterpiece of an author bio, ask yourself the following questions.

What’s Your Book About?

If your book is a contemporary romance novel with a middle-aged female protagonist, the personality and content of your author bio will be markedly different from if you’re writing about tax-deduction strategies for real estate investors.

While this may seem like the most “obvious” advice ever, you’d be surprised by just how much unnecessary or inappropriate content (in terms of the book’s subject matter) finds its way into the author bio. If your nightmare-inducing horror novel contains a perky and cheerful author description about your love for puppies and former career as a glassblower, it’s just going to confuse readers and lose their connection to your writing.

Who Are You Writing For?

Closely linked to the question above, you need to think about your target reader.

Who did you have in mind when writing the book?

Who do you want to buy and read it?

Will that person be looking for evidence of your credibility in the field and reassurance that you’re an authority on the subject? Or are you hoping to attract people who are drawn to your personality or unique opinions or insights?

Figure it out, then write for that person. Try not to add information to your bio “just in case” a different kind of reader might appreciate it. You’ll end up with a behemoth of a bio that no one reads because it’s simply too daunting.

 

What Tone And Personality Suit The Author Bio?

Again, this ties into the previous questions. If you’ve written a funny fictional story, go with that same humor in your bio. If your book is a spiritual guide to personal growth, some life-affirming positivity wouldn’t go amiss.

You can also use the author bio to guide the reader into understanding what the personality of the book will be like – which is particularly useful when the tone of the book is unusual or surprising compared to the subject matter.

For example, there’s a book called Profit First: A Simple System To Transform Any Business From A Cash-Eating Monster To A Money-Making Machine. If anyone reaches the Amazon page thinking the author will have an overly aggressive or arrogant approach, the bio (a fabulous combination of humor, credentials, and authority on the subject) will set them straight:

“Mike Michalowicz (mi-KAL-o-witz) is the author of Profit First, The Pumpkin Plan and the “entrepreneur’s cult classic” (BusinessWeek), The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. With a popular, quirky website MikeMichalowicz.com, he is a globally recognized entrepreneurial advocate. Mike is a former small business columnist for the Wall Street Journal, is MSBNC’s business make-over, has built and sold two multi-million dollar companies and currently runs his third.”

STEP 2: HOW TO WRITE AN AUTHOR BIO

While you’re writing, keep asking yourself: Is this relevant to my reader? Will they be interested in the fact that I was born in California or that I was top of my class in Physics once?

And while we’re on this topic… no one cares that you always wanted to be a writer. Well done that you’re living your dream, but seriously: leave it out unless you’re writing a memoir.

This isn’t to say that your bio should be impersonal. On the contrary: it’s your opportunity to connect with readers and make them feel like they know you and *want* to read your work. You just need to make sure the information you include is relevant and will be of genuine interest to them.

Here are some other things to consider while writing:

Go With The Third Person

“About the author” demands the third person. While it may feel a bit weird to write “he” or “she” rather than “I,” there’s one major benefit: it’ll come across as less boastful when you start mentioning all your (relevant) accomplishments and accolades.

That said…

We All Know You Wrote Your Own Author Bio

You can’t go waaay overboard showing off because – even though the author bio is in the third person – every reader will know you wrote it. State your achievements, sure, but don’t become a braggart: try to bring a little humility and modesty to the text.

Keep Your Author Bio Short

Even if you have a ton of biographical information that relates to your book, very few people will be prepared to wade through nine paragraphs of it. The faster they can read about you, the faster they can click the link to buy your book.

The general consensus on word count is aim for 75 words, but definitely don’t go above 150. It takes effort and practice to distill everything into such a short space, but once you’ve nailed it you’ll be able to fit a great deal of personality and information into those words.

Use It Like A Business Card

Give readers a way to interact with you by adding your website or social media info. At the very least, they’ll be able to find out more about you and explore your other works.

STEP 3: ADD THE AUTHOR BIO TO YOUR BOOK PAGE

You can do this in one of two ways:

  • Visit Amazon Author Central, click on your book, and add it in the “About the Author” section OR…
  • If you published a paperback version of your book on CreateSpace, you can enter the bio in the “Author Biography” section for your book. There isn’t an equivalent field in KDP, but when you include this information on CreateSpace, it’ll automatically get included on the Kindle version of your book on Amazon.

USE THESE AUTHOR BIO EXAMPLES AS INSPIRATION

Here are some real-life author bios that combine most or all of the tips above:

Damn Delicious: 100 Super Easy, Super Fast Recipes: “Chungah Rhee is the founder, recipe developer, and photographer of Damn Delicious. What began as a grad school hobby is now a top food blog, with millions of readers coming to her site for easy weeknight recipes and simplified gourmet meals. She lives and continues to cook non-stop in Los Angeles, with her baby corgi, Butters. Visit her at damndelicious.net.” [60 words]

Long Range Shooting Handbook: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Long Range Shooting: “Ryan Cleckner served as a special operations sniper team leader with the U.S. Army’s elite 1st Ranger Bn. on multiple combat deployments. Ryan is a graduate of the premier Special Operations Target Interdiction Course (SOTIC), among other military training courses, and has taught snipers and police sharpshooters from around the world. Ryan has a series of online instructional videos known for their ability to explain complex topics in a simple and digestible way. Ryan is currently a firearms industry professional and an attorney.” [83 words]

Diary of a Farting Creeper: Why Does the Creeper Fart When He Should Explode? (Volume 1): Who is Wimpy Fart? Wimpy Fart loves Minecraft and writes awesome Minecraft books for YOU because you are the best Minecraft fans in the world. You can email Wimpy Fart to tell him about your favorite Minecraft books, or to talk about really loud farts. wimpyfart@gmail.com Oh – Wimpy Fart reads all your awesome Amazon reviews and likes to know what you want to read about in Minecraft books! [68 words]

Forgotten Secrets: Internationally bestselling and award-winning author Robin Perini is devoted to giving her readers fast-paced, high-stakes adventures with a love story sure to melt their hearts. A RITA Award finalist, she sold fourteen titles to publishers in less than two years after winning the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award in 2011. An analyst for an advanced technology corporation, she is also a nationally acclaimed writing instructor and enjoys competitive small-bore rifle silhouette shooting. Robin makes her home in the American Southwest and loves to hear from readers. Visit her website at http://www.robinperini.com. [94 words]

Screen Shot 2017-01-17 at 5.25.27 PMDave Chesson’s Own Blog Bio at Kindlepreneur: (Added by Dave here) I probably don’t have to tell you but I’m pretty much a techy goof ball.  And hopefully, my bio does a great job of conveying it. Using humor and an upbeat manner, I hope I’ve created a dialogue that lets Kindlepreneur readers know exactly who I am as a writer for this site in 34 words. But the inspiration for such a bio came after I read an amazing biography of John Scalzi at the end of his book “Old Man’s War.” It was this biography that drove me to buy John’s next book and follow him on his blog…does that make me a stalker?  John Scalzi, what do you think?

USE THIS AUTHOR BIO TEMPLATE

The information you include in your author bio (and the personality of your text) will depend on a combination of many factors.

There’s no “one size fits all” approach. Having said that, the following checklist provides a structure you may wish to consider. If you browse many of the best author bios, you’ll notice they tend to follow this sequence:

Punchy, impactful intro sentence

Introduce industry/field/authority area

Build credibility without overly bragging

Add a personal touch

Finish on a call to action (check out new book, follow on social media, etc.)

YOU’RE READY!

The steps in this post take you through everything you need to think about and do when it comes to writing your own author description. Refer back to them when you start writing – and you’ll have a persuasive, engaging author bio that wins more fans and sells more books in no time!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MISH SLADE

Mish Slade, author of the How to Write a Author Bio article

Mish Slade is the founder of copywriting agency Mortified Cow  – which takes a decidedly different view on how businesses should promote themselves. Her latest book is called May I Have Your Attention, Please? Your Guide to Business Writing That Charms, Captivates, and Converts.

If you are curious, here is Mish’s “Bio” from the About page of her website (and yes, it’s funny)…

About Us
We’re Mish and Rob, and we’re on a mission to help businesses discover their greatness and win their 
dream customers. To be honest, we’re only doing it to save our marriage.
Trouble is, looking at bad business copy puts us in such a foul mood we start sniping at each other. One too many lame clichés or labored passages of jargon, and before you know it the dinner’s in the dog and sex is off the menu for the rest of the week.
So we’re working through the problem, one business at a time – it’s our own form of relationship counseling.

Great Amazon Searchability Tip for Authors – Simple but Effective!

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The Right Way to Save Your Book’s Amazon Sales Page Link

By Sandra Beckwith of: Build Book Buzz (Sep 28, 2016)

www.buildbookbuzz.com

Amazon searchability

Do you want your book to be seen by more people on Amazon?

Improve its Amazon searchability.

That involves showing up near the top of the Amazon search results when people are looking for a book like yours .

Amy Collins of New Shelves has a great strategy for making sure your book shows up at the top of Amazon search results for your topic or title.

Here’s how it works: Amazon’s search function is actually a powerful search engine. When people are looking for a book on a topic or genre, they use the Amazon search box the same way they use Google: They type in keywords or key phrases related to the book’s subject, the exact title, the author’s name, or maybe the genre.

Amazon figures out what to show them in the same way that Google does. Both search engines rely on users to help them determine which search results are the most relevant. And that’s what you want to do with Amy’s tip — you want to help Amazon learn that your book is relevant to the right search terms.

Read how to do this at:

https://buildbookbuzz.com/your-books-amazon-sales-page-link/

We highly recommend you subscribe to Sandra's book marketing blog! 
She has GREAT tips for selling more books in EVERY blog post! 
Goto: www.buildbookbuzz.com to sign up today!

Tips for Getting Your Small Press Book into Bookstores

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 This article is for our Muse Authors, but authors of other small presses might find it useful. 25

Small Press Publisher’s Tips for Approaching Bookstores to Get Your Books on Shelves— Methods and Suggestions that have garnered the best results after much trial and error! by Gineve Rudolph of World Nouveau Publishing

FIRST
• Have at least 10 books in your trunk at all times
• Every time you go into a new town for an appointment or to visit a friend etc. go early and stop by as many bookstores as you can hit in the area

SECOND
• Approach the bookstore clerk at the front with a copy of your book in hand and say:                       “Hello, I’d like to talk to someone about placing this title in your store.”
-Don’t say you are the author (yet)
-Don’t give your name (yet)
-Don’t pitch your book (yet)
-Don’t ask for the “Book buyer” because they might say he/she is not here right now, come back later

• With the intro line (in bold) above you might get the book buyer, or if he/she is not there, you will be directed to someone in charge who can influence the book buyer. Never pitch the check-out clerk unless they respond to your into by saying, “That would be me” or “I’m the manager, our buyer isn’t here right now,” etc. in which case you would ask him or her if he/she has a moment to talk or when would be a good time to come back

• If they say no, there’s no one here with book buying authority, ask them the name of their book buyer or manager and when they will be in next.

THIRD
• Once you get to the right person, introduce yourself and ask if he/she has a moment to chat -DON’T hand them your book (yet).

IMPORTANT: Once you give them the book, their focus is no longer on you. ALWAYS pitch first and hand them the book after, if possible. Sometimes they reach for it and at that point, it becomes awkward if you don’t hand it over. If that happens, go ahead and give it to them, but don’t speak while they are reading the back material. If they begin skimming the pages, that would be your next opportunity to talk.

• If they say yes they have a moment to chat, start your pitch with the same line you gave the clerk (unless the clerk IS the manager or book buyer which happens in smaller stores sometimes).

“I’d like to talk to you about placing this title in your store. It’s called ______ and it’s about__________________…”
-This is your “elevator pitch” here. One or two lines is fine –three at the most –don’t go into detail about the plot or tell them how good it is
-Elaborate only if they ask questions (have a few more highlight details prepared if they ask. Try not to wing it. Writers often ramble when they wing it)

FOURTH
-Let them know you have been published by a small press. Tell them the name of your publisher, and that your book is fully returnable, listed in “Books in Print,” and available through the normal ordering channels with Ingram (iPage is the portal most bookstores use. All WN books can be ordered through Ingram’s iPage portal).
-When you give them the book, let them know it is a complementary copy that they can keep
NOTE: If they seem reluctant to consider it for their store, offer to give them a few copies for consignment (which means you only get paid if they sell). This is a no-risk way for them to test out the popularity of your book. Let them know you will be checking back with them in a month to see how it’s going. Note: consignment often requires paperwork which means more effort on their part, and some bookstores do not offer consignment as an option

-If you can afford it: offer to give them a few free copies to sell in their store as a trial run (this is where the copies in your trunk come in handy) and say “If these copies sell, you can order more through Ingram. That will be sufficient compensation.” This allows them to test the title in their store with no risk and no obligation.

FIFTH
• Always let them know you will be marketing your book in the area to drive traffic to their store. NOTE: If the store is located in or near the city where you live, let them know you are a local author. Bookstores love local authors and most stores will carry your book (including large chain stores like Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million and Powells) if you are local.
• Let them know you are available for book signings.
• Always thank them for their time and let them know you will stop by again to say hi and see how the books are doing.
• Always ask for their business card and give them one of your  business cards in return–one that represents you as an author and has the cover of your book on it. Let them know if they have any questions they can contact you anytime.

• Carry a small notebook (or use a notepad app on your smart phone) to keep track of every store you visit (regardless of their response), record the contact person’s name, notes on what they said, and how many books you left with them. Include the biz card with your notes. Remember to record the date so you know when to follow up. If possible, put your follow up reminders on a digital calendar that can send you a reminder when it is time to follow up. Usually, one or one and a half months (at the most) after initial contact is a good check in point, so they don’t forget about you. THE FOLLOW UP is one of the most IMPORTANT things you do to sell your book!

One last thing. Do everything you can to get people into the store to buy your books but if they are not selling, wait 2-3 weeks and then send a friend into the store to buy a copy of your book… or better yet send two or three friends… just make sure they go in on different days, of course. No bookstore will stock your book for long if there is no interest in it.

Happy marketing!