Imagine you are in a bookstore doing a little browsing, and you come across a book with the title, How To Make a Million Dollars as a Mime. For some odd reason, you decide that you would like to make a million dollars being a mime. This fact aside, you generally are a smart person and realize that the grandiose promise inferred by the title needs to be supported. Reading the author bio is one of the several ways you can find the support you need to justify buying the book. The bottom line: generally speaking, prospective readers don't read your bio because they care about you; they read your bio because they care about making a poor purchasing decision. It is your job to help assure them that buying your book is the right decision.
Now imagine the book that catches your eye is a fictional novel titled The Millionaire Mime: A Story of Greed, Sex, and Murder. Your motive is different as is the kind of support you need for buying the book. You don't care if the author is a mime, a millionaire, or a murderer; what you care about is if the author can write a good story. Again, it is your job to help assure the prospective reader that buying your book is the right decision.
I recently competed in a lip-sync competition and I asked how long I would have on stage. The answer was "as long as you can hold the audience's attention". That answer works great for how long a bio should be, as well. There are some hard limits when submitting an online bio (e.g. BN.com has a limit of 2500 characters), but very few people ever reach them. Also, consider the bio needs to be fairly concise if you are putting your bio on the back of printed book.
Here are some tips you can follow when writing your bio for a fiction book.
Non-fiction books come in many flavors, so consider the following tips in respect to your book.
You may find that a single bio is not enough for the same book. You may want a short version, a medium version, and a longer version. For example, a short version comprising a few sentences might be ideal for radio interviews or bios that appear in articles. The medium version would be your standard version you send to retailers who sell your book, and the long version could be for your website and perhaps your Goodreads author profile.
Like all of your writing for the public, make sure you proofread, spellcheck, and grammar check your document. Then ask someone who will give you honest feedback to read it for you.
Writing about yourself, especially in the third person where you can get away with boasting, should be an enjoyable experience. Have fun with this! And remember that for a customer who is on fence about buying your book, reading your well-written, persuasive bio could be just enough to tip the scales in favor of a sale.
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