Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Challenge Of Creating A Great Author Profile

Image result for biography images

When authors market themselves and seek to promote their book they have to clearly state who they are and why they are qualified or best positioned to write their book.  So how does an author identify his or her relevant credentials?

Authors don’t go around handing out a resume but they do have to post a biography in their press kit materials, on their web site, on the back cover of their book, and in social media profiles. There is an art form to doing this.

An author biography is written, of course, based on what the author has accomplished. Relevant areas may include the following:

·         Schools attended and degrees earned.
·         Where you worked, for how long, holding which positions.
·         Awards won – or things you were a finalist for.
·         Books written or places that published your writings.
·         Where you live.
·         Your website.
·         Non-profits where you volunteered or held leadership positions.
·         Unique or relevant hobbies.
·         Interesting skills.
·         Odd facts.
·         Prior media coverage.

What you share is intended to establish how you are the right person to put out your book.  People need to feel you are the expert!

The order in which you present information and the length of the biography are some things to pay attention to. You don’t want to ramble or emphasize the wrong things – and you don’t want to undersell or misrepresent yourself.

Let logic and common sense lead the way. Take a list of all of the things that you think could be in your bio and turn them into sentences and paragraphs. Change the order they appear from most important to least important.

Sometimes you can say more by giving less information. For instance, if you worked for six different companies, don’t list them all. Summarize and say something like: “Over the past three decades, author x has done z.” Only list a company name or two if they are so recognizable or important.

Some authors who write on serious topics don’t need to talk about hobbies but lifestyle authors or novelists may include in their bio something about pets, hobbies, or passions.

You don’t have to include things on your bio that are irrelevant or shed a negative light on yourself. You are not under any obligation to confess everything. Just give people something positive, factual and targeted to digest.

Another thing to avoid in your bio is a quotation – of yourself or someone else – and opinions, especially on controversial topics that don’t relate to your book’s subject matter. This isn’t a dating profile!

One mistake people make in their bio is to include something small but you obviously are trying to make it sound bigger.  That quickly delegitimizes you.

Watch your use of adjectives and superlatives in a bio. If it sounds too salesy, people will move on.

Your bio should include a photo of yourself, one that gives an image consistent with who you are projecting and what one would expect. Please, no images of you petting a dog when it’s a book about losing weight and no photos of you looking sexy when it’s a business book. Be appropriate in your dress, environment, and look for your photo. What works for Facebook doesn’t always fit a press kit biography.

Always double-check that your bio is accurate and that no one could dispute its contents. The last thing you want is for people to think you are a fraud.

Keep the bio to no more than a page, and often a half-page is fine. Lastly, periodically update your bio should new things develop for you.


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2020. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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