Let’s be honest.
It feels weird to self-promote.
Talking about yourself? Saying how great you are? It doesn’t come easy to all of us.
But if you want your books to sell, you’re going to have to self-promote.
The good news? There are ways to do it that won’t make you feel gross or slimy or salesy.
In this blog post, I’ll show you the best practices that will engage your readers and make them want to hear what you have to say. Then I’ll provide author bio examples, so you can model yours after great ones that other people have used.
This will help remove the self-promotional writer’s block so that you can get back to what’s important—sharing your books!
The True Goal of any Great Author Bio
As a thought leader, you’re selling your ideas to your readers. Whether it’s self-help training on weight loss, time management, real estate expertise, or any other number of subjects—one of the biggest hurdles is proving to your audience that you are an authority on the subject.
Yes, you have the answers to their questions, struggles, and problems. But why should they trust you?
That’s where your author bio comes in.
How to Write an Author Bio That Builds Your Brand and Generates Sales
Step 1: Start with a Strong Summary
In today’s society, many people no longer take the time to read or even watch an Instagram reel longer than 15 seconds. It’s a sad fact in our society that the average human’s attention span has dwindled down to 8.47 seconds.
That being said, when you’re talking about what people care about, they’re going to keep reading.
If you get your summary right, you’ll keep the attention of both average readers AND scanners
Your goal is to talk about how your book helps people, and why you’re the authority on the subject.
A scanner is not going to read your entire bio, so highlighting important facts and the summarization while making the font larger or bold can help the scanner quickly determine the value of your book and why they need to continue reading (or scanning) through the rest of your author bio.
Step 2: Writing in Third Person
Hate talking about yourself? Now you don’t have to!
Writing in the third person automatically takes the pressure off of anyone concerned with self-promotion.
The point is for it to sound like someone else is writing your biography. You’ve likely seen this in other author bios—it’s not only common practice but the industry standard.
The great part is, this takes the pressure off you writing about yourself and allows you to write from another’s perspective—which can give you the freedom to brag about yourself a bit more than you would otherwise.
The bottom line—third-person bios make selling yourself to the reader a much easier task!
Step 3: Achievements, Awards and Accolades
This section is one of the most important parts of your author bio. A reader needs to be able to look at your credentials and know that you are an authority—which gives the reader a feeling of validity because they chose a book written by an industry expert.
You can boost credibility in an author biography by talking about education, best-seller lists, and other awards, or even your overwhelming success in an industry like finance or real estate.
For a fiction author, adding credibility to your author bio can be a more difficult task, unless your last book won awards or sold tons of copies. But, it can still be done nonetheless.
Consider the 2018 #1 New York Times Best Seller—Where the Crawdad’s Sing.
Delia Owens co-wrote three nationally bestselling nonfiction books. But Where the Crawdad’s Sing was her first novel, and it became a NY Times bestseller even though she had no previous experience as a novelist.
Her author bio explains her background in zoology and animal behavior, which gives her the authority needed to show off her educational background in wildlife. This is a large part of her novel.
Step 4: Make it Brief
Much like anything, people are focused on themselves and the benefits they will be receiving from the books they read, movies they watch, songs they listen to, etc.
You may be tempted to show off how much you know in your bio.
People only have room for just a few points in their brains.
So if you are a writer that has a laundry list of education and awards, choose the most important items that give you the most credibility—and leave the deep dive details for Wikipedia.
Step 5: Give it a Little Flair of Personality
You might think you should make your bio sound “professional.” But all too often, “professional” is code for “robotic.” When you try to go professional, it’s normally boring.
The only caveat is if you are writing a medical textbook or a law book. If that’s the case, stick to the facts and give your educational background, findings, credentials, and anything else that further backs up your authority on the subject.
Otherwise, adding personality to your writer bio goes along with your overall writing style. It can cause readers to relate to you and feel as if they “know you.” Try humor, sarcasm, or just a more laid-back approach—and watch what happens.
If a reader connects with your author bio on a personal level, they’re much more likely to purchase your book.
5 Amazing Author Bio Examples
1. Delano Lewis: “It All Begins With Self – How To Discover Your Passion, Connect With People, And Succeed In Life”
|Delano Lewis, a native Kansan, is a family man, a pioneer, a trailblazer, a public servant, a businessman, and a diplomat. His message is clear that with a strong family foundation, solid education and training, hard work, perseverance, committed mentors and supporters, you, too, can be successful. It starts with self.|
We love this bio because it is short, sweet, and to the point. It not only describes Delano Lewis, but in describing who he is as a man, it is also describing his entire belief system.
This writer’s bio will easily resonate with his followers and will cause new readers to want to hear more of what Mr. Lewis has to say, simply because they connected with him on an emotional level.
Delano Lewis explains that he is writing about more than just material success—he’s also writing about the hard work, ethics, training, and perseverance required to achieve that success. Even a scanner can read this bio quickly and get enough to make an educated decision on whether or not this book is right for them.
If you are unfamiliar with Delano Lewis, then you are probably unaware of his many accomplishments.
Not only did he serve as the former US Ambassador to South Africa, working closely with Nelson Mandela, he was also the former President and CEO of NPR, and served as a director for the US Peace Corp in both Uganda and Nigeria.
And those are just a few of his many accolades.
As a small critique to his bio, I do wish he had mentioned those things because it gives him authority and allows the reader to have more immediate trust in him based on his credentials.
2. Karen Simpson-Hankins: “Conquer Your Closing – Inside Secrets For Today’s Savvy Home Buyer”
|Karen Simpson-Hankins, called “a go-to mortgage and real estate expert” in the media and a “breath of fresh air” by her clients, is a 37-year veteran of the mortgage industry, radio show host, author, coach and speaker.|
This is yet another great example of a short and sweet bio. Attention-grabbing for the attentive reader as well as the scanner.
Her credentials are intertwined into her bio—who she is and how she is referred to in the media and by her clients.
Karen also briefly explains her years of work experience in the industry of home buying and closing through her years working directly in the real estate industry, as a radio host, author, coach, and speaker.
In just 40 words, Karen Simpson-Haskins was able to condense over 37 years of experience, giving her authority in the real estate space and giving her readers peace of mind knowing they will be gaining real knowledge as they begin to step into the world of home ownership.
While a short-and-sweet bio is always a great way to grab someone’s attention and avoid being long-winded, I would recommend adding just a few more details.
Since Karen Simpson-Hankins has so much credibility in the real estate market, it would be great to add in a real quote from clients she has helped, or a short example of how she has helped someone in the mortgage and real estate space.
Adding some more personality and life details would also help readers connect with her on a more personal level.
3. Delia Owens: Where The Crawdads Sing
|Delia Owens is the coauthor of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa. She holds a BS in Zoology from the University of Georgia and a PhD in Animal Behavior from the University of California at Davis. She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, the African Journal of Ecology, and International Wildlife, among many others. She currently lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.|
Delia Owens’ writer bio is worth mentioning again because prior to the sale of this book, Delia had no accolades to show for herself as an author of novels. She did however have an education on wildlife which helped to give her the author status needed for a book so intertwined with wildlife and young love.
While she did not have any novel experience prior to the creation of this book, she did have many of her non-fiction books published. And instead of writing a long list of all of her publishings and accomplishments, she named a few of the most important and effective.
Delia also briefly mentions where she currently resides, adding a sliver of a personal touch to her bio. But, I do believe she could have given a bit more information about herself and her personal life. Readers do not want to be bombarded with too much personal information but they do enjoy feeling like they know you.
When you feel more human, it helps your results feel more achievable to your readers.
4. Ted Kallman: “The Nehemiah Effect: Ancient Wisdom From The World’s First Agile Projects”
|As an Enterprise Agile Coach, Ted Kallman helps organizations in the common-sense adoption of lean-agile Flow to increase project and organization effectiveness and value.
Ted is co-author of the national #1 Best Selling and Best Rated book The Nehemiah Effect: Ancient Wisdom from the World’s First Agile Projects and Flow: Getting Everyone Moving in the Same Direction … and Loving It released in April of 2018.
He also co-authored a book with Jeff Tobe Coloring Outside the Lines which is focused on Project Managers. This book was given as a gift by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to all participants at PMIs Leadership Institute Meeting 2015.
Ted is a PMI-ACP, PMP, CSM, CSPO, CSP. He is the founder of Agile West MI and currently serves WMPMI as President.
As a well-known Keynote speaker, he has presented to over 350,000 people over the past 30 years.
Ted has worked as a CEO, COO, CMO, and PMO in Europe and the US. His projects have included; Manufacturing, Telecom, Software Development, Marketing, CRM, and PMO creation with companies like Whirlpool, ZF/TRW, GM, OnStar, Steelcase and Ericsson.
Ted Kallman’s author bio is a bit lengthier than the others. Firstly, Ted has a lot of educational experience and professional development expertise to back up his findings and his writings.
By sharing that he was a keynote speaker for over 350,000 people in the last 30 years, he is able to further position himself as a leader in the PMI industry.
Mentioning that he has also co-authored several other books lets the reader know that he is a seasoned writer on this specific topic and is seen as an industry expert in the eyes of his colleagues as well.
Ted ends his bio by including positions he has held across the world, as well as large company names, to further credit his name to the topics discussed in his writings.
This is an excellent author biography because it is straightforward and to the point. Providing credentials and facts regarding Mr. Kallman’s life work.
The reader should gather from this author bio that his book would be full of similar information—straightforward facts and data. Just by the book’s title, a reader can gather that it is a serious text and therefore, ‘personality flair’ regarding the author’s bio is unnecessary in this instance.
If I could offer one area for improvement, it’d be this:
While this bio is more detailed and overall provides great information, it could be more brief.
I would recommend removing the information regarding his book being given as gifts at a PMI meeting. While this is nice, it’s not necessarily going to move the needle when a reader is looking to purchase a book.
Every word needs to fight for its place, and this information just isn’t important enough.
Focus on the bigger credentials, because smaller details can cause the reader to miss the more important focal points.
5. Krista Mashore: “The Ultimate Digital Marketing Playbook for Dominating Your Local Area: Take the Guesswork Out of Digital Marketing, Maximize Profits and Become the Authority in Your Business or Profession
|Krista Mashore has been in the top 1% of realtors nationwide for 20 years, selling over 2,300 homes. She is also in the top 1% of coaches nationwide. Krista is the author of four best selling books focusing on digital marketing and was named Yahoo Finance’s number 1 digital marketer to watch in 2021! She can also be found among the top 125 most impactful leaders in 2022 alongside Tony Robbins according to Success Magazine. She has been featured in Forbes, Inman News, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, Fox, and many more! Krista recently went from zero to 40 million dollars in just under four years. She is the recipient of eight Two Comma-Club Awards, one Two Comma Club X Award, and one Two Comma Club C Award.
Krista has a masters degree in curriculum and instruction. Always being a teacher at heart, she loves serving people and has turned her attention to sharing the secrets of her successes by coaching agents and professionals across the nation. Through her coaching, teaching, speaking and training, Krista is revolutionizing the way agents and professionals market themselves online. She offers an innovative step-by-step approach on how agents and entrepreneurs can gain a massive digital footprint.
For more on Krista Mashore check out her podcast “FIRED Up with Krista Mashore” and her latest book, The Ultimate Digital Marketing Playbook.
Right off the bat, the first sentence in Krista Mashore’s author bio puts her in the seat of authority for all things real estate.
If having credentials that name her as top 1% of realtors nationwide and coaches nationwide, she is also able to add that she is an author of 4 bestselling books, named Yahoo Finance’s #1 digital marketer to watch in 2023 AND one of the most impactful leaders in 2022 alongside Tony Robbins.
That first paragraph makes quite the impression for any reader or scanner looking for a book on real estate!
She then quickly lists a number of major news networks she has been featured in as well as her most impactful rewards.
In the next paragraph, Krista is able to add in the human element, allowing readers to understand who she is outside of the professional realm. She loves serving people, teaching, coaching, and helping other entrepreneurs around the world.
The only critique I have is I’d love to see Krista switch the order of the first two paragraphs. Both paragraphs set her in an authoritative tone. But the second paragraph also provides a human, personal element that can be more engaging right off the bat.
Giving a reader an idea of who you are and what you have done—and then providing all of your amazing statistics—can really engage an audience.
Your Author Bio Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle
Hopefully, this blog helped relieve the stress of writing your own author bio.
Understanding how to write an author bio is very important. But if you’re in the process of writing a book, and you’re not sure about the next steps needed to begin the dreaded self-promotion process, you’re going to need more.
The other pieces of the self-promotional puzzle when publishing a book can be just as daunting, but my book Publish. Promote. Profit helps you take the guesswork out of the process.
Not only will you learn how to publish your book and create key elements of your book like a compelling author bio and book description, you will also learn how to leverage your book sales in order to have other people pursuing YOU for speaking engagements, coaching opportunities, and more.
The end goal of all this? To build your platform as a writer and boost your overall impact and income.