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6 Secrets to Writing a Killer Author Bio
In today’s guest post, novelist Roni Loren shares some terrific tips for writing a compelling author bio.
So we’re writers, right? Which means throwing together a few sentences about ourselves should be no big deal, right? No?
So I’ve been working on that little thing called an author bio. You know, the thing that goes on your website/blog and eventually if you’re published, in your book. It’s only a few sentences but it’s supposed to tell your reader something about you and hopefully make you seem…well, that’s one of the issues. How do you want to appear? Likeable? Intelligent? Worldly? Funny? Mega-super-important?
What image are you going for? What best conveys who you actually are?
To start this process, I went and looked at some bios of other authors. For those that were multi-published, award-winning, well-established, the bios were often pretty dry. Mostly consisting of what they had published and the accolades attached to that. Well, if we’re not at that point yet, what exactly should we put in it.
Based on my very unscientific research, here are the things that stood out in the best bios:
1. The author seemed relatable.
This can be something simple–they drink a lot of coffee, have a pet, like 80s music, whatever. It makes you realize, oh they’re just another person like me.
2. A touch of humor
This is a biggy for me. I love an author to have a sense of humor in their bio. Now, if the person is writing serious literary fiction about genocide or something, maybe that’s not so fitting. But in general, I think a little wit and humor goes a long way.
3. Some personal history
I like to know what a person was doing before they became a writer. Did they have other careers? Where did they go to school? This gives me more of a sense of who they are. Someone who majored in math is probably going to be very different from someone who majored in art history.
4. Said where the author lives (even if that’s vaguely stated)
I don’t know why, but for me, this is something I want to know. For instance, if the person lives in Texas or Louisiana, I already feel a bit of kinship with them. Plus, people like to support local authors, so putting your state in there can alert readers in your area that you’re a native.
5. The person sounded interesting!
Every one of us has SOMETHING interesting about ourselves. Quirky jobs, strange talents, silly interests. Pick a few of those things to include. It doesn’t have to be anything major. In fact, I think the smaller, random things are usually best.
6. You got a sense of their voice.
Yes, I know, it always comes back to voice, doesn’t it? People who wrote serious stories tended to have serious bios. Young adult authors tended to have upbeat, funny bios that teens could relate too. Get the picture?
So, after taking all those things into account, here’s what I came up with for mine:
Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. After earning a master’s degree in social work from LSU, she worked in a mental hospital, counseled birthmothers as an adoption coordinator, and did management recruiting in her PJs. But she always returned to writing.
Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars concerts.
Alright, so what do you like to see in an author bio? Do you read the bios in the back of books or on people’s blogs? Who has a great bio that stood out to you?
Roni Loren’s debut novel CRASH INTO YOU will be released January 2012 by Berkley Heat/Penguin. If you want to read more posts like this one or follow her journey to debut authorhood, she blogs three times a week on writing at her Fiction Groupie site. She also tweets way too much for her own good. You can find her here: