Author Bio Dos and Don’ts

Getting into the writing game doesn’t just mean composing entire books, dreaded synopses, and query letters, you also need an author bio.

Yep! As much as you might want the focus to only be on the art you’ve created, agents, publishers, and readers are going to want to know about the person behind the pen, and an author bio helps them do that. What will help you craft a worthy one are these dos and don’ts.

Author Bio Dos and Don’ts

Don’t Write Just One

While you can base your bios off the same info, using a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for every place you’ll list it. For example, a bio listed on your own blog or website can be a few paragraphs long. A bio that goes at the end of a query letter needs to only be a few sentences.

The best thing to do is to write a bio that includes everything you want (your name, writing experience, competitions/short story publishing wins, previously published titles, something fun about you, where you can be found online, etc), and then strip it back to just the essentials (name, writing experience, where you can be found online).

Aim for at least 200 words as your standard bio, and 50 for the compact version.

Do Adjust For Each Audience

As well as making sure your length is right, adjust the tone of your bio. Professional sounding with all the relevant info is perfect for your website “About” page, “About The Author” section of your book, and a press release. While a fun, quirky sentence is ideal for social media.

Don’t Include Everything

If you’re lucky enough to have an extensive number of books or accolades to include, don’t fill up your bio with everything. List only the latest and greatest.

Do Include One Interesting Thing About Yourself

While it’s an author bio and should mainly revolve around your work as an author, make sure to add at least one interesting thing about yourself.

You might think you have nothing to include, but the world is a big place. You’d probably be surprised to know that mentioning the fact you collect animal-shaped pot plants resonates with others. On the flip-side, if you have no publishing achievements to list (I’ve been there!), list your passions or why you write.

Don’t Forget To Update Your Bio Regularly

It’s a good idea to revise your bio regularly, especially after every new release. While re-jigging the bio for your latest book is a given, don’t forget the other places your bio appears, which brings us to our final do…

Do Keep A List Of Where Your Bio Is Published

Even if you think you’ll remember, write down all the places it’s listed. That way, when you need to update your bio, you can easily tick off every place on your list and know you’re giving the world your up-to-date achievements.

I recently updated my bio after the release of my second book, and even though I thought I’d hit every place, I logged into Pinterest a few months after release and noticed the bio there was out of date. Now I do have a list, which is below to give you an idea:

A bio written and ready to post anywhere online, in your press releases, book releases, and with queries and publisher/submission correspondence is worth crafting, and I hope these dos and don’ts help you do that.

— K.M. Allan

19 thoughts on “Author Bio Dos and Don’ts

  1. Reading this, I realize that I’ve been very wasteful of time, and not had a ready-made bio for use on multiple occasions. I tend to write one as and when needed. I will rectify this today.

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  3. Great list! Forgot about that Gravatar bio! Along the lines of having different bios, one of the things I talked about in my last post (something gleaned from a recent writing festival) was to have several elevator pitches. The marketing yourself stuff is difficult, for me anyway, but so necessary. Thanks for this post–I’m keeping it so I don’t forget!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Rebecca! I hear you about the marketing yourself thing. It is hard, especially when you feel like you’re not an especially interesting person 😅. Great tip about having different elevator pitches. I find them hard too. I mean, how do you condense everything into one line?! 😫

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      1. Very hard! Right–all the bells and whistles went off when I realized I should have one elevator pitch for my fiction writing, one for my blog, one for my journal editing–and on and on. Otherwise, it’d just be a boring laundry list!

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