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5 Rules for Writing Your Author Bio (With a Template)

As a writer, your author bio will be one of the most important selling points of your work, particularly if you publish nonfiction. This biographic blurb will be printed on the back of your novel, on your Amazon author profile or Goodreads page, and even quoted by media or reviewers discussing your book. In other words—it's an important thing to focus on to increase book sales and be taken seriously as an author. With that in mind, let's look at 5 rules for writing an author bio to make sure yours is perfectly polished and helps sell your book.

Your author bio could play a major role in helping you increase book sales after you publish.
Your author bio could play a major role in helping you increase book sales after you publish. Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash.

Rule #1 – Write your bio based on the type of book you're publishing

A nonfiction, self-help book on mindfulness in relationships is a very different book than an epic fantasy novel, and the author bio should read entirely different for each of these books—even if it's the same author! Readers of the first example will want to know that the author has experience either researching or coaching (or both) the concept of mindfulness, while readers of the second example would expect to see a more creative, fantastical slant in the author's bio.

Rule# 2 – Your author bio should reflect the book's main theme

Returning to the examples given in rule #1, for an author whose self-help book on mindfulness in relationships, his bio should include something reflecting that theme. This might be information about his own relationships ("…lives with his wife in rural California…") or the topic of mindfulness ("….enjoys meditating to the sound of the Pacific Ocean's waves…"). For the author of the epic fantasy, her bio might include something along the lines of their author's personal realm of fantasy, such as "she lives with a cat named Gandalf" or "she lives in Birmingham, England and chases Tolkien's ghost whenever she can."

Rule #3 – Determine your target reader

Your author bio should be written in consideration of your target reader in the same way your book was. If your book is suspenseful, that means your target reader enjoys suspense, so incorporating a little suspense into your biography is a great way to capture their attention. If the genre in which you're publishing is sci-fi with a lot of comedic elements thrown in, don't write a stuffy author bio lacking wit. Your readers obviously enjoy comedy (or they wouldn't be considering your book)—give it to them!

For example, consider this author bio:

John Scalzi writes books, which, considering where you're reading this, makes perfect sense. He's best known for writing science fiction, including the New York Times bestseller Redshirts, which won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal finance to astronomy to film, was the Creative Consultant for the Stargate: Universe television series. He enjoys pie, as should all right thinking people. You can get to his blog by typing the word "Whatever" into Google. No, seriously, try it.

You can see how Scalzi's author bio will immediately attract inquisitive, witty readers, which is exactly the target audience he's going for. However, I think in the time since this bio was written, the author's blog lost top ranking on Google search results (because, yes, I tried).

Rule #3 – Keep it short

Even having published over fifty romance novels with various pseudonyms, romance writer Claire Delacroix's bio reads like this:

Bestselling author Claire Delacroix published her first romance novel — a medieval romance called The Romance of the Rose — in 1993. Since then, she has published over fifty romance novels and numerous novellas, including time travel romances, contemporary romances and paranormal romances. The Beauty, part of her successful Bride Quest series, was her first book to land on the New York Times list of bestselling books. Claire has written under the name Claire Cross and continues to write as Deborah Cooke as well as Claire Delacroix. Claire makes her home in Canada with her family, a large undisciplined garden and a growing number of incomplete knitting projects.

Notice how in this author bio, she includes the names of most successful series of books, along with subgenres she's published in throughout her writing career. Even with over fifty books written, her author bio remains short, showing off her greatest accomplishments and giving the reader a general overview of her prolific publishing credits. It also includes all of the pseudonyms she's published under, lending further credibility to her abilities as a master romance writer.

She also adds a bit of self-deprecating humor at the end, which balances out the enormous bragging rights of over fifty published books. It makes her seem approachable yet expert in her craft and is a great example of a compelling author bio.

Rule #4 – Keep it in third person point of view

This might seem a little awkward at first, but it's important that you write your author bio in third person point of view. This format is what's widely used by published authors and yours will look out of place if written otherwise.

Rule #5—Include something unique, personal, and compelling

While this article includes a template for you to use as a starting point, you should make sure something unique, personal, and compelling is part of your author bio. This obviously can't be done with a template. Here's a great example of how an author offers something deeply personal about herself in her bio, while also giving readers a general idea of the type of book to expect.

New York Times bestselling author Angie Fox writes sweet, fun, action-packed mysteries. Her characters are clever and fearless, but in real life, Angie is afraid of basements, bees, and going up stairs when it is dark behind her. Let's face it. Angie wouldn't last five minutes in one of her books.

Angie is best known for her Southern Ghost Hunter mysteries and for her Accidental Demon Slayer books. Visit her at

Not only does this author bio reveal important thematic elements of the book, and the author's body of work in general, it also reveals something deeply personal about the author, making her seem more compelling to the reader.

Revealing something deeply personal and unique about yourself is a great addition to a compelling author bio.
Revealing something deeply personal and unique about yourself is a great addition to a compelling author bio. Photo by Kristina Flour on Unsplash.

Author bio template

As mentioned earlier, there really is no one size fits all solution for writing your author bio. However, here's a general template you can follow to get close to where you need to be. You can tweak it from there to make it fit your personality and the type of book you've written.

Start with your author byline.

Your author byline is one sentence that summarizes who you are and something important about you that distinguishes you from others. If you're unsure of how to write this, look through newspapers and magazine articles. These usually include a one-sentence author byline that will help you compose your own. For nonfiction, it might read something like this: "Susan O'Reily is a licensed therapist, lifestyle coach, and author of three books." For fiction, it might read like this: "Bill Kelts is an author, poet, and world traveler who published his first novel at the age of 18."

Briefly state the theme of your work

This is the part of the author bio where you'll let your potential reader know the genre you tend to write in, whether romance, science fiction, fantasy, nonfiction, or otherwise. If you've earned professional credentials in place of previously publishing, you might put them here (if you believe they are pertinent to the current book you're selling). For example, if you're publishing a self-help book on relationships, letting your reader know the work you've done, whether through research or professional qualifications, goes a long way to lending credibility to your book.

Add any major publishing credits or awards you've earned.

Following the stated theme of your writing, add any publishing credits you can list, focusing on the top-selling or most well-known works if you've published a lot. If any of those books have earned an award or praise from an expert, this would be the place in your author bio to include that information. If you can get a compliment from a well-known author in the same genre, include that in your bio, as well.

Include a few personal details about yourself

Readers like to know an author's personal information, as well. If they really love your book, you can bet they'll be digging through Google and Wikipedia to find out as many details as you have available online. This could include (but doesn't have to) your relationship status, where you live, and potentially who you live with—although that information is completely optional if you'd rather not give it.

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