How to write an author biography when you have no experience or best-selling awards to show? What to put in your author bio when it’s your first time publishing a book?
In this article, I have compiled the best tips on writing author bios for first-time authors along with examples of good and bad author bios.
I am also sharing “About the Author” templates and some tools to help you write your own author biography if you feel stuck.
To write an author bio as a new writer with no experience, capitalize on your life experiences and show how your writing draws from them. Highlight your writing style and genre so readers know what to expect and show your passion and commitment to the craft by sharing your writing journey.
What Should An Author Bio Include?
A good author bio must have the following components:
A higher purpose: Why did you get into writing? What unique perspectives do you bring? Give your readers a reason to care about your work.
Here’s an example of a short author bio that focuses on the “why” of the writer:
As a nurse and aspiring author, Mary Smith writes about the human experience of healthcare in order to give voice to the marginalized and overlooked. Follow her on twitter @marynursewriterThis is an imaginative example to inspire you.
Introduce yourself: Who are you? What’s your background? What’s your writing journey so far?
Include details like your hometown, or family background, if relevant. Showing your personal experiences and origin makes your writing feel more authentic.
Dan Brown has written famous books like the Da Vinci Code (made into a movie) and the Digital Fortress. Here’s an excerpt from his author bio:
The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books.Fromthe author bio of Dan Brown
Kevin Kwan is an American-Singaporean author who wrote Crazy Rich Asians. As it was his first book, he did not have any achievements to boast of. Instead, he highlighted his Singaporean rich family background. Here’s an excerpt from his bio:
Kevin Kwan was born in Singapore and left when he was 11, living in the U.S. since then.From the author bio of Kevin Kwan
Leverage your educational background and profession: How does your day job inform your writing? Use it to your advantage.
Including your qualifications, achievements, and awards acts as a signal of authority. It tells people you know what you are talking about.
But, most new writers feel that only achievements in field of writing and publishing are relevant. That’s not the case. You can also establish your topical authority by highlighting your work or life experiences in other domains.
As a former corporate executive and a Harvard Business Review contributor, Michael Brown’s work is informed by his experience in leadership and management. His book has been praised for its practical advice and real-world examples. Follow him on LinkedIn @michaelbrown_leaderAn illustrative example of a career executive’s author bio.
What if Michael (our imaginary author) were to write a fiction book?
Michael Brown is a seasoned corporate executive and a respected author, known for his ability to blend real-world experience with gripping storytelling. With a career spanning over two decades, Michael has held leadership roles in some of the world’s most successful companies, giving him a unique perspective on the pressures and complexities of the corporate world. His debut novel, “The Executive Dilemma,” is a gripping tale of a high-powered executive who must navigate the cutthroat world of business while grappling with ethical dilemmas.
How to Write an Author Bio Without Experience? 5 Step Framework
It is obvious but I still want to remind you: every writer begins as a rookie, with no name in media and no awards under his/her belt.
J K Rowling wrote Harry Potter while she was a single mother living on welfare. Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ was rejected by 30 publishers before his book got published. What credentials did they have?
Then there are authors like Rachel Abbot (3M+ books sold) and Christopher Paolini (self-published at 19, Guinness world record for “youngest author” of a best selling book) who rejected traditional publishing and made it big with self publishing. What “professional experience” a 19 year old could use?
Keep in mind that author bios are not about what you haven’t done yet, but rather about who you are as a person and as a writer.
With that mindset, let’s begin.
Step #1: Gather information about yourself.
Start by gathering information about yourself, including your background, education, writing experience, and any relevant accomplishments or awards.
Also, try to recall personal anecdotes that are relevant to your book or writing in general. Go as far as back as you can remember. This is important to tell your story.
Meditate about things that are important to you as a writer and a thinking human. What experiences do you want to share through your work? Do you have a vision or a larger aspiration people can relate to?
Step #2: Introduce yourself with a mission statement or brand tagline.
Start by sharing your name and a sentence or two about your mission (your why) or achievements (your credibility). The introspection done in previous step should help with this.
Describe your passion for writing and your writing journey so far, including how long you’ve been writing and what inspired you to become a writer.
Step #4: Build credibility.
Share your educational and professional qualifications. Show how your background, passion and goals inform your writing.
With a degree in children’s literature and a former children’s librarian, Sarah Johnson’s books have received numerous accolades and awards. She is a respected voice in the world of children’s literature, known for her ability to create engaging and imaginative stories. Follow her on Facebook @sarahjohnsonbooks
Step #4: Tell readers what to expect.
Explain your writing style and genre: Are you a thriller writer? A romance novelist? Make it clear to readers what they can expect from your books.
“As a suspenseful thriller writer, Jane Smith explores the darker side of human nature in her novels. Her work is known for its fast-paced action, intricate plot twists, and complex characters. Her latest book, “The Secret Agent,” is a thriller that delves into the world of espionage and government conspiracies. With her background in criminal justice and a deep interest in psychological thrillers, Jane brings a unique perspective to her writing, making her books impossible to put down.”
If you have not been published yet, you can still talk about your passion for writing, classes you have taken, or passion projects you are working on.
Step #5: Share your contact information.
It is important to share your contact information like e-mail or social media links to help your readers reach you easily. Readers can ask you questions or provide feedback. This will help you grow your fanbase.
Providing contact information also helps in networking. Event organizers might contact you for speaking engagements. You may also get opportunities for collaborations.
Maintaining an active presence on social media is also crucial. It builds your brand awareness and makes it easy for people to find you online.
Author Bio Templates
These templates apply the tips covered above. Please fill in the placeholders and use them as an inspiration if you are feeling blocked. Aim for your own original bio by using these as a starting point.
Author Bio Template for New Writers
“John Smith is a [insert your profession/career here, e.g. “teacher,” “engineer,” etc.] and aspiring author. He has always had a passion for writing and [insert a sentence or two about your writing journey/experience, e.g. “has been honing his craft for several years through writing workshops and writing groups,” “has been writing short stories in his spare time,” etc.]. He is currently working on his first novel. In his [insert your profession/career here], John [insert a sentence or two about how your profession/career informs your writing, e.g. “draws inspiration from the diverse students he teaches,” “brings a unique perspective to his work as an engineer,” etc.].”
Author Bio Template for Experienced Writers
“[Name], [occupation/career], is an [award-winning/bestselling] [author/novelist/poet] with [number] published [books/novels/collections]. [He/She] has a [background/education] in [relevant field], which informs [his/her] writing. With a passion for [specific genre or theme], [Name] creates [engaging/compelling/powerful] [stories/novels/poetry] that [entertain/inform/inspire] readers. [He/She] is also [active/involved] in [writing-related organizations or communities]. [Name] is currently working on [his/her] next [book/novel/collection], [title], which is [brief synopsis]. You can follow [Name] on [social media handle/website link].”
Bad Author Bio Examples: Pitfalls to Avoid
I am using a mix of fictional and real examples to showcase some common mistakes to avoid while writing author bios.
Bad Author Bio #1: Overusing academic qualifications
Dr. Jane Smith holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Oxford University, a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Harvard, and a Bachelor’s degree in English from Yale. She has published numerous scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals and is a respected member of several academic organizations, including the Modern Language Association and the American Society of Comparative Literature. Dr. Smith’s debut novel, “The Literary Mind,” is a complex exploration of postmodern literary theory and its impact on contemporary fiction. With her extensive background in literary academia, Dr. Smith is uniquely qualified to offer a fresh perspective on the state of contemporary literature
This bio overuses academic qualifications and it doesn’t give any information on the author’s writing style or what the book is about. It also uses jargon and technical terms which may not be accessible to general readers.
It would be more effective to mention the author’s academic achievements in a more subtle way, and focus more on the book and what readers can expect from it.
How to fix it this author bio?
Jane Smith, a former English literature professor, has always been passionate about the written word. With a Ph.D. in English literature from Oxford University and a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Harvard, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her debut novel, “The Literary Mind.” The book is a thought-provoking exploration of the impact of postmodern literary theory on contemporary fiction, written in an accessible and engaging style. Jane’s unique blend of academic expertise and storytelling talent makes “The Literary Mind” a must-read for anyone interested in contemporary literature. With her passion for literature and her ability to make complex ideas accessible to a wide audience, Jane is a rising star in the world of fiction.
Bad Author Bio #2: Overselling
Jane Smith is the next Stephen King. Her debut novel, “The Haunted House,” is a spine-tingling thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. With her masterful storytelling and unparalleled imagination, Jane is poised to take the literary world by storm. Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to read the next great horror novel. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!
This author bio makes tall claims but has almost nothing to back them up. It is something you would expect a publishing house to write as a cookie-cutter bio for their writers.
Overselling invokes skepticism. Avoid it all costs. A good author bio should be honest and provide relevant information and not make claims that cannot be supported.
How to fix it?
Jane Smith is an up-and-coming author with a passion for horror and suspense. Her debut novel, “The Haunted House,” is a chilling thriller that explores the darker side of human nature. With her background in psychology, Jane brings a unique perspective to her writing that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. She is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association and actively participates in writing workshops and conferences. Follow her on twitter @janesmithhorror for updates on her upcoming projects.
Showing humility and humor can also help to make the author bio more relatable to readers.
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 www.angiefox.comThis is a real author bio of Angie Fox.
Bad Author Bio #3: No Clear Selling Point
Meet John Smith, the author of the bestselling novel “The Time Traveler.” He’s been writing for over 20 years, ever since he won the school poetry contest in the 4th grade. He’s also a certified scuba diver, a certified personal trainer, and a black belt in karate. He’s an avid traveler and has visited over 30 countries. His writing style is a mix of science fiction, fantasy, and action. His book is a must-read for anyone who loves time travel, adventure, and romance. He’s also a motivational speaker and a public figure, and you can follow him on Instagram at @johntraveler for daily inspiration.
This bio is obviously exaggerated to be worse than real examples you will find but it expresses the lack of focus and a clear USP perfectly. It mentions irrelevant hobbies of the author and does not have a single unifying thread. The book is about “Time Travel”. Yet, the bio talks about a poetry contest 20 years ago, scuba diving and more.
How to fix?
John Smith is the author of the bestselling time-travel novel “The Time Traveler.” He has been honing his craft for over 20 years, and his work is known for its blend of science fiction, fantasy, and action. With his background in physics and his passion for adventure and romance, John brings a unique perspective to his writing. Follow him on Twitter at @johntraveler_book for updates on his writing journey and upcoming projects
Good Author Bio Examples: Ideas That Work
I have included examples of author bios that I consider good.
Besides including the examples of New York Times Bestselling authors, I am also including some authors who have made a name for themselves in niche and unconventional ways.
Good Author Bio #1: Have a mission statement
Beverly Jenkins is the recipient of the 2017 Romance Writers of America Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance.
She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured both in the documentary “Love Between the Covers” and on CBS Sunday Morning.
Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for multicultural romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR.
You can find Beverly on the following social media networks:
I have bolded the interesting bits. Mentioning her awards and features builds credibility and saying that she has been “leading the charge for multicultural romance” shows her why and what readers can expect from her books.
Good Author Bio #2: Use humor
Eric Carle invented writing, the airplane, and the internet. He was also the first person to reach the North Pole. He has flown to Mars and back in one day, and was enthusiastically greeted by the Martians. “Very strange beings,” he reported on his return. He has written one thousand highly regarded books; a team of experts is presently attempting to grasp their meaning. “It might take a century,” said the chief expert. Carle is also a great teller of stories — but not all of them are true, for instance those in this book.From The Nonsense Show, Eric Carle (Source: ew.com)
This bio puts a twist on exaggeration and uses it to get a chuckle out of the reader. I think it is very effective and would want me to buy the book. What do you think?
Good Author Bio #3: Share your personal writing journey
Andy Weir built a two-decade career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full-time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of such subjects as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.Source: andyweirauthor.com
The bio clearly tells us that Andy used to be a software engineer before writing full time. His book is titled “The martian” and his being space nerd makes sense. He uses physics terms which indicates that the reader can expect his sci-fi to be grounded in solid science.
Tools to Help You Write Your Author Bio
Copy AI is an AI copywriting software which authors can use to write the marketing copy for their website, social media, about the author page, and more.
For example, it has the following templates to generate:
- Sales copy
- Digital Ad copy
- Social Media content
- Blog Tools
If you feel that the right words are not coming to you while writing your author bio, giving copy.ai a try might be worth it. You give it some text and tell to write sales copy on its basis and it will output multiple versions for you to take inspiration from.
It detects your writing tone and can rephrase content to sound more trustworthy, warm, friendly, etc. (You can ask it to change the tone of your content)
It has other helpful features like “More like this” in which it generates more text similar to what it has been given as input. This is useful while iterating through multiple versions of your author bio. You can get it closer and closer to the exact writing voice you want through iterations.
Marketing teams at big companies like Microsoft and Nestle use it for the sales writing. Authors can also use it to help them with the “sales” aspect of publishing. It can make your author bios, book blurbs, social media ads more catchy without need of a full time marketer or copywriter.
Grammarly is a grammar and plagiarism checker. Its pro version also gives helpful tips on style and tone (it can tell you if your writing sounds formal, informal, confident, neutral, etc). You can use it to ensure that your author bio is error free.
Sudowrite is an AI storywriting assitant – it takes a seed input and helps you brainstorm characters, expand plots, insert twists, and more.
While it can be used to help you write stories, you can also use it for personal story telling in your author about page. Click here to read my detailed Sudowrite review with example stories.
A well-written author bio is necessary to establish credibility and build your brand as an author. It helps you sell books and opens up networking opportunities.
Even new writers can write engaging and authentic author bios by sharing their personal mission, drawing on their life experiences and writing journey. By telling the reader what kind of books they write and the themes they focus on, they can reduce the hesitancy in minds of the reader and pique his/her interest. Using humor and being humble go a long way in writing winning bios.
I hope you found this article on how to write author bios useful. Happy writing 🙂
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