You have sailed through your first manuscript, nailing each benchmark of the self-publishing formatting process while writing a truly captivating story. Suddenly, though, you hit stop when you arrive at that last step: writing your author bio.
Facing this final step in the writing process can leave a first-time author shuddering as they wonder, “How do I write an author bio with no experience in writing?”
Penning an unpublished author bio is not as difficult as it might initially appear. After all, an author has to start somewhere! Think about it—all great authors had to write their first book at some point, meaning they were faced with the same problem of how to write an author bio with no experience.
These great writers undoubtedly struggled to solve the dilemma, too, but managed to push through and establish amazing literary careers—as will you.
First Time Publishing? Here’s What to Include in Your Author Bio
Think of your author bio as an opportunity to connect with your readers, versus a staid resume outlining your professional accomplishments.
The author bio should cultivate a sense of relationship with prospective readers; to entice them just enough to buy your book. Even as a first-time author, you can craft an interesting synopsis, including who you are, what you write, and why someone should read your book.
When grappling with the challenge of writing your first author bio, it helps to know that there is a general format to follow. These guidelines can assist you in assembling the important aspects of your first author bio, providing the kinds of information about you that the reader will enjoy knowing.
Author bio guidelines include:
1. Keep it brief.
Instead of attempting to list every facet of your career or all your hobbies, it is always best to keep the bio under 300 words.
2. Use a third-person voice.
Author bios come across as more professional when using the third person point of view, versus the first person.
3. Start with a one-liner.
Write an interesting opening line that incorporates your name, your profession (generally relevant for non-fiction titles), and the title of your book.
4. Sell yourself.
An author’s bio is akin to an elevator pitch, an interesting summary of your life, and how it relates to the book you wrote. Everything mentioned should be relevant to the book’s theme. For example, if you are a pediatric psychotherapist by trade and have decided to write a non-fiction book about parenting, that connection will increase your credibility.
5. List achievements sparingly.
Noting your college alma mater and degree is fine, but resist the temptation to list every career achievement ever accomplished, as doing so may come across as somewhat boastful and unnecessary.
6. Include some personal tidbits.
Adding a few personal hobbies or interests helps the reader feel a sense of familiarity with the author. Be selective and include those interests that further complement the theme of the book or that target your reader persona.
7. Use a professional photo.
Include a high-quality photo that does not have a distracting background. An unprofessional headshot will appear amateurish.
The primary difference between a first-time author’s bio and a seasoned professional’s is that the latter will be able to include other titles he or she has written in their bio. In addition, a career writer can include in the bio their “best-seller” status and any awards they have won, if these accomplishments were achieved.
4 First Time Author Bio Examples that Rock
Figuring out exactly how to write an author bio with no former experience may feel like a daunting task. Sure, you can locate bio templates online, but templates only provide the framework. It is up to you to pen something catchy and engaging that shines the most flattering light on your background, sans prior authorship. Here are some first-time author bio examples to hopefully inspire you:
1. Hannah Lee, author of Bloom Where You’re Planted
Hannah Lee was born and raised outside the city of Charleston, in the beautiful mountain state of West Virginia. Hannah considers her faith and family to be most important to her. If she isn’t spending time with her friends and family, you can almost always find her around her sweet yellow Labrador retriever, Tupelo. Bloom Where You’re Planted is Hannah’s first children’s book.
Note: Hannah Lee paints a picture of a person who values her loved ones in her short, succinct bio. This gives the reader a comforting sense that the writer is compassionate, which is an attractive trait in a children’s book author.
2. Dan DalMonte, author of The Realm of Possibility
Dan DalMonte was born in 1984 in San Francisco, California. Growing up, he was fascinated with baseball, and this interest led to some early exposure to reading since he was drawn to stories related to baseball. Later, Mr. DalMonte, who now teaches philosophy at the college level, developed a passion for ideas. In The Realm of Possibility, Dan explores the issue of how past events are unchangeable by introducing an ability to manipulate past events. The Realm of Possibility is Mr. DalMonte’s first book.
Note: Dan DalMonte describes the trajectory of his background that culminates in his passion for ideas. He piques the curiosity of the reader as to how exactly one can manipulate past events.
3. Victoria Lee, author of The Fever King
Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an ex-pat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey. Victoria writes early in the morning, then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her Border collie puppy and make her experiments work.
Note: Victoria Lee conjures up an eclectic, even eccentric image through the diverse collection of endeavors she has experienced in her young life and delivers these with humor. Quirky is what you might expect from an author of a dystopian novel, which inspires the reader to go check out her book.
4. Bruce Clarke, author of Death by Grand Jury
Bruce Clarke practiced criminal law as a defense attorney in Washington, D.C., as a partner in the firm Clarke & Graae and as a staff attorney with the Public Defender Service (PDS) for the District of Columbia. He later worked at the Federal Judicial Center, where he served as Director of its Education Division. While on sabbatical from the law, Clarke studied script analysis in New York with Stella Adler and began writing plays. His plays Bluesman and Fifteen Rounds with Jackson Pollock have been produced in D.C. and regionally. He is the recipient of a playwrighting grant from the D. C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, a playwrighting residency at the Edward Albee Foundation, and the Larry Neal Award for Dramatic writing.
Note: Bruce Clarke lays the foundation for his book by describing his vast experience in the field of law. Readers of his bio will quickly grasp by his background that he has the inside scoop, allowing him to create some intriguing short stories centering on Washington D.C.
Ready to Make Your Name Known?
Even the above author bio examples for first-time authors may not be enough to help you create your eloquent bio. Worry not, when you sign up for one of our editing packages, the editorial team at Gatekeeper Press will review your bio, and help you to create a captivating author bio. Contact us today!