How to write an author bio

One of the first things authors are asked for after their manuscript has been accepted is an author bio. And many authors ask: How do I write my author bio?

authorbio

Back cover author bio.

Actually, you’re probably going to need more than one bio. But to get started, focus on a short, 150- to 200-word sketch, sharing who you are, your background, and any other info you think readers should know about you. Don’t be afraid to inject some personality into it, either!

Here’s a short checklist:

  • Write in the third person (unless you’re asked to do otherwise). [Mary Smith lives in Anytown, Indiana, with her husband and five children. …]
  • Be factual. Include experience that relates directly to your book. For your short bio, mention only the most recent/most pertinent experience; you can be a little more thorough in a longer bio. [Mary has worked in a parish for 10 years, mostly in religious education with a focus on teens. …]
  • Mention your education. Include your degrees in a short bio and more info in a longer one. [Mary graduated from XYZ Catholic College with a degree in theology. …]
  • Mention pertinent memberships or interests [Mary is a member of  the National Catholic Educational Association. ….]
  • Keep it short and sweet. This is the time to remember your lessons from Strunk and White.
  • Be sure to mention any unique aspect(s) of your work experience, education or personal life that arememorable. [Mary has traveled to Marian shrine sites on three continents. …]
  • Include your author website. You can also include social media handles if you’re okay with that information being public.
  • Send a good headshot photo along with your bio. This should be 4 x 6, and at least 300 dpi.

Here’s an example from the OSV Catholic Bookstore of a “short” bio for author Tim O’Malley:

Timothy P. O’Malley, Ph.D., is director of the Notre Dame Center for Liturgy in the McGrath Institute for Church Life. He teaches in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He researches in the areas of liturgy, catechesis and Christian spirituality. He is the author of Liturgy and the New Evangelization: Practicing the Art of Self-Giving Love (Liturgical Press, 2014). He and his wife, Kara, live in South Bend and have one son.

Here’s a good article for more information, with examples.

Dig a little deeper with this article for a bio that will get attention on Amazon (great for your Amazon author page!).

Find some advice from Ingram here.

If you’ve never written a bio before, this author has some hand-holding advice. And this author has some things to avoid.

If you need help or advice, or if you have advice for your fellow authors, let us know! Email Mary Beth at mbaker@osv.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s