A great author bio is essential for any published writer. It’s how a reader gets to know the person behind the pages of a book, and done well, it can help you grow your fan base and sell more books. If you’re a new author and unsure where to begin with your author bio, this article is here to help.
What is An Author Bio?
An author bio is a few short paragraphs that introduce you to your readers. It doesn’t need to only focus on your professional writing career; the best bios throw in a personal touch too. You can mention your home life, your hobbies, or include a couple of interesting facts about yourself. It’s all about engaging your readers with relevant and interesting information that helps you stand out from the crowd.
In this article, I’ll show you ten great examples of top-notch author bios from bestselling writers, and I’ll also provide you with some actionable tips to help you write your own.
10 Examples of Great Author Bios
1. Farrah Rochon
USA Today bestselling author Farrah Rochon hails from a small town just west of New Orleans. She has garnered much acclaim for her Crescent City-set Holmes Brothers series and her Moments in Maplesville small town series. Farrah is a two-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America and has been nominated for an RT BOOKReviews Reviewers Choice Award. In 2015, she received the Emma Award for Author of the Year.
When she is not writing in her favorite coffee shop, Farrah spends most of her time reading, cooking, traveling the world, visiting Walt Disney World, and catching her favorite Broadway shows. An admitted sports fanatic, she feeds her addiction to football by watching New Orleans Saints games on Sunday afternoons.
Keep in touch with Farrah via the web:
2. Michael Siemsen
Michael Siemsen grew up in Venice, California, the second son of a Vietnam veteran turned policeman. Initially focusing on performing arts, Michael attended the prestigious Alexander Hamilton Academy in Los Angeles.
After serving in the U.S. Army as a tracked vehicle operator, he returned to civilian life and began writing short stories and screenplays, and directing short films and music videos.
Moving to Northern California in the late 90s, Michael met his future wife, Ana. The two now live near the San Joaquin River Delta with their equally adventurous children, as well as “the dogs,” “that cat,” and a fish or two.
A USA Today and Amazon Bestselling Author, Michael has released six novels selling over 200,000 copies, as well as audiobooks, short stories contributed to anthologies, and has won several awards, including the “Sundance of Books,” the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Michael’s latest release is RETURN, book three in his popular Matt Turner series.
3. Glynnis Campbell
Glynnis Campbell is a USA Today bestselling author of over two dozen swashbuckling action-adventure historical romances, mostly set in Scotland, and a charter member of The Jewels of Historical Romance — 12 internationally beloved authors.
She’s the wife of a rock star and the mother of two young adults, but she’s also been a ballerina, a typographer, a film composer, a piano player, a singer in an all-girl rock band, and a voice in those violent video games you won’t let your kids play.
Doing her best writing on cruise ships, in Scottish castles, on her husband’s tour bus, and at home in her sunny southern California garden, Glynnis loves to play medieval matchmaker… transporting readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is alive and well!
Want a FREE BOOK? Sign up for her newsletter at https://www.glynnis.net
4. Courtney Milan
Courtney Milan’s books have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. She is a New York Times and a USA Today bestseller and a RITA® winner.
Courtney lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband, an exceptionally perfect dog, and an attack cat.
Before she started writing historical romance, Courtney got a graduate degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley. After that, just to shake things up, she went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude. Then she did a handful of clerkships with some really important people who are way too dignified to be named here. She was a law professor for a while. She now writes full-time.
If you want to know when Courtney’s next book will come out, please visit her website at http://www.courtneymilan.com, where you can sign up to receive an email when she has her next release.
5. Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander is a poet, an educator, and the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-nine books, including Rebound, the follow-up to his Newbery Medal–winning novel, The Crossover. Kwame writes for children of all ages. His other picture books include Undefeated, Animal Ark, and Out of Wonder.
A regular contributor to NPR’s Morning Edition, Kwame is the recipient of several awards, including the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, three NAACP Image Award nominations, and the 2018 inaugural Conroy Legacy Award.
He believes that poetry can change the world, and he uses it to inspire and empower young people through his writing workshop, the Write Thing. Kwame is also the host and producer of the literary variety/talk show Bookish. You can visit him at www.kwamealexander.com.
6. Tiffany D. Jackson
Tiffany D. Jackson is the NYT Bestselling author of YA novels including the Coretta Scott King — John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning Monday’s Not Coming, the NAACP Image Award-nominated Allegedly, Let Me Hear A Rhyme, GROWN, and her forthcoming 2021 titles BLACKOUT, WHITE SMOKE, and SANTA IN THE CITY. She received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University, her master of arts in media studies from the New School, and has over a decade in TV/Film experience. The Brooklyn native is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.
Tiffany grew up in Brooklyn Heights but also count places like Fort Greene, Far Rockaway, East New York, and Kingston, Jamaica as her home. She attended Hendrick Hudson High School in Montrose, NY, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University, and her master of arts in media studies from the New School University.
She has over a decade of experience in the television industry, working for various networks and media companies including National Geographic (focused on documentaries such as Lockdown, a prison subculture series) Roc Nation, BET, FUSE, BBC AMERICA, and EPIX. From managing live events, concerts, festival showcases such as BET AWARDS and SXSW Music Show Case, to TV series, specials, and pilots such as FUSE: TOP 20 Countdown, Trending 10, The Hustle: After Party Live and in-studio concert series to producing hip-hop documentaries and artist promotional spots. In 2009, she wrote and directed the short horror film, The Field Trip, receiving praise in the film festival circuit. WANT TO KNOW MORE? GO HERE →
7. J.T. Ellison
J.T. Ellison began her career as a presidential appointee in the White House, where a nuclear physicist taught her how to obsess over travel itineraries and make a seriously good pot of Earl Grey, spawning both her love of loose leaf and a desire for control of her own destiny. Jaded by the political climate in D.C., she made her way back to her first love, creative writing. More than 20 novels later, she is an award-winning New York Times and USA Today bestselling author with thrillers published in 27 countries and 15 languages. She is also the Emmy Award-winning cohost of A Word on Words, a literary interview television show.
She lives in Nashville with her husband and two small gray minions, known as cats in some cultures. She thinks they’re furry aliens. Visit www.jtellison.com or @thrillerchick for more.
***Psst, J.T. here. Want a FREE ebook? Visit www.jtellison.com/subscribe and sign up for my newsletter. Along with your free ebook, you’ll get my latest news and updates, insider exclusives, plus awesome recipes and book recommendations. It’s a lot of fun! Happy reading, y’all.
8. Vanessa Riley
Vanessa Riley writes Historical Fiction and Historical Romance (Georgian, Regency, & Victorian) featuring hidden histories, dazzling multi-culture communities, and strong sisterhoods. She promises to pull heart strings, offer a few laughs, and share tidbits of tantalizing history.
This Southern, Irish, Trini girl holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a MS in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned a BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. Yet, her love of history and lattes have overwhelmed her passion for math, leading to the publication of over 20+ titles. She loves writing on her southern porch with proper caffeine.
Vanessa has a very diverse background. She has been a radio anchorwoman and church announcer. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and President-Elect of The Beau Monde, a specialty RWA Chapter. She is also a member of Georgia Romance Writers, NINC, and Historical Novel Society. She is on the Board of Directors of Christian Book Lovers Retreat where readers escape for a weekend of fun, faith and connection to the author community.
Her latest release, A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby is an Amazon Best of the Month Selection and a Publishers Weekly Summer Reads 2020 Editors’ Pick. A Duke, The Lady, and A Baby has been reviewed by Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Library Journal, and the New York Times and received a starred review in Publishers Weekly.
She’s currently working on Island Queen for William Morrow, a novel centering on Dorothy Kirwan Thomas, a formerly enslaved person who becomes one of the wealthiest women in the Caribbean.
Vanessa loves cooking her Trinidadian grandma’s cake recipes and collecting Irish crochet lace and writing on her southern porch with proper caffeination.
Sarah Younger of the Nancy Yost Literary Agency represents Vanessa.
9. Rick Mofina
USA Today bestselling author Rick Mofina is a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row, flown over L.A. with the LAPD and patrolled with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police near the Arctic. He’s also reported from the Caribbean, Africa and Kuwait’s border with Iraq. His books have been published in nearly 30 countries, including an illegal translation produced in Iran.
His work has been praised by James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffery Deaver, Sandra Brown, James Rollins, Brad Thor, Nick Stone, David Morrell, Allison Brennan, Heather Graham, Linwood Barclay, Peter Robinson, Håkan Nesser and Kay Hooper.
The Crime Writers of Canada, The International Thriller Writers, and The Private Eye Writers of America have listed his titles among the best in crime fiction. As a two-time winner of Canada’s Arthur Ellis Award, a four-time Thriller Award finalist and a two-time Shamus Award finalist, the Library Journal calls him, “One of the best thriller writers in the business.”
10. April White
April White has been a film producer, private investigator, bouncer, teacher and screenwriter. She has climbed in the Himalayas, lived on a gold mine in the Yukon, and survived a shipwreck. She and her husband live in Southern California with their two sons, dog, various chickens, and a lifetime collection of books.
Facebook is a solid source of distraction for her, and therefore, her Facebook page, April White Books, is usually the first place to find news, teasers, quotes, and excerpts from her books. She also has a secret reader group on Facebook, called “Kick-Ass Heroines.” If you’d like to get in on some of those conversations, you can request an add here: Kick-Ass Heroines.
Sometimes that news links to Twitter, but she hasn’t mastered the art of the pithy tweet, and therefore often avoids the medium for fear of sounding boring.
Goodreads is another place to find her lurking around the stacks and spying on her friends’ reading habits. Become her Goodreads friend so she can see what you’re reading, too.
Marking Time was the 2016 Library Journal Indie e-book winner for Young Adult books, and was chosen by Library Journal for national inclusion on both the fantasy and young adult SELF-e Library Select lists on Biblioboard, The whole series is also available for libraries nationwide through Overdrive, and April is very happy to participate in any library (or bookish) events to which she’s invited.
7 Tips for Writing Your Own Author Bio
Your author bio might only be a few short paragraphs in length, but every word counts. This is your opportunity to make a great first impression with your readership, so it’s important to take some time penning your bio in order to put your best foot forward.
Here are 7 important tips to consider when writing your author bio.
1. Write in the Third Person
Even though you are writing these words about yourself, never use the words like “I” or “my.” Instead, write from the third person point of view, referencing yourself by your first or second name.
2. Keep it Short
Your bio is about quality, not quantity. Keep it to under 300 words, and make sure that every sentence adds value. It might be tempting to list out all of your achievements but stick to the big stuff that will make the most impact. You can always include a section on your website where readers can view your full list of accolades, but they don’t need to be featured on the back of your new book under your author bio.
3. Know Your Audience
Get to know your readers so you can understand how best to speak to them in your author bio. A great way to do this is to hang out with your readers on Twitter or other social media platforms. Interacting with your readership builds a mutual bond and gives you much more insight into who they are and what makes them tick.
A good rule of thumb to engage your readers is to stick to the same writing style you use in your published work to talk to your audience in your author bio.
I’d also advise that you assemble a small group of readers who are willing to read your draft and provide feedback and ideas on how to improve it. And consider asking those closest to you to check whether they think it’s a good representation of who you are and what you’re all about.
4. Include Career Highlights
Note the word “highlights”; this is not the place to list every college course you ever completed and every short story you’ve ever published (see Tip #2) but be sure to include the most prominent relevant parts of your background in writing.
Higher education diplomas beyond college level are worth including, and of course, list a short selection of your previously published works if you have any.
If your work has been nominated for an award, but it didn’t quite make the cut, it could still be worth including. The “…. Award-nominated author…” has a great ring to it; it almost doesn’t matter that you didn’t win!
5. Let Your Personality Shine Through
This is your author bio, so your personality should shine through in every sentence. This really helps to create a rapport with your readership and give them a better picture of the person behind the words on the page. Done well, this can help you create a loyal fan base and a dedicated readership.
You can show your personality in your author bio by getting creative with how you present your information. You might want to tell your life story in an inventive way, linking events to each other to create a picture of who you are and how you got here. You can make it fun (see author J.T. Ellison’s example in the list above) and add a well-placed joke in there too.
6. Include Some Personal Information
A great way to connect with your audience is to show them that you’re not all business; you have a personal life with family, friends, pets, passions, and hobbies too. Readers want to know the human being behind the pages of the book, and this is a great opportunity to give them a little taster of who you really are.
Most authors choose to include where they live and where they grew up, plus a little bit about their family life too.
You might also want to include a major life event that has shaped who you are today.
Just remember to keep it relevant. If you write self-help books about quitting smoking, then a little bit about your struggle with addiction might be the perfect addition to your bio. But if your genre is historical fiction, then it’s best to leave this out.
7. Create a Basic Verison that can be Tweaked
Your author bio will primarily contain the same information wherever you use it, be it on the insert of your latest book, on your website, or promotional material for an upcoming book tour. But you can also tweak it a little to suit the situation and the audience.
These tips are designed to help you write a basic author bio, but you can spice it up or remove elements to create a more serious tone depending on the application.
I hope these examples and tips help you to write your own engaging author bio to share wherever you promote your work. Remember to keep it short and to the point, and add a little flair and personality so that your readers can get to know the person behind the pen.