by Anne R. Allen
No matter how great a book’s cover and blurb, one thing can stop me from buying yet another ebook for my Kindle: an author bio on the buy page that screams “amateur.”
I spent some time as an editor, so when I pick up a book for relaxation, I want to know it’s going to be a professional work and not something that makes me want to run for my red pencil.
If you start your bio “I’ve always wanted to write a book, ever since I won a penmanship prize in third grade, and now that I’ve self-published, “If My Cats Could Talk” my wish has come true…,” all you’ve told me is you’re a beginner.
Is that really what you want your customers to know?
Your buy page at Amazon or any online retail store is like your own personal storefront. It can be a sleek boutique or a homemade lemonade stand.
A funky lemonade stand might get a few passersby to spring for a glass because they think you’re cute or feel sorry for you. With Mom paying for lemons, sugar, glasses, and the card table—and hey, you might “earn” enough to buy yourself an ice cream when the truck comes by.
But you’re trying to be a professional writer here, right?
So before you publish that book, learn to write a professional author bio.
An author bio should not be a chronological report of your whole life. And you don’t want a list of dry facts, like a resume. But it’s also not a personal essay about your hopes and dreams. Readers don’t care about that stuff when they’re deciding whether to buy a book.
What readers do care about is an author’s competence. We want to know if you’re qualified to:
Teach me something.
Make me laugh.
If your author bio doesn’t convey your qualifications to do those things, the reader is going to move on.