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Guest Blogger: Author Bios by Sonja McGiboney

Author Bio's

One would expect an author to be able to write a terrific bio, but, ironically, it’s one of the hardest things some authors do. We create fantastical worlds, write stories that involve history, life, and memories, yet we can’t write a simple paragraph about ourselves. Authors struggle with writing anything that promotes them. But a good marketing strategy involves selling yourself as much as your books.  Believe in yourself and you will sell books. Authors need to write strong bios and craft media information that is at the ready for events, promotions, and news stories.

A good way to learn to do this, is to look at examples.  One of my Indie Author friends, Katie Gigliotti, kindly offered to use her page as an example. On her website she offers several ways for readers to learn who she is.


Katie has a Media/Press Kit tab on her website which has drop down menus. 

One Page Author Graphic

She has a short and long bio so a media person can use either. They are written in paragraph style and say a little about her history as a writer, her origins, the reasons for her books, and what she currently participates in.


Katie also has a page of photos that a media person can use. And yes, you should have at least one photo accompanying your bio.


This next man reached out to me on LinkedIn.  I have never met him but his timing was perfect.  I always research people who ask to be my friend.  I went to his webpage and he has a terrific bio and media page. It’s even written in first person.

His bio is written in bullet points followed by another section with more bullet points about his passions.  I think it’s a terrific way of saying who you are if you can’t write in third person. 


His media page offers pdf downloads (written in third person with photo), videos of him talking about his books, testimonials, and trailers about his books



Now let’s look at someone famous.  J. K. Rowling.  Personally, I think it has way too much info in her “about” section, but I suppose she “Is” famous.  However, if I were doing this.  I’d put a shorter bio and a link to “read more” that is on another page. 

She does not have a media kit, but I suppose she doesn’t need one.  If you go to her about page, it has a lovely photo and a few paragraphs, but then you have to keep scrolling down and down and down.  I think she could use a lesson from Katie and have a “short” bio page.


Another author I like is David Rosenfelt.  I listen to his Andy Carpenter series while I travel.  Anyway, curious about what his bio would look like, I snooped. I can see why dogs are always characters in his book.  His bio is also in the first person.  His bio page reflects the personality of his books. He does not have a “media” page, but does have information where you can submit a media request.

Let’s look at another famous writer.  John Grisham. He has a very short bio on his page but behind his photo is a collage of his books. I might have to steel that one.  He doesn’t have a media page. (But again, I guess he doesn’t need one.)  I love the simplicity of this.  The photo tells that he’s a writer of many works.


Having an author website is not necessary to be an author.  However, as I searched for random authors from around the world, I discovered that the first three African authors that I Googled, did not have websites. It was hard to find their bios among the magazine articles. Some had bios on collegiate pages or in an encyclopedia, and one out of the three had a bio on Amazon.  But, still, I didn’t get a feeling of who they were let alone give me a reason to contact or interact with them.  


Your bio presentation should reflect you and your writing. Even if you don’t have a website, you can create an author profile on Amazon which will at least introduce you to potential readers.


Zoe does not have a website or an author bio on Amazon.   Her book looks so beautiful, it’s a shame it will be hard to find.

Alain Mabanckou is another author without a website, but he does have a bio on the university page and also on Amazon.


Ayi Kwei Armah has written many books, but who is he?  There isn’t any info about him on Amazon either, but his books are there.

Would you buy any of these books if you didn’t know the author?


Always have a photo of you! Here is a website bio that doesn’t have a picture.  To me, it leaves me wondering, “What is this author trying to hide.”  



You don't have to write an essay on your life. Rainbow Rowell has a simplistic bio, the shortest I’ve seen. But it works.


For inspiration for your own bio page, look for bios in the same genre in which you write.  See what best selling authors have that attracts people.


And I could go on showing you more examples, but I think you get the idea.  A media presence where readers and learn about you, see what you are doing, and share your information is a helpful tool in marketing your books. 


Here are some websites about writing media pages and creating content. 




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