Congratulations, writer! If you’re reading this, it’s a safe assumption to say that you’ve probably made your way through your first (or second or even third) manuscript – and you’re almost ready to publish it. Maybe you’re reading this and you have already published a few manuscripts, and you’re instead making your way to the promotional aspect for your book.
Whatever the case, it’s time to discuss About the Author blurbs and pages. All author websites and most books – even many articles – have some form of an About the Author section. This tells people more about the writer.
When that’s you, writing your own About the Author blurb can seem like a tall order. But it’s not nearly as hard as you imagine!
Here are some about the author examples and more information about what readers want to know about people (and don’t) when they read an About the Author page or blurb.
A Guideline for Length
An About the Author page on your website can be anything from 100 words through to 800. But blurbs or pages that appear at the back of published books or at the end of excerpts and articles tend to be a bit shorter – usually around 50 to 80 words instead.
Shorter blurbs still have to contain the essential information to answer the question, “Who am I?”
Good Example #1:
John published his first novel “Fire” at the age of 25. He’s always been interested in writing, nature trails, hunting and jogging. He achieved his journalism degree at Yale. He lives in California with three dogs. This is his third book.
Why It’s Good:
The first example above is brief, concise and says everything that it needs to. Even writers who don’t know anything about John will know that he has other books to look out for, that he spent time as a journalist, and that he has some other interests outside of writing.
Good Example #2:
John is a writer and blogger from San Antonio, Texas. His work has been published in magazines like Good Cooking and Great Desserts, and he runs his own cooking blog at PersonalCookingBlog.com when he isn’t busy raising chickens on his farm.
Why It’s Good:
Again, the second example is brief, though still manages to say more or less everything a reader might wonder about. It can, of course, be fleshed out more – but it shows the basics of what a good writer’s blurb should look like.
If you’re ready, we can move on to some worse examples of the same.
Bad Example #1:
John is a writer. He loves walks on the beach, typewriters, spending quality time with horses, pepperoni pizza, hot pockets and having fun. He loves writing, and he has published three books so far with a few more books on the way.
Why It’s Bad:
The above example still tells us that John is a writer – but what kind of writer and why should the reader care? Several sentences start with the same word several times in a row – he, he, he and he – and it tells us everything about John’s trivial likes and nothing about why he could be a good writer worth reading.
Bad Example #2:
John has written for three of of the world’s leading magazines about the internet. This is his third book of collected short stories. Two of these books have been NY Times Best Sellers.
Why It’s Bad:
There are several reasons why this one is a bad About the Author page. First, let’s assume that it’s not true that John’s books were on the NY Times list – never lie in a biography! Also, it doesn’t mention what any of John’s “three books” are. And: It says the word “of” twice in a row – did you spot that?