Building Your Author Platform: Writing and Placing Your Author Biographies

Authors have the reputation of being introverted creatures. Most authors fall back on this stereotype whenever they are asked to write about themselves for an author biography. After all, we’ve already shown ourselves as arrogant by thinking our creation is worthy of widespread consumption, and now you want us to talk and/or write about ourselves? How awkward and self-absorbed! No thank you!

Well, sorry ladies and gents. The truth is, an author biography is an integral part of your author platform and your author website. It helps readers connect with you as a person, validates your qualifications, and provides information about your publications. You’ve got to write it, no matter how painful it is.

Here is a quick guide to five types of author biographies you can have, examples, and where to put them out into the world.

1. Personal tagline

This is a short phrase or series of words that describes you to your readers. It should encompass your business title (ie: Author, Writer, Novelist), as well as other “roles” or identifiers you want to share with your reader. While it is tempting to make this entirely selfish, don’t! Think of identifiers for yourself that will connect with your target audience.

For example, my tagline is: Author. Globetrotter. Cat Mother.

Obviously, Author indicates that I write books. Globetrotter shows I have a sense of adventure and love exploring new worlds. Because my novels will take place in mostly dystopian/fantasy worlds, I want to attract my kindred adventurous spirits. Cat Mother shows that I love animals and value family. This title should appeal to fellow animal lovers and those with a dash of romance in their personalities.

Places to put your tagline: website header, as a header to longer biographies, Facebook page (short description), Twitter biography, Instagram biography, Pinterest biography, Google+ tagline

For more on how I created my original tagline, read this post.

2. Brand tagline

Like your personal tagline, this is a short phrase or series of words that tells your reader what your brand (books, writing, etc.) is all about. Think of it like a company slogan. Again, keep in mind not only your business purpose, but who you are trying to attract.

For example, my brand tagline is: Exploring real world themes in not-quite-real worlds

From this statement, it should be clear to my reader that my writing takes place in fictional worlds, and it also implies that these fictional worlds are not precisely based on our reality. Likewise, it shows that my writing is theme-heavy and is likely to have larger, social messages within it.

Places to put your tagline: website header, as a header to longer biographies, Facebook page (short description), Twitter biography, Instagram biography, Pinterest biography, Google+ tagline

3. Micro biography

Having a short (under 100 words) author biography is a great promotional tool. It gives readers a quick glimpse into who you are and what you do — enough to intrigue, but not enough to overwhelm. I specifically say “promotional tool,” because this type of biography is best for when you write a guest post, do speaking engagements, do book signings, etc.

Here is my micro biography:

Kate M. Colby is an author of cross-genre fiction and creative nonfiction. Her first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk dystopian novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge. She lives in the United States with her husband, Daniel N. Gullotta, who is an aspiring Early Christian historian. You can learn more about Kate and her books on her website: www.KateMColby.com.

Notice it is four sentences that succinctly say: 1) what I write, 2) title/detail of novel or what is special about what I write, 3) personal detail, 4) where you can find me.

Also, notice it is written in third person. This is because, in these situations, you are not so much speaking directly to your reader as your reader is learning about you.

Places to use your micro biography: promotional events, speaking engagements, guest posts, contributions to other publications, back cover of books, back matter of books

4. Medium Biography

What I term a medium author biography is what most authors and readers consider the “standard” author biography. This biography consists of a few short paragraphs, written in third person. It should explain what you write (including titles, genres), your writing credentials (degrees, awards, etc.), and personal facts to humanize you.

Kate M. Colby is an author of cross-genre fiction and creative nonfiction. Her first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk dystopian novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge.

Kate’s writing begins with big picture concepts and is centered on her artistic purpose of exploring real world themes in not-quite-real worlds. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Sociology from Baker University, which she uses to marry her love of the written word with her passion for the human experience.

When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and doting on her furry children. She lives in the United States with her husband, Daniel N. Gullotta, who is an aspiring Early Christian historian.

You can learn more about Kate and her books on her website: www.KateMColby.com.

If publishing is still in your future, do not shy away from writing an author biography. Instead of your publications or writing credentials, you can share: your blog, what you intend to write, a bit about your writing process, your favorite books, why you want to be an author, etc.

Places to use your medium biography: author website, back covers of books, Facebook page (long description), Goodreads biography, LinkedIn summary, Google+ about me section, YouTube about me section

5. Long (Auto)Biography

Your long author biography can be any length, though I advise keeping it under 1,000 words. Write it in first person (which makes it an autobiography, technically). Think of it as a conversation between you and your readers. Expand on points from your medium biography, reveal the origins of your tagline(s), share your story. A long biography is special, something you share with your most loyal readers.

For an example, you can read my long biography on my About Kate page.

Not all authors take this step, and that’s okay. You have to decide what is right for you and your brand. However, I think this is the best way to show your personality and really “sell” yourself as a person, not just a book, to your reader.

Places to use your long biography: author website, blog, as a welcome email in your author newsletter

As with everything relating to your author platform and author business, you have to decide what you need and want and what will work for you and your readers. These are simply guidelines to help put your creative gears in motion. If you take away one thing from this post, let it be this: your author biography is a great tool for connecting with your readers; keep them in mind as you write it, and your target audience will appreciate you.


What tips do you have for writing author biographies? Is writing an author biography a dreaded task for you, or do you enjoy the challenge? Share your thoughts below!

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23 thoughts on “Building Your Author Platform: Writing and Placing Your Author Biographies

    • Kate M. Colby says:

      Haha. I must say, if it did, that would be quite hilarious. I agree, though, they’re tough. I still think book blurbs are worse for me. I just can’t seem to sum my book up in a paragraph — one sentence, okay, a whole page, absolutely, paragraph, not happening.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jonas Lee says:

        I hated them too, but a good friend said to say enough about the book to make them want to read it, not necessarily give them a whole overview. Think of it as reader bait

        Liked by 1 person

  1. ofopinions says:

    You write the best guidelines for aspiring authors! I hadn’t even thought so much about biographies though I’m ever lost with them. Will get down to the previous posts I’ve missed in this series when I have more time later this month. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kate M. Colby says:

      Thank you, Amrita! I’m just trying to pass along the lessons I learn as I move forward in the journey and hopefully help those on a similar path. I’m excited to hear your thoughts on the other posts. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Galit Balli says:

    Wonderful post Kate 🙂
    So many great tips all in one post.
    My newsletter is about to go out and even though I felt a bit overwhelmed I am still happy to see that I did so many things as you have suggested here 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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