(James) In this episode we’re going to talk about creating a crazy cool bio.

Intro Paragraph:


(Thomas)Today’s topic comes from Samantha Johnson author of The Beginner’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening. She asks:

(James)I discovered the Novel Marketing podcast a few months ago, and since then I’ve listened to nearly all the episodes in the archive. Great stuff! I now have a lot of new marketing ideas to try out and I’ve learned ways to fine-tune the things I’ve already been doing.

I have a couple of suggestions for episode topics that I’d love to see you guys discuss sometime:

How to write the perfect author bio … I know you’ve touched on this briefly in the past, but an entire episode would be awesome.”

(Thomas) So one of our mysterious nonfiction listeners has come out of the closet and asked a question. (James) Bios are one of the most overlooked aspects of an author’s marketing. You take a few facts, hit your success highlights and volia, you have a bio. Yet a bio is one of the first things a potential reader or interviewer or publisher or agent will look at.

Thomas comments …

Talking Points:


Be relatable… Keep Some Mystery

  • Make sure people realize you’re just another human. Mention a quirk, a hobby, self-deprecating humor can work if that fits your personality. Love 50s music? Superhero movies? Night owl?

Use humor

  • Remember, love me, hate me, just don’t ignore me is marketing 101. In other words, most author bios are BORING. Entertain us here … and humor is a great way to do this. James’ opening line:
  • Not everyone can use humor—if your main writing topic is human trafficking it’s not going to work, but for most of us, it can.

Tell us where you live, even if it’s not specific

  • We’re told to do this in our stories, it grounds people, we need to do it in OUR story

Give people a sense of your voice

  • Serious writing, serious voice in your bio. YA, much more upbeat. Sophisticated? More intellectual voice. Your bio should reflect your writing.


Write in the third person.

  • This is the standard. Allows you to more easily talk about your accomplishments. Side note: the ONLY place you should talk in third person on your website.


Remember a Marketing 101 axiom—it’s not about you.  

  • It’s about you, yes, but it’s really about your position and authority to be able to help the reader.


Give Your Authority

  • Awards, number of novels, what you’ve accomplished. DON’T put in things anyone could say. The “So What” factor


Customize Your Bio for Different Audiences

  • Is it appropriate?
  • Not every publication is going to need information about your feline affection or love for classic rock. With that said, tailor your tidbits to the audience and be sure to keep them at a minimum. Readers are only marginally interested in your personal life — this is not the place to divulge everything.

Watch Your Length

o   “Brevity is the soul of wit.” William Shakespeare. In an odd twist of logic, the more accomplished you are as an author, the shorter your author bio can be.”

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James L. Rubart is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older man’s body. He thinks he’s still young enough to water ski like a madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons, and loves to send readers on journeys they’ll remember months after they finish one of his stories. He’s the best-selling, Christy, INSPY, and RT Book Reviews award winning author of seven novels as well as a professional speaker. During the day he runs his marketing company which helps businesses, authors, and publishers make more coin of the realm. He lives with his amazing wife on a small lake in eastern Washington. More at www.jameslrubart.com

Mary Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. In her spare time, she feeds unicorns, sings 80’s hairband songs to her three muggle children, and ogles her husband who looks strikingly like Wolverine. They live in California, which is perfect for stalking L.A. bands, Joss Whedon, and the ocean. {Facebook: marychristineweber, Twitter @mchristineweber, Blog: maryweber.com}


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