Craft an Amazing Author About Page
The about page is one of the most important pages on your author website. No matter what you write – business books, romance novels, mysteries, self-help – your readers will want to know about you. This is your chance to show off. Who are you? What qualifies you to write your books? What else do you do? Do you have any events coming up? Your readers go to your about page because they want the answers to these questions.
But if you don’t effectively set this page up, you’re squandering one of the most important tools in your book-selling arsenal. While there aren’t any hard and fast rules for what you must have or can’t have, I’ve compiled some general guidelines to help you make your about page the best it can be.
An Amazing About Page Starts With a Great Headshot
This should be toward the top of your page and is the first impression you give a new reader. If you can hire a pro for this, do it. If that’s not possible, do everything you can to make your headshot as professional looking as you can. Everyone has that one friend who’s a great photographer, even if they’re not a pro. Enlist their help. Do NOT use a selfie, or worse, a still shot from your webcam, which I’ve seen.
Same goes for your hair and makeup. If you’re like me and fancy going-out makeup means actually wearing mascara, get some help. If you can’t hire a makeup artist or hair stylist, get someone to help you. Someone you know is great with this stuff. Guys, this goes for you, too. You don’t need to wear a full face of makeup, but you at least need something to get the shine off of your skin.
An example of a great headshot is romance author Avery Flynn. Her tagline is “Sexy Sassy Romance”, and the headshot on her about page embodies that. (I’ve met Avery, and her love of shoes is well documented.) Everything about her headshot is geared toward her brand. It’s a professional photo, she looks great, and it perfectly captures who she is as an author and what a reader can expect from her books.
A few more tips:
- Incorporate your book’s genre or theme into your photo. If you write about fitness, then take a photo in a gym. If you write cookbooks or nutrition books, get in the kitchen.
- Try to be the only person in the headshot. Unless you’re a writing team, of course. If you’d like to have pictures of friends, family, or pets, you can add a few candid shots further down the page, but keep your official headshot a professional, solo affair.
- Make sure the picture is of the highest resolution possible.
- Keep the background clear of clutter. If there’s something you want to incorporate into your shot, like Avery Flynn’s table of shoes, try not to have it in the background. You want your background to be as clear as possible or the shot will just look cluttered.
Get a Checklist for an Amazing Photoshoot!
Craft an amazing bio
Once you’ve gotten a headshot you’re happy with, the next step is to write your bio. You want this to reflect your writing. If your book is a serious academic tome, then your bio should read the same way. It should focus on your qualifications. What makes you the right person to have written this book? Degrees, awards, certifications, all of those should go in this section.
If your book is more light-hearted, a comedy or romance, your bio can be more light-hearted, too. Still mention any awards you’ve won for your writing, but you can focus more on your personal background, where you live (keep it general “the Midwest” “Texas” something like that), your hobbies, do you have kids (again, generic. “two girls” “three kids”, etc) Any pets? Married? Hobbies? Your readers are on your about page because they want to know who you are. Tell them! Keep the information as vague as you want to, but give them something.
Take a look at Alafair Burke’s about page. It’s a great page – professional headshot, a full history of how she came to be a mystery author, quotes and blurbs about her books, links to media about her work, some candid shots of her family, and her social media links.
Have someone else go over it, too. You don’t want a random typo or glaring mistake making your entire bio look bad, especially on a website touting your skills as an author.
Appearances & Events
Putting this information on your about page is up to you. It should be on your site, but whether you put it here or give it its own page is your decision. Include anything and everything on your schedule. Book signings, talks you’re giving, appearances, conferences you’re attending, panels at those conferences you’ll be leading or speaking on, Facebook Live or Periscope videos you’re planning to do – all of these should be listed on your events tab or page.
You can even include informal events – if you’re traveling and want to meet up with some readers where you’ll be, include that information as well.
Here’s a printable sheet you can use to keep track of the appearances you want to list on your site: Events & Appearances
Social Media Links
This should probably go without saying, but your social media links should be on every page of your site, including your about page. Also include share links so your readers can pin or share content if they want to.
This should also be on every page, as well as an actual “Contact Me” page. You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to get ahold of you if they want to. Don’t make them work for it, have a contact form on each page. If your site is on WordPress, there are dozens of plugins you can choose from to make this look exactly how you want to.
In 2017, video is exploding. You almost can’t have a web presence without it. Consider not only providing your Facebook Live schedule or Periscope videos, but recording a video specifically for your site. Welcome your readers to your page, tell them what you’re working on, your next release, maybe even show them around your workspace. If you have book trailers, add those as well. Use clips of interviews you’ve done, speeches you’ve given, answer FAQs, etc. There’s no end to what you can do with video on your site. But don’t give away too much about the books themselves. If you’re going to discuss a specific book, make it generic.
Most of what I’ve said in this post is applicable to your Amazon author page as well. You can certainly use the same bio and photos, there’s no reason to double your work, but keep in mind that Amazon doesn’t allow for any formatting, so no bolding, no italics, no subheadings, etc. One really great thing Amazon lets you do is can connect your blog to your Amazon author page so that your blog feed automatically shares to your Amazon page. You can have it set up to publish every one of your blog posts, or just a specific category. You can also connect your Amazon author page to your Twitter profile for an up-to-date look at your Twitter feed.
The about page on your website is one of the most important tools you have to connect with your readers. Take the time to craft a compelling page, a glimpse into who you are as a person, that will make your readers feel a connection with you. In today’s world, people crave connection. Give them that. Let them know why they should be reading your books. Why you? Of all the authors on your topic or in your genre, give them a reason to pick you and read your books.
Get a Checklist for an Amazing Photoshoot!
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