How to write your About the Author Page

You’ve finished your novel and are keen get it out there, in front of readers. But wait, there’s a long list of things to do first: front cover, interior formatting, all that legal text on the copyright page, and so on. When it finally comes to writing your About the Author page, it seems like just one more thing to write.

And anyway, what is there to say? So, you do a quick jokey paragraph, heave a sigh of relief, and consider it done.

Right?

Wrong.

What readers want from an About the Author page

Think about how you feel when, having just finished a book you enjoyed, you get to the About the Author page and it doesn’t really say anything.

As a writer, particularly if you’re a first-time writer, you may feel that nobody wants to know anything about you, or perhaps even that there’s not much to know, and having an About the Author page just highlights the fact.

But an About the Author page isn’t about impressing anyone. Sure, if you have won awards, or have published books, articles, essays, recipes, then let the reader know. But readers don’t only turn to the About the Author page to be impressed.

(The exception to this is if your book is non-fiction and you need to present your credentials for writing about the subject, or if your book is fiction and is based, in some way, on your real experience or knowledge, and you feel that readers will want to know this.)

Readers who turn to the About the Author page want to know about the author. They don’t really care if you haven’t had a book published before, because, by picking up your book and glancing at your About the Author page, they’ve already decided they’re interested in it. (Or, if they’ve just finished reading your book and turn to your About the Author page, they’re obviously impressed enough by what you’ve written to want to know more.)

In other words, what a reader wants from an About the Author page is to know something about you as a person. Something real. It doesn’t have to be impressive, but it should feel genuine.

(And we’re not saying it shouldn’t include humour. But if it’s only a throwaway joke, it can be disappointing, particularly if a reader was moved by your book and wants to feel some sort of connection with you — which will lead to their reading your other books.)

So, what do you put?

Planning your About the Author page

Here are a list of things you might say about yourself on your About the Author page.

Go through it, looking for items you can use, or can just say something about. If you find something, write it down.

Note that not all of these are about you as a writer, but they’re all about you as a person. And that’s what a reader might be wanting to learn. Where you were born might sound a silly thing to put in an About the Author page, but if your reader knows the place, it might make them warm to you a little. If not, it’s very unlikely to make them hate you. And either way, it builds up their picture of you as a person.

Which is what the About the Author page is all about.

The List

And this list is by no means exhaustive. If there’s anything you feel someone has to know before they can even beging to say they know you, put it in.

How do you want to be known?

Writing your About the Author page

You should now have a list of things to say about yourself.

It might be long, it might be short, but surely it will be something.

(You might like to leave the list a day or so, and add to it as things occur to you.)

Now, play around with the order, seeing how it flows. A chronological narrative? Most relevant to least relevant? Or from factual (jobs, publications) to personal (loves, home)?

Or you might just want to dive in and write away, ticking statements off as you go. (And you don’t have to include them all. Just enough to provide some personality.)

About the Author pages are, generally, written in the third person, but it’s usually obvious that the author themselves are the ones writing it. So, feel free to use the first person if you want, or use humour, if it fits with your writing.

How to start

If you’re stuck for a beginning sentence, try one of these, and see where it takes you: