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SPQ 033: How to Write an Author Bio That Sells Books

Written by Steve Scott on January 26, 2015. Listen to SPQ: iTunes | Stitcher | RSS Feed
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Author Bios as Landing Pages

In episode 17, Steve explained how to use an easy-to-remember URL to direct people to your Amazon author page. His URL, HabitBooks.net, redirects to his author profile and makes it easier for people to find his books.

Your author bio is your personal landing page, or a page designed to sell something, so it should always be helping you sell more books. It’s easy to set up your author bio on Amazon; simply go to Amazon Author Central and follow the steps. You should also set up author pages at Kobo, iBooks, and other platforms.

No matter where you have a bio, you must write something that engages readers and (hopefully) gets them to buy more books. Many readers check the “About” section of the author bio first, so you need to think carefully about what you write.

Unfortunately, many authors make the mistake of including too much purely biographical information. This section is for potential readers, so you must think about their needs when you write your profile. You need to write about three things:

  1. How you can help readers
  2. Why you are qualified to help people
  3. How readers will benefit from reading your books

Five Essential Elements of an Author Bio

Steve’s author bio has five components:

  1. Elevator pitch
  2. Unique sales proposition
  3. Target audience
  4. “About” information
  5. Call to action

Elevator Pitch

Your elevator pitch is a short statement that commands attention and focuses on the core benefit of your brand. Steve uses “Build a Better Life – One Habit at a Time.”

Unique Sales Proposition

The USP elaborates on why your books are unique. You can talk about price, authority, experience, quality, or value. What do you have to offer that is different from everyone else? Steve wrote his USP with the idea that not every author tries to help as many people as possible when publishing books. It’s simple and straightforward, but it works.

Getting more from life doesn’t mean following the latest diet craze or motivation program. True success happens when you take action on a daily basis. In other words, it’s your habits that help you achieve goals and live the life you’ve always wanted.

Target Audience

You need to drill down to find the right audience and connect with people who want to buy your books. Steve uses the following paragraph:

In his books, S.J. provides daily action plans for every area of your life: health, fitness, work and personal relationships. Unlike other personal development guides, his content focuses on taking action. So instead of reading over-hyped strategies that rarely work in the real world, you’ll get information that can be immediately implemented.

The text helps disqualify people who are looking for books on the law of attraction and similar concepts.

“About” Information

Here is your opportunity to talk about yourself a little bit. Keep your ego small; don’t talk about every accomplishment you’ve ever made. Steve recommends writing a single sentence, like he did on his author page.

When not writing, S.J. likes to read, exercise and explore the different parts of the world.

Call to Action

Finally, you want to tell people what to do next. If they’re reading your author bio, you want them to go buy your books. Steve’s habit bio contains this call to action:

Learn more by scrolling down the page and check out his books on developing positive daily habits…

Amazon recently changed the layout of the author page, so Steve says you might have to change the text to say something like “Look to the left side of the page.” No matter how you word your call to action, you need to give readers a simple command.

Testing Author Pages

Steve tested these elements on the author page for his Internet marketing and Kindle publishing books. By editing the text of his bio and adding a call to action, he was able to quickly increase sales by 23 percent.

As discussed in episode 17, you can use URL forwarding to link to anywhere you have an author platform. Use this URL in the front or back matter of your books, on social media networks, and in your blog posts.

Resources and Links

SPQ 017: Learn how to use URL forwarding as part of your marketing strategy

Steve’s Habit Books: Find out more about Steve’s books on habit development

Amazon Author Central: Set up your author profile on Amazon.com