An excellent author bio is a cornerstone of a book publicity campaign. If you're working on how to market a book with a well-rounded publicity effort, putting time into writing a bio is worth every minute. More than one person has bought a book after reading an author's bio and becoming interested. But before you begin writing, it's crucial to be clear about what you need to accomplish. You need to decide what to include and how to present yourself. It needs to be aligned with your author branding. When you do an outstanding job with what you write, you'll set yourself up for success.

It surprises some authors to find out that two versions of their bios are needed – a long and short one. The long one will go into media kits and should be generous (although not overboard) with information the media will find useful. The shorter version goes into all other marketing materials. Good bios are written in the third-person. There is a bias against writing in the first-person for this purpose, causing skepticism among many, at first. It may be useful to experiment with a couple of different styles before deciding on your final approach. You might even slice parts of the two together ultimately.

For the more widely used (short) version of your author bio, a paragraph of 250-350 words is the optimal length. You want to include enough to pique people's interest but not so much that it becomes intimidating or appears too long. The first part should be about your work, and it's essential to cater to the interests of your audience; remember the genre of your book. A few personal touches can be included where appropriate, but use a light touch. Save your kids and other personal details for the end. Following a news story writing format, which means the most important information comes first.

Make sure your bio includes credentials and awards related to your work. If you're successful enough to have many, list only the more current ones. If you're a non-fiction author, list any credentials that give you the knowledge and authority to write the book. You can also view your bio as a form of a resume. Therefore, keep it updated with new information. When you take the time to write an interesting and useful bio that summarizes your experience and accomplishments, it will be an exciting read. Fans and the media will refer to it for information about you and inspiration to read or cover your book.