Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

Building Your Author Platform: Writing and Placing Your Author Biographies

Authors have the reputation of being introverted creatures. Most authors fall back on this stereotype whenever they are asked to write about themselves for an author biography. After all, we’ve already shown ourselves as arrogant by thinking our creation is worthy of widespread consumption, and now you want us to talk and/or write about ourselves? How awkward and self-absorbed! No thank you!

Well, sorry ladies and gents. The truth is, an author biography is an integral part of your author platform and your author website. It helps readers connect with you as a person, validates your qualifications, and provides information about your publications. You’ve got to write it, no matter how painful it is.

Here is a quick guide to five types of author biographies you can have, examples, and where to put them out into the world.

1. Personal tagline

This is a short phrase or series of words that describes you to your readers. It should encompass your business title (ie: Author, Writer, Novelist), as well as other “roles” or identifiers you want to share with your reader. While it is tempting to make this entirely selfish, don’t! Think of identifiers for yourself that will connect with your target audience.

For example, my tagline is: Author. Globetrotter. Cat Mother.

Obviously, Author indicates that I write books. Globetrotter shows I have a sense of adventure and love exploring new worlds. Because my novels will take place in mostly dystopian/fantasy worlds, I want to attract my kindred adventurous spirits. Cat Mother shows that I love animals and value family. This title should appeal to fellow animal lovers and those with a dash of romance in their personalities.

Places to put your tagline: website header, as a header to longer biographies, Facebook page (short description), Twitter biography, Instagram biography, Pinterest biography, Google+ tagline

For more on how I created my original tagline, read this post.

2. Brand tagline

Like your personal tagline, this is a short phrase or series of words that tells your reader what your brand (books, writing, etc.) is all about. Think of it like a company slogan. Again, keep in mind not only your business purpose, but who you are trying to attract.

For example, my brand tagline is: Exploring real world themes in not-quite-real worlds

From this statement, it should be clear to my reader that my writing takes place in fictional worlds, and it also implies that these fictional worlds are not precisely based on our reality. Likewise, it shows that my writing is theme-heavy and is likely to have larger, social messages within it.

Places to put your tagline: website header, as a header to longer biographies, Facebook page (short description), Twitter biography, Instagram biography, Pinterest biography, Google+ tagline

3. Micro biography

Having a short (under 100 words) author biography is a great promotional tool. It gives readers a quick glimpse into who you are and what you do — enough to intrigue, but not enough to overwhelm. I specifically say “promotional tool,” because this type of biography is best for when you write a guest post, do speaking engagements, do book signings, etc.

Here is my micro biography:

Kate M. Colby is an author of cross-genre fiction and creative nonfiction. Her first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk dystopian novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge. She lives in the United States with her husband, Daniel N. Gullotta, who is an aspiring Early Christian historian. You can learn more about Kate and her books on her website:

Notice it is four sentences that succinctly say: 1) what I write, 2) title/detail of novel or what is special about what I write, 3) personal detail, 4) where you can find me.

Also, notice it is written in third person. This is because, in these situations, you are not so much speaking directly to your reader as your reader is learning about you.

Places to use your micro biography: promotional events, speaking engagements, guest posts, contributions to other publications, back cover of books, back matter of books

4. Medium Biography

What I term a medium author biography is what most authors and readers consider the “standard” author biography. This biography consists of a few short paragraphs, written in third person. It should explain what you write (including titles, genres), your writing credentials (degrees, awards, etc.), and personal facts to humanize you.

Kate M. Colby is an author of cross-genre fiction and creative nonfiction. Her first series, Desertera, consists of steampunk dystopian novels with themes of socio-economic disparity, self-empowerment, romance, and revenge.

Kate’s writing begins with big picture concepts and is centered on her artistic purpose of exploring real world themes in not-quite-real worlds. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Creative Writing, and Sociology from Baker University, which she uses to marry her love of the written word with her passion for the human experience.

When she is not writing or working, Kate enjoys playing video games, antiquing, and doting on her furry children. She lives in the United States with her husband, Daniel N. Gullotta, who is an aspiring Early Christian historian.

You can learn more about Kate and her books on her website:

If publishing is still in your future, do not shy away from writing an author biography. Instead of your publications or writing credentials, you can share: your blog, what you intend to write, a bit about your writing process, your favorite books, why you want to be an author, etc.

Places to use your medium biography: author website, back covers of books, Facebook page (long description), Goodreads biography, LinkedIn summary, Google+ about me section, YouTube about me section

5. Long (Auto)Biography

Your long author biography can be any length, though I advise keeping it under 1,000 words. Write it in first person (which makes it an autobiography, technically). Think of it as a conversation between you and your readers. Expand on points from your medium biography, reveal the origins of your tagline(s), share your story. A long biography is special, something you share with your most loyal readers.

For an example, you can read my long biography on my About Kate page.

Not all authors take this step, and that’s okay. You have to decide what is right for you and your brand. However, I think this is the best way to show your personality and really “sell” yourself as a person, not just a book, to your reader.

Places to use your long biography: author website, blog, as a welcome email in your author newsletter

As with everything relating to your author platform and author business, you have to decide what you need and want and what will work for you and your readers. These are simply guidelines to help put your creative gears in motion. If you take away one thing from this post, let it be this: your author biography is a great tool for connecting with your readers; keep them in mind as you write it, and your target audience will appreciate you.

What tips do you have for writing author biographies? Is writing an author biography a dreaded task for you, or do you enjoy the challenge? Share your thoughts below!

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

My Hybrid Author Website: Custom Domain and Free Hosting

As you may have noticed, my author website now carries a new domain name:! In this post, I want to share with you how I set up my custom domain name, why I have decided to stay with’s free hosting, and my plans for the future.

My Domain Name

I chose to use my pen name as my domain name, because I believe it will be the way most readers and fellow authors try to find me in the future. At some point, I may also buy a domain name and/or set up a website for my press, but at this point, that does not make sense financially or logistically.

I purchased through, as it was recommended to me by The Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast’s Author Website Course. The cost was $8.99 for one year.

From there, I mapped my new domain to my free account using these instructions. I did have to pay for WordPress Site Redirect to “redirect” those who type in/link to to The cost is $13.00 per year. However, it allows the site I currently use to function as it always has with a newer, more professional domain name. That put my total cost for one year at $21.99.

As most users will know, you can register your custom domain name directly through However, I decided against this for two reasons. First, the base cost for a domain name at is $18.00. For half the price, I can have a domain that I can easily transfer to different hosting in the future. Second, the domain registrar I used ( provides free privacy protection, whereas requires you to pay $8.00 for privacy protection. In short, my cost was $21.99 per year instead of $26.00 per year.

As an added perk, I also have free email forwarding now. So if you ever want to get in contact with me directly, should do the trick!

Why I Stayed with for Hosting

This list is simple:

  • Hosting is an extra monthly cost that I do not need right now.
  • I love my theme and mobile-friendly site.
  • I can do without fancy plug-ins and customization options until my career is more established.
  • I’m not super tech savvy yet, so I like having a reliable host and site design for now.
  • I love interacting with the community!

Plans for the Future

Eventually, I will move to a self-hosted website with either a custom design or a design template with heavy customization options. This is the main reason why I bought my domain name from a third party source — it is ready to move whenever I am!

As far as this site is concerned, I do have a few plans for updating it. You may already have noticed new email newsletter sign up buttons, new tag lines, and a few subtle changes to some of the pages and widgets. In the coming weeks, I hope to continue this by refining the options in my navigation bar, updating my author biography, and possibly integrating some video into my pages.

In other words, stay tuned for subtle, exciting (to me anyway) changes ahead!

For more information on how to set up your own author website, see Building Your Author Platform: Setting Up Your Home Base.

For tips on what to included on your author website, see Building Your Author Platform: 8 Essential Elements for Your Author Website.

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

Building Your Author Platform: 8 Essential Elements for Your Author Website

So, you’ve set up your author website. Now what in the world do you put on it? First and foremost, know that it is your website. Your brand is unique to you, and there is no cookie-cutter model that will fit it perfectly. Only you can determine what features and content should fill your author website.

That being said, there are a few elements that I strongly suggest every author include. I will keep this post relatively simple and expand on some of these features in later posts. This is simply a “what” and brief “why” post — not a “how” tutorial.

1. Author Head Shot

Your readers want to connect with you, and nothing does that quite like seeing your face. Don’t worry — this doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Simply find or take a photograph of yourself that focuses on your face. It should be clear (high resolution) and cohesive with your brand. For example, romance authors may want to look dressy and sophisticated, while thriller authors may want a more brooding, black and white photo. You can read a more thorough post on this topic here.

2. Author Biography

You can read a detailed post on writing and placing your author biography(ies) here. However, no matter how much research you do, make sure you say something about yourself on your author website. Your biography can be written however you like, but it should definitely include: your publications/writing experience, any relevant education, and/or something personal about yourself.

3. Your Books or Works-In Progress

If you already have published books, fantastic! Make sure to advertise them! Include your book cover, book description, and links to purchase your books everywhere they are available. You never know where your reader may want to buy, and only including “big names” like Amazon could limit your market. Likewise, I strongly suggest allowing your readers to buy directly from your site. You cut out the middleman and keep 100% of the royalties yourself this way.

If you do not have published books yet, don’t worry! At the time of this writing, I don’t either! Instead, share the title of your work-in-progress, its genre, a short description, its production stage, and/or an estimated release date. Informing your readers about what is coming builds anticipation and creates a connection even before your creative product hits the shelves.

4. Email List/Newsletter Sign Up

You should have an email list. Seriously, it is your best marketing tool as an author. For more on why you need an email list, read this post. Make sure to include a link or widget to allow readers to sign up for your newsletter. If they are on your site, they probably want to hear more from you, and reaching them directly will be key to building relationships and generating sales.

5. Social Media Links & Widgets

Social media is a great way to craft an identity for your author brand and get in touch with your readers. There is so much to be said about what social media sites to use and the best way to use them (more to come). However, when you do commit to social media sites, make sure that it is easy for your readers to A) find you on them, B) see what you are doing on them, and C) share your content on them all from your website.

6. Contact Information

At some point, your readers will want to contact you. Maybe they want to tell you how much they love your book, maybe they want to tell you about a typo, maybe they want to offer a guest post on your site. Whatever the reason, make sure they know how to do it. Being accessible will make you likable and probably be a lot of fun for you, too!

7. Testimonials/Reviews

If you offer a service, make sure to have testimonials from previous clients on your author website. After all, knowing you offer editing services and seeing John Doe rave about your editing services create two drastically different impressions in the minds of your readers and potential clients. Likewise, knowing that you have a book on the market and seeing that other readers judged your book “Brilliant!” “Fantastic!” “The best YA book I’ve ever read!” give two incredibly different messages.

8. Content (Preferably lots and a variety)

If your author website never changes, readers will view it twice (the first time and once again to look for updates) and never return. Moreover, if you only ever update when you have a book for sale, readers will feel you are just a salesperson and never check your site. You have to figure out what works for you. Some authors blog, some vlog, some post interviews, some share book reviews, some write stories and poems. Whatever you decide, figure out content that you can put out consistently that is relevant to your reader and cohesive with your brand. As with other topics, more on this in a later post.

Remember, as I wrote at the beginning of this post, ultimately, your author website simply needs to work for you, your brand, and most importantly, your readers. Think carefully about which of these features you would like to include and how you can tailor them to your unique website. And, of course, have fun with it!

For more on building your author platform, click here.

Author Business & Publishing, Writing & Publishing Articles

Building Your Author Platform: Setting Up Your Home Base

The first steps in building your author platform are understanding what, when, and why and choosing the pen name you want to use. Once those steps are completed, you can take action. My suggestion is to begin by setting up your “home base” on the web: your author website.

Your author website will be the center of your activity online. It will be the place to which you direct your readers (“funnel” them) from other sites. In the game of internet tag, it is the place you want your readers to end up: home base. It is a place entirely devoted to you and your work.

Most authors go one of two routes with their author website.

Route One: Free Blog/Website

There are several host websites that allow you to create your own website entirely for free. These include WordPress, Blogger, and Wix, among others. With these websites, you use the provider’s hosting, design options (often called “templates”), and a domain name that ends in their domain name (ie: NOTE: You can pay to have a custom domain name.


  • Entirely free
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to create and design
  • Easy to connect to others (via features like the WordPress Reader and searchable tags)
  • Simple statistics provided (not as thorough or accurate as Google Analytics)


  • Highly limited customization
  • Website is technically “owned” by another company
  • Host company may have regulations about content (profanity, selling products/services)
  • May look less professional than a custom website with custom domain name

Authors who should consider Route One: beginning authors, authors on a tight budget, authors who intend to blog regularly, authors who may not want to be full-time writers

My humble opinion: I chose to go the free route for the beginning of my indie author career. I did not want to invest money in my author website until I was closer to publishing. Likewise, I am not a technical wizard, and I like having an easy website with a strong social component to help me connect with other bloggers.


Route Two: Your Own Website

For a website to be entirely your own, you must pay for the hosting, buy a custom domain name, and either install a design template (free or purchased – themes are the most popular) or pay a designer to create a custom design for you. Depending on the services you select, having your own website may be inexpensive, or it could cost quite a bit. However, it will never be free.


  • Full customization
  • Ownership of your home base
  • No restrictions on content and/or selling your products/services
  • Shows professionalism
  • Can install Google Analytics (or another tracking service) to see exactly how many views you receive, from where your traffic comes, and other statistics


  • Costs money
  • Can be high-maintenance
  • Requires more technical knowledge
  • An “island” – not connected to others via a social network, must rely on search engine optimization (SEO) and organic traffic to generate views

Authors who should consider Route Two: authors with some technical knowledge, authors without strict financial limitations, authors who intend to be full-time writers, authors who are in writing/publishing for “the long haul”

My humble opinion: When I publish my first novel, I will be switching to a self-hosted site with a custom domain name and a free theme. I’m doing this, because I want to own my content, write any content I wish, and sell my products directly from my site. To me, it is an investment and a tool that I intend to keep my entire career.


To view the rest of my author platform series, click here.

What kind of author website do you have? If you use a free website, do you intend to keep it or change to self-hosted later? What else would you like to know about author websites?