The Four Most Important Elements for your About Page is part two of the Essential Elements of an Effective Author Website series.
Is the About Page on your author website doing all the work it should for you?
Does the photo you have help to tell readers who you are? How about your bio? Is it as dry as a stale cracker or does it give readers a glimpse into who you are and what you write?
Every element of your website is an opportunity create or enhance your relationship with readers and potential readers by helping them to understand who you are as an author.
What Should your Author About Page Include?
Before we get into detail, there are a few elements that your About page should include. Let’s be sure you have each item that applies:
1. Your bio
2. A professionally done author photo
3. Social Proof
4. Information on your agent, publisher, and PR firm (if applicable)
This is the one that gets all of us. How should we write the bio?
Should it be first person chatty or third person snobby? Should we be funny and open or strictly professional?
Here’s my answer for this one:
Sorry, but it’s different for everyone and here’s why.
The author who writes international geopolitical thrillers will have a much different bio from the author who writes mysteries featuring cats and cooking.
Your bio should fit in with what and how you write. If your books are funny, your bio could stand to have some humor. If your books are detail oriented and serious, your bio could emphasize your subject matter expertise.
Some authors choose to put multiple biographies on their website to serve different purposes. One might be for readers while a second might be for potential agents and publishers.
It’s important to remember that About pages aren’t etched in stone and what you have on yours today might change as your publishing journey changes.
If you’re in the process of looking for an agent or a publisher you can rest assured they’ll check out your website and the About page. Be sure it includes the information you want them to have.
A professionally done author photo
Oh, I’ll just have my husband/mother/nephew take a nice picture of me, and I’ll use that as my author photo. I don’t need to spend the money for a professional photographer.
If you’re serious about your writing, you’ve spent months writing and polishing your books. Hundreds or even thousands of dollars on editing, proofreading, formatting, cover design and all the extras that go into a professionally produced book.
Consider spending some money and time with a professional photographer to have a series of pictures taken. Not just one, but multiple photos that can be used in different ways for the next several years.
How much will this cost? Well, like so many things I’ve mentioned in this email series, it depends. But it can be done for a little as a few hundred dollars.
Having a professional author photo is something that will make EVERYTHING you do as an author look more polished.
Adding social proof is a simple but often overlooked part of the About page. Include some of the nice things people have said about you and your books. Awards, bestseller listings, sales information, anything that will show readers that you’re a serious and accomplished author.
Social proof may seem like an overwhelming challenge if you’re a new author, but it needn’t be. Amazon reviews, Kirkus reviews, blog reviews, or even blurbs can be used here.
This is not a “more the merrier” situation. Somewhere between one and three social proof items will do the job, and remember, they can be changed as new reviews/awards come in.
Including Agent, Publisher and PR contact information accomplishes at least two things. First – it’s more social proof, it shows that you have those people on your team, and second, it makes it clear to industry professionals who they should contact for specific requests.
If I’m a movie producer who wants to option your book for film or television, I’ll know to contact your agent. If I work for the Today Show, and I’m looking for author guests, I know to contact your PR firm. You get the picture.
If you don’t have an agent, a publisher, or a PR company, don’t sweat it. The movie producer who desperately wants to make a blockbuster from your book will just swing on over to your contact page (next in the series) and reach out to you directly.
The Essential Elements of an Effective Author Website series continues with a post on your website’s Contact page.
If you’d like to download the entire series as an e-book, that will be available soon. You can signup to receive a free copy the minute it becomes available by clicking the button below.
Creative Commons image via FlashBuddy