about the author

About The Author: 7 Examples To Help You Write Yours

Now that you’ve written your book it’s time to write what’s called an about the author. Readers want to know a little about the author whose book they love so much, so this is where your about the author comes in. It’s a professional snippet of who you are, your credentials, and what you’re passionate about.

If you’ve written a book, fiction or nonfiction, an about the author helps your marketing purposes and gives you great content for your social media bios or a short website bio. You can even include your about the author in your media kit and use specific phrases on a business card.

In this article we discuss:

Remember, whether you write fiction or nonfiction, an about the author is a crucial addition to your book. The voice you bring should reflect, at least in part, the genre you write, but be sure to make it professional. 

Let’s dive in!

What Is An About The Author?

Your about the author is a few-sentence biography that articulates who you are and the work you do. In your about the author, you can include a few credentials, hobbies, perhaps the university you graduated from, who your family is, and the state, province, or country you live in. 

We’ll dive into examples of about the authors a bit later, but keep in mind what different points you could jot down. What is an interesting, memorable, or fun fact your readers may be interested in hearing about?

about the author

Why An About The Author Matters

An about the author matters because it is one of the first ways a reader meets you. Even if you are a well-known public speaker, chances are, not every reader has seen you speak in person or met you at a meet-and-great. 

Including an about the author on the back cover of your book (or if you have a hardcover, on the inside, back flap) is a quick way for your reader to get an idea of who you are and why you wrote this book.

Authors want readers to remember their work, to share it with their friends, and for it to impact their lives. One way to do this is by including a memorable about the author so readers feel more connected to you. 

What Should I Say About The Author?

Your name and a personal fact that correlates with why you wrote this particular book is a great place to start. For instance, if you wrote a nonfiction book on how to run a start-up business, majored in Business at Yale, and started your first business at 18, these are some important facts to include. 

While we’ll get into specific examples with real authors, consider this one:

  • John Smith started his first successful business at 18 years old. A Yale graduate with a degree in Business, today he writes on the topic he loves and speaks to audiences at….

From the first sentence, there is a memorable fact about our author John Smith, and just one sentence in, he builds his credibility by stating that he graduated from a prestigious university. 

How Do You Write An About the Author?

Write a compelling about the author by starting with a long, rough draft. Include all your major credentials, how you got your start, any passions that relate to your book’s topic, and something personal to make the reader feel connected with you at a more personal level.

After you have these facts written down, begin to organize them from most crucial to least. For instance, if you wrote a middle-grade fantasy and are a fourth-grade teacher, that’s an important fact to include. 

How Long Should an About the Author Be?

An about the author is usually between 50-150 words.

About The Author Examples 

To help you get a feel for exactly what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to your own about the author examples, below is a list for you to take notes from. This list is a compilation of real authors who sell books in a variety of genres. 

As you browse through these examples, note which genre most resonates with your own and how you can take inspiration from these successful authors. Of course, it’s important to make your about the author true to you, your voice, and your writing goals, but examples can help you get there.

Here is a list to draw from:

  • #1 – “Veronica Roth is the New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, the first book in a trilogy that she began writing while still a college student. Now a full-time writer, Ms. Roth and her husband call the Chicago area home. You can visit her online at www.veronicarothbooks.com or on Twitter (@VeronicaRoth).” (51 words)

This about the author starts with credentials, goes on to describe the origin of her debut novel, and goes into her personal life: She now works full-time as a writer, is married, and lives in the Chicago area. 

  • #2 – “Glynnis Campbell is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure romance. She’s the wife of a rock star, and the mother of two young adults, but she’s also been a ballerina, a typographer, a film composer, a piano player, a singer in an all-girl rock band, and a voice in those violent video games you won’t let your kids play. She does her best writing on cruise ships, in Scottish castles, on her husband’s tour bus, and at home in her sunny southern California garden. Glynnis loves to play medieval matchmaker, transporting readers to a place where the bold heroes have endearing flaws, the women are stronger than they look, the land is lush and untamed, and chivalry is alive and well!” (123 words)

Because Glynnis Campbell isn’t as well-known of an author, her bio needs to be memorable. The way she articulates her author bio makes it sound like her life could be a novel all on its own. 

  • #3 – “Eric Carle invented writing, the airplane, and the internet. He was also the first person to reach the North Pole. He has flown to Mars and back in one day, and was enthusiastically greeted by the Martians. ‘Very strange beings,’ he reported on his return. He has written one thousand highly regarded books; a team of experts is presently attempting to grasp their meaning. ‘It might take a century,’ said the chief expert. Carle is also a great teller of stories — but not all of them are true, for instance those in this book.” (95 words)

Eric Carle’s sense of humor sets his about the author apart. If your genre has any bit of humor in it, consider adding a bit of this type of voice to your own about the author.

  • #4 – “Alex Ross, music critic for The New Yorker, is the recipient of numerous awards for his work, including two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for music criticism, a Holtzbrinck Fellowship at the American Academy in Berlin, a Fleck Fellowship from the Banff Centre, and a Letter of Distinction from the American Music Center for significant contributions to the field of contemporary music. The Rest is Noise is his first book.” (69 words)

Alex Ross can’t build his credibility through a list of previously published books, so he reveals why he is so qualified to publish his debut. 

  • #5 – “NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author JFPenn.com. Creative Entrepreneur. Podcaster. Professional speaker. INFJ. Travel junkie.” (17 words)

This is a simple, straightforward about the author that does not waste the reader’s time. Starting with her qualifications and including important facts such as her website and occupation is a cut-and-dry way to communicate to her audience in a timely way. 

  • #6 – The about the author for Joyce Carol Oates simply says: “Author.” (1 word)

If you’ve ever heard the writing mantra, “Tighten, tighten, tighten,” you know this is exactly what Joyce Carol Oates did. And somehow, it works.

Next Steps

Further considerations:

In this article, we have primarily focused on the about the author section that you’ll use on the back cover of your book when you publish it. Any time you upload your book to other sites, like Amazon, you’ll usually have the opportunity to upload an about the author section specific to that site. Occasionally, those will have word limits or character limits, so it is a good idea to have about the author segments that are various lengths.

  • On your book, you should stay in the 50-150 words as mentioned above.
  • On Amazon, a large range is acceptable, as low as 50 words up to 400 words.
  • On your personal website, you can go longer: 500-750 words is not uncommon.

For more information on this topic, check out these articles:

Draw from the above tips and let us know how your about the author turns out! Getting close to publishing or trying to figure out how to publish your book? Be sure to check out the training below.

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Ebook Cover Design

Ebook Cover Design: How-Tos, Costs, and More

The first thing about your book that will catch a reader’s eye is obviously the cover! It doesn’t matter how fabulous your book is if no one ever picks it up to read it, and readers absolutely will judge a book by its cover. That means we need to put the same care and attention into our book covers as we do into the story itself.

If you’re a self-published author, the cover designs are up to you, which means you’re responsible for finding, vetting, hiring, and paying for your cover design. While designing a cover yourself is always an option, graphic design can be a tough skill to cultivate! Since your book cover is one of your most important marketing elements, it makes perfect sense to hire out for it.

Let’s look at some different options for doing your ebook cover design yourself and how to hire a designer.

Can I pay someone to design my ebook cover?

Yes, you can pay someone to design your ebook cover!

There are many companies and freelancers who offer cover design services. You can often bundle an ebook cover design with your paperback cover and hardback cover, as well as an interior format, so you have fewer people to hire. Bundling services like this is typically a cheaper option than hiring a cover designer and interior formatter separately.

If you’re only publishing an ebook, your cover design should be fairly affordable to have done, whether you design it yourself or hire out.

While good design skills take a while to cultivate, one of the easier book projects to practice on is the ebook cover. It’s much simpler to design your own ebook cover than it is to design a full wrap (with the spine and back cover), like for a paperback or hardback.

When deciding if you’ll hire out or DIY your cover, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • How much money do I want to invest in my book?
  • How much time do I want to invest?
  • Do I want to learn a new skill, even if it takes some time?
  • Is my skill set at, or close to, a level where I can accomplish what I’d like to accomplish with the cover of my ebook?

Answering those questions should give you a pretty clear idea of which avenue is best for you and your publishing goals.

When you’re looking to cut costs on book production, cover design is not one we usually recommend. The cover is one of your biggest marketing tools, so if you’re investing money anywhere, the cover design is a great choice.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever design your own covers, so we’re going to go over a few ways you can do it yourself, as well as the best practices when it comes to hiring a designer.

Ebook Cover Design

How do I make an ebook cover design?

It can take quite a lot of time to nail the skill of graphic design, but it’s not impossible! Here are some things to consider when designing your own covers.

1. Research your genre.

The genre, subgenre, tone, themes, and target demographics should all be reflected in the cover design of your book. That means you need to know what other authors in your genres are doing with their covers! It’s also important to research for each one throughout your career, as trends and expectations evolve rapidly in the publishing industry. You can give your book a leg up or a kick down with the cover design, so try to be intentional and thorough with your research and designs.

2. Focus on readable text.

Physical books meant to sell in stores have covers designed to stand out in big print on a brick-and-mortar shelf.

For ebooks, your sales will happen online. That means a lot of glimpses at your book cover will be in thumbnail size! Try to design your cover in a way that is the most readable. Avoid too many distracting designs, make sure the text is big and clear enough to be seen in a smaller image, and make it eye-catching.

Even though this article from TheBookDesigner.com was written in 2010, the examples he includes clearly illustrate this issue of going from print to ebook.

3. Learn the basics.

Look at LOTS of examples from other recent books in your genre. Learn about symmetry, scale, framing, fonts, imagery, and other basic design fundamentals before you jump in. You can check out one of our articles on the topic; or you might try a class like Wend Fessler’s “Design A Book Cover – Graphic Design Basics” or Jeremy Deighan’s “Canva : Book Cover Design” for a guided experience. If book learning is more your speed, try Book Cover Design Formula by Anita Nipane.

4. Book design software.

The software you choose to use for your cover design will affect the process, timeline, and finished product. You might invest in something a bit more high-end, but you don’t necessarily have to dump a lot of money on software, especially if this is your first book. Here are some common ones you might consider.

Photoshop

Lots of designers use Photoshop or copycat programs, like GIMP, to design their covers. This may not be the best choice for a beginner, as these options are less intuitive than some other cover design software options, but if you already have an Adobe Photoshop subscription or a knowledge of the software, you can create beautiful covers.

Cost: $33.99 per month

InDesign

Adobe InDesign is a great software purchase for indie authors, because you can use it to format the interior of your books, as well as for your covers. If you’re a do-it-yourself indie author, a program like InDesign that will allow you to handle multiple parts of the publishing process is a great investment, as well as more time-effective, as you only have to learn one program. There are tons of great Skillshare classes for Adobe InDesign, my favorite of which being Nadège Richard’s classes for formatting the interior of paperbacks and ebooks with InDesign.

Cost: $20.99 per month

BookBrush

BookBrush is a simple program for creating marketing images, as well as book covers. It’s definitely worth checking out, since most of their features are available for free. This is a good option for less experienced designers, since BookBrush provides intuitive tools and a library of solid templates to get you started.

Cost: $8.99 per month for a premium account, but you can access most of BookBrush’s features for free!

Canva

Like BookBrush, Canva offers most of their features for free, as well as many great templates. I design most of my covers with a combination of InDesign (for the most complicated bits of design) and Canva to finish it off. Canva is a strong tool for indie authors, even if you aren’t using it to design covers—go take a look at their social and marketing templates if you haven’t yet!

Cost: $12.99 per month for the premium version, but most features are free.

How much does it cost to design an ebook cover?

The price of a cover design can range from $5 (no joke) to a thousand dollars, with most being around a few hundred bucks.

The final cost of your cover depends on factors like the complication of the design, how many edits you request, the experience level and location of the designer, and the morality of the company (for example, if they’re being particularly predatory in the way they hire and pay their designers).

I paid around $150 for the ebook cover design of Little Birds, while I paid $395 for the ebook design of Starlight. I think the quality difference between the two is clear, so keep in mind that you’ll usually get what you pay for!

For other pen names in different genres, I’ve made my own covers with Canva and InDesign, obviously only paying for those subscription services.

The most cost-effective route is typically to hire the same designer for your ebook cover design, paperback cover design, interior formats, etc., in order to get a bundle discount.

The price of your ebook cover can have a very wide range, so it comes down to your personal goals and where you decide to invest your book budget. But like I said, your book cover is one of the most important marketing investments you can make, so prioritizing a cover design is never a bad idea.

How to hire an ebook cover designer

If you’ve decided to hire a cover designer, the first time will be the hardest. It’s great to put the time into researching anyone you hire before you do so. Whether that’s editors, cover designers, interior formatters, marketers, etc., you’re trusting someone with your career! It should be a partnership, so choosing the right person and making sure you keep open communication will save you a lot of time and stress later down the road.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind for hiring a designer for your ebook cover:

  1. Make sure you do your research on the designer, read through their testimonials, and see examples of their previous work. Bonus points if you can find testimonials that aren’t directly from the designer’s website. (Try searching their mentions on Twitter, for a starting place in your research.)
  2. Try to get those bundle deals to save yourself money. (That said, look out for tacking on too many of those “extras.” For example, many designers offer add-ons like audiobook covers and the Photoshop file of your design—you don’t need both! It’s easy to format the cover into a square for your audiobook cover if you’re already adding on the Photoshop file.)
  3. Be open and communicative of what you want. While being cordial is a must, your designer can’t read your mind! Practice being clear and direct with your expectations.
  4. If you arrive at a disagreement on something, be sure to hear your designer out on their opinions. After all, you hired a professional because they know more than you! That doesn’t mean rolling over for anything they think is best, but try to keep an open mind and appreciate the expertise you’ve paid for.
  5. If you’re happy with their design job, hire them again! Finding people you love to work with can be difficult in any industry, so keeping connections with people you like to work with can save yourself a lot of grief. It’s a big time investment to find someone new, and repeat customers can sometimes get a discount. That means it makes good business sense to try and find a good designer the first time.
  6. That said, if you’re unhappy with the job they did or the interaction in general, don’t be afraid to shop around for someone else on your next project. The cost-effectiveness of keeping the same designer doesn’t matter if you aren’t happy with their performance. It’s a balancing act.

Next Steps

Hopefully, that’s enough information for you to feel confident in your choice to either hire a cover designer or try it yourself! At Self-Publishing School, we offer in-house book cover design, as well as other done-for-you services. If that’s what you need, book a call with our team and let’s discuss how we can help you.

Self-publishing can feel like a big old game of trial and error, but following expert advice and the tips in this article can help you avoid a lot of the errors.

Find a system that works for you, then follow that process again and again, so you’re not reinventing the wheel with every new book you write. Now, let’s get your current book designed and published!

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Book Cover Design Checklist

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Published.BookBackCover.

Book Back Covers: What You Should Include [Examples Inside]

If the front cover of your book is meant to catch your reader’s attention, the back cover is meant to keep it.

Think about it—the front cover is mostly about showmanship. You’re showing your reader a visual representation of the book to come. When I see a front cover that intrigues me, I immediately turn it over to read the back cover. Why? I’m looking for a pitch. What’s the book about? What’s the reader promising me?

The back cover of your book carries more weight than you might think, and there are a ton of elements that go into making it work well. In this article, we’ll cover what the book back cover is, what it includes, and how you can make your own.

What is the back cover of a book called?

Did you know there are a few different ways to refer to the back cover of a book?

First, there’s the dust jacket. This is the shell that comes with hardcover books—it usually features the book’s cover and the back cover, and readers can remove the dust jacket to reveal the hardcover book itself.

There’s also the back cover, which is called exactly that—the back cover. The front cover is where your cover art goes, and the back cover is on the other side. Easy peasy.

There are also things called ‘blurbs.’ A blurb functions as a sales pitch intended to attract readers. These might be summaries, testimonials, or any number of short descriptors intended to draw in audiences.

BookBackCover

What do you put on the back of a book cover? 

The back cover of your book serves a purpose, just like the front cover does. And while it might not be as important aesthetically, it’s still important to consider each element carefully. Let’s go over a few things you might include on the back cover of your book.

1. Testimonials

A testimonial is a brief statement from another author about how good the book is. You may notice, for example, that a ton of horror novels have blurbs by Stephen King on the front or back cover. They might say something like “this book shook me to my core,” or “truly an unsettling read.” My copy of Hunger by Alma Katsu has a blurb by Stephen King which reads: “Deeply, deeply disturbing.”

A testimonial from a well-known author lends the book some credibility. It also suggests that this book might be in the same vein as books by the author giving the testimonial. If you like Stephen King, maybe you’ll like this book. You’re more likely to read books recommended by a friend, and you’re similarly more likely to read books recommended by an author you already like and trust.

2. Summaries

A summary is a brief description of what happens in a book. On the back cover, this isn’t supposed to be a complete summary of the plot—after all, you don’t want to give away the story. The entire point is to make the reader want to buy the book and read about what happens.

So, what goes into a summary on the back cover of a book? You want a brief synopsis, or pitch, like one you might give to an agent. This will include the premise of your story, the setting, the main characters, and a hint of the conflict to come. You won’t mention how the conflict resolves, or bring up too many specifics—again, you want the reader to find out for themselves.

Think of it as a movie trailer. In a movie trailer, you don’t know what happens in the end. That’s the point. But you’re hooked by the atmosphere, the characters, and the promise of what’s to come. If it’s a trailer for a horror movie, it’s probably going to promise you a scary viewing experience. An action trailer will give you a taste of the car chase sequences to follow.

3. Awards and Other Books

Blurbs might also include mentions of other books the author has written or awards the author has won. This is more common for authors who are already bestsellers, but it’s possible for newbies to do this, too, if they’ve won notable literary prizes before.

This functions similarly to the testimonial. It gives the author, and by extension, the book, some credentials. Ideally, this makes the reader think to themselves: “Well, it must be good. It was a finalist for the National Book Award!” or something along those lines.

If an author is particularly well known for a specific book, this is usually mentioned, too. Someone might not know that the author wrote more than one book, or they might have heard of the more famous book without knowing who wrote it. It’s a reminder that this author has shocked and awed audiences before, and who’s to say they won’t do it again with this book?

4. Author Bio 

Author bios sometimes appear on the inside flap jacket  (especially on dust jackets for hardcover books), but they can also appear on the back cover of a book, especially paperbacks. An author bio is a brief piece of writing about the author. It’s meant to let the reader know a little bit about the person who wrote the book.

Author bios might include information about where the author grew up, where the author currently lives, what hobbies they have, what other books they’ve written, where they went to school, or which book they’re working on next. They’re meant to humanize the author and help them connect to their readers on a more personal level.

How to write an unforgettable blurb

After the front cover, the blurb on the back is arguably the next most important element of your cover. To make sure yours packs a punch, we’ve got a few tips and tricks for you:

1. Keep it short

Blurbs give you a little room to summarize the plot of your novel, but really, these are best kept short. I don’t know about you, but when I come across overlong book blurbs, I sometimes feel like I’ve already been told too much. I want to feel like I’m discovering the story, and having most of it laid out for me in a lengthy blurb disincentivizes me to read the rest. If I have to get through half the book before I find something I don’t already know about, I’m not going to have a great time.

Keeping your blurb as short as possible also forces you to include only the most critical and exciting aspects of your story. This may be difficult to identify since as the author, you’re hopefully excited by all of your story, but here’s the key: focus on the main plotline and hint at the most important subplots.

You also want to keep your language as clear and crisp as possible. This is not the place for passive voice, unnecessary adverbs, or clunky wording. Blurbs should be super streamlined.

2. Don’t give away everything

I talked about this in the previous section, but again, you don’t want to give away too much. Give your reader exactly enough that they know what they’re getting into, but make them read the book to find out anything more.

In other words, you want to hook your reader. Show them an enticing snapshot of the world you’re promising them, but don’t show them so much that they feel like they’ve already seen it.

3. Show off your characters

One common piece of writing advice is to start your story with a character. In other words, on the first page, the reader should be reading about a person—not an info-dump, not a setting description, but a human person. This is because people are drawn to people over almost everything else.

It’s the same idea with your book blurb. Introduce your character as soon as you can, and do your best to make the reader care about them and their plight. If readers are invested in your character, they’ll follow them anywhere—even to the checkout counter to buy your book!

4. Show off your premise/conflict

One surefire way to hook your reader in a blurb is to introduce conflict as soon as possible. Again, think of a movie trailer. We might have a tiny snippet of a character’s life before the conflict hits, but we probably don’t have much—the bulk of the trailer focuses on how cool and exciting the conflict is going to be.

Let your reader know what sort of book they’re about to read. What’s the premise? What are the stakes? Does the main character stand to lose everything, including their last chance at love, if they don’t complete the quest? If it sounds serious, the reader’s more likely to be interested.

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How to design your back cover

The rules for designing your back cover differ from the advice you might get for designing your front cover. The front cover of your book is meant to catch the reader’s eye, give them the title (and maybe a testimonial or two), and showcase the genre and tone of the book.

The back cover is mostly meant to convey information. The purpose is different, which means you’ll need to keep different guidelines in mind.

1. Function over flair

The back cover should be readable, clear, and simple. This isn’t the place for confusing fonts or artistic, difficult-to-read drawings that make the blurb difficult to read. It’s better to have a simple back cover that’s legible over an unstructured, highly stylized back cover that readers can’t actually read.

One way to do this? Use a template for your back cover. Use the same color scheme that’s used in the front cover to make it cohesive, and keep the fonts in the same family. A template will usually do this for you, and it’ll organize the information in a way that’s readable and streamlined.

2. Get a professional opinion

You may not know where to start designing a back cover, and that’s okay! If you don’t have the time to dedicate to making a cover or learning the skills necessary to create one, hiring a professional to design one for you might be the way to go. This will guarantee a polished product, but make sure to do your research and find the right artist for your budget and genre.

3. Look at other books in the same genre

Finally, you’ll want to look at other books in the same genre to get a sense of how your back cover should look. How do they do their layouts? What are their blurbs like? Look for recent releases in your genre for inspiration and guidelines. It’s okay to stand out, but you want to stand out on purpose, not because you don’t know your stuff.

Examples of fiction and nonfiction back book covers

Now that we know how back covers work and how to create a great one, here are two great back covers to use as references.

Nonfiction Example: 

Published: The Proven Path From Blank Page To 10,000 Copies Sold by Chandler Bolt 

Published.BackCover.

What works on this back cover?

  • Broken into easy to read sections
  • Opening question that hooks you as the reader
  • Bullet points of takeaways
  • Closing challenge, “Don’t wait. Read this book and unlock the Author Advantage today.”
  • Short author bio that still shows benefit to the reader

Fiction Example: 

CrystalDreams: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Paradise Lot Novel) by R. E. Vance 

GoneGodWorld.BackCover

What works on this back cover?

  • Interesting image that seems relevant to the genre
  • Opening paragraph that hooks you as the reader
  • A blurb that’s long enough to set up the plot, but short enough to leave you wanting more
  • A sneak-peek at some of the characters and the central conflict

Now that you’re better equipped to create your book’s back cover, it’s time to get started. If you’re ready to take the next step with your book, fill out the form below. Every day, we help authors write, design, and publish their books. We’re ready to help you too.

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Book Cover Design Checklist

Download your FREE book cover design checklist to boost the quality of your book to its very best. Hit the button to claim yours.