You’ve written a terrific book. It’s been edited, re-written, edited and re-written, uh, a zillion times? Even the dreaded synopsis and/or jacket copy is completed. The cover art is inspired. Whew, done. Ready to publish. Nah.
Never forget the author bio.
Why is it so important? If you pick up a book about cellular biology, would you want the author to be an attorney? Likewise, if you pick up a legal thriller, would you care if the author was a biologist? I would.
Credentials are important. Certainly, in writing non-fiction but even in fiction. The history should be authentic, the science should be legit. Unless, of course, it’s sci-fi. Then you’re forgiven for creating a whole new universe. Although, lots of science fiction has real science in it. Maybe. Check the author’s bio.
Don’t underestimate your readers.
They will have a basic knowledge of the time period in which you set your books. If you err often, i.e.: set your historical fiction in the Civil War and write about newspaper articles that include photographs, you haven’t done your homework.
The Internet will provide you with a lot of information to fill out your knowledge, however, there is no substitute for actually working in the field you write about. As a science museum director, I had opportunities to work with forensics through our exhibit and education programs. I’m familiar with DNA processes, blood spatter, trace, ballistics, etc. As a mystery writer, this is helpful in creating true crime scenarios.
The reader only knows this through the author bio. So, brag a little — little being the operative word. Keep the bio short, with key points up front. Brag about your credentials, and your past literary achievements. Winning writing awards definitely adds to your credibility.
If appropriate, try to convey your sense of humor, voice, and writing style in your biography. Don’t get too cutesy. Be yourself.
Finally, have someone beside yourself read and critique it. The author bio is a critical piece of your submission, whether it is placed on the back cover or inside back cover. You want the reader to know that you are the best person to write this book. You are, right?