How’s Your Amazon Bio? Can it sell books by the truckload?
Today’s guest post is an excerpt from How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition by Penny Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, a cutting edge book marketing firm.
By Penny Sansevieri
Since I first published How to Sell Books By the Truckload back in 2017, so much about Amazon has changed that this book not only requires yearly updates—it demands it. In 2021, things are trickier than ever. As you’ll see, when it comes to Amazon, everything you do matters. This is why the content of this book has become so crucial.
It’s not an understatement to say that Amazon has changed everything about book publishing and promotion. It seems like every time Amazon introduces something, the competition jumps on the bandwagon and creates similar products or experiences on their sites.
The new edition of my book includes a number of strategies – large and small – that can work together to create a successful life for your books on Amazon. Today, I’m going to focus on one of the most basic components of your Amazon presence: your author bio.
Authors often don’t spend enough time crafting their bios. Most of them write up a quick “about me” to satisfy the basic requirements and never give it a second thought. I often see authors treat their bio like a resume, and risk boring readers to death, or they treat it like a throw-away and totally miss that it makes them look not only less interesting, but less interested in their own work and how they’re coming across to readers.
Have I hit a nerve? Good!
Unless you tell me that you know for a fact your bio is helping turn more browsers into buyers, I know for a fact I can help you make it better!
Start with an Outline and All Book Tie-Ins
Before you begin, create a list or an outline of everything you’ve done related to the book. This can include life experiences, personal motivations, passion projects, research, past work in a related industry, accreditations, lectures and classes you’ve conducted, other books you’ve written, and awards you’ve won. You may want to include some of these elements, but not all of them. The rest of these bullets will help you determine which to include.
But It’s Not Really About You
Remember that while we start out by focusing on you and your achievements, this bio actually isn’t about you. It’s about your reader and knowing what your prospective audience is looking for, what interests them, what catches their attention, and most importantly, what speaks to their needs.
Write in Third Person
When it comes to writing a bio, never use words like “I” and “me” because a bio written in the first person can make for an awkward read, especially when running through your accomplishments. There are other options for getting personal, don’t worry!
Show the Reader Your Expertise without the Ego
When it comes to the credible portion of the bio you are creating or reworking, this may seem tricky. But remember, this is where the importance of your initial work comes in. How long have you been writing? Did you utilize any special techniques or resources in this book?
Add Keyword Strings Particular to Amazon
Keyword strings matter greatly on Amazon. If you’ve already done your keyword string research, work some into your Amazon bio if you can keep it natural. Don’t cram your bio full of keywords just for the sake of having them there.
Why does this matter? Amazon is a search engine. Like a search engine, Amazon will “spider” or “crawl” our book page for keyword strings, so make sure at least one or two of the ones you’ve found are in your bio, but don’t overdo it because you’ll get dinged by readers for being inauthentic.
Be Personal (if Appropriate)
There’s a time and a place to include personal information in your bio. Memoir, of course, self-help, genres where your connection to the topic is crucial. But fiction authors can also get personal in a creative way because your personality says a lot about your brand.
The key is finding the right balance. For example, if you write paranormal fantasy, the fact that you coach your daughter’s softball team may sound endearing, but it doesn’t fit your genre. Though if you’ve always had a fascination with mythology and history, and it fuels your stories, that’s great insight into who you are.
Be Funny (if Appropriate)
Be like what you wrote about. That means if your book is funny, then be funny. If your book isn’t, save the jokes for your next Zoom gathering.
Short Is the New Long
The days of bios that rival the length of your book are gone. Keep it short, because while people do care who wrote the book, they don’t care enough to read paragraph upon paragraph about you. Save the long one for your website, the foundation of your infrastructure, and where readers will go when they want to learn even more about you!
Include a Call to Action & How Readers Can Find You
Do you want your readers to take any action besides buying your book? Are you giving something away on your website? Do you want readers to join your exclusive reader group or your newsletter? Then mention it in your bio. Don’t forget to add your website address so they can find you.
Customize Your Amazon Bio & Change It Up
Your life isn’t static, and your bio shouldn’t be either! Is there something going on in the world that ties into your book? Mention it! You should also modify your bio when you win awards, get more mentions, or get some fab new reviews.
For example, “The New York Times calls this book ‘groundbreaking…’” is a review quote you could easily add at the end of your bio for a strong finish. An upcoming release or mention of your other work is also another great reason to tweak it a bit.
Find reasons to change up your bio! You can do it as often as you want, and don’t forget the algorithms notice and respond when a book page is updated.
If you’re reading this and you’re with a traditional publisher, you may be thinking, “They won’t let me change my bio!” Trust me, you don’t need your publisher to make changes. Just do it on your Amazon Author Central dashboard and—voilà—done and done.
Your bio should be a fluid extension of your author brand, so include a reminder to check it out and see what you can regularly update as part of your monthly book marketing plan. This may seem like a lot, but it serves another purpose: it gets your eyes on your entire book page, and once you’re there, you will hopefully be inspired to cast a critical eye on other areas and make updates that could help drive more sales.
Great book marketing builds upon itself! Check out more strategies, including all kinds of fun facts and approaches to muscle up your Amazon Ads, in How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition.
by Penny Sansevieri, (@BookGal) March 7, 2021
What about you, scriveners? When did you last update your Amazon bio? (Anne scurries off to Amazon to put some keywords in her bio.) Pre-published authors: have you prepared bios for all the venues where you’ll need them? There’s no time like the present! For more on author bios, see Nate Hoffelder’s post on the 7 Bios Authors Need and Anne’s post on How to Write an Author Bio.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the “leading guide to everything Internet.” Her next book From Book to Bestseller is due out in Spring 2021.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.
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