June 27, 2016

The thing that surprised me most as a DIY Publisher were all the things I had to do myself.

Of course, once you start to connect your book to different outlets, it’s obvious. But it’s so easy to overlook things on the sideline. Like your book synopsis and author bio.

Author Bio

Author bios are tricky things. First person is more casual and relatable. Third person is more professional. Writing about yourself in the third person can feel odd because you’re taking on the voice of someone else talking about you.

I found it best to start with 3 – 5 things to highlight.

Do you want to focus on your career? Or education? Interesting hobbies? Do you want to share information about your family, pets or where you live?

Once you’ve got a few things you want to highlight, put your fabulous writing skills to work and put them in a paragraph or two. A little humor is a good idea. As well as being relaxed or fun even with a third person bio. Then have a friend read it and give you some feedback until you’ve got a bio you’re comfortable with.

Add your bio to:

Synopsis

The synopsis is a bit trickier. You want to entice the reader. But if you give too much away then they don’t need to read the book to know what happens. Or you’ve made your own work predictable.

A good synopsis is a little like a movie trailer. You want to give the audience something they find interesting (a sorcerer prince, a spy ring, a heroine who must succeed against all odds). You want to give them enough of the world that they know what they’re getting into. And you want to evoke more questions than you answer.

One of my favorite movie trailers is the teaser for Legends of the Fall (the fabulous music is from the Last of the Mohicans score). It’s great at evoking emotion, showing you the world of the story and leaving you with plenty of questions.

How you do that for your book is the key.

In my experience a synopsis requires a few tries, at least. Like the bio you want to start with a handful of things (plot points, story themes, character introductions) to include. You want to play with how to arrange them in a paragraph or two that gives the reader an overview of what your story is about without giving too much away. And you want to use the most evocative language possible. Great verbs and stunning adjectives in a writing style that matches the tone of your book.

One great way to construct both an author bio or a synopsis is to study great examples. Do you have any examples of a great author bio or book synopsis? A favorite movie trailer? Or am I the only one with a top 5 list of favorite movie trailers?


Check out the entire DIY Publishing series.

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