How to write a powerful “About the Author” page: Sonya Matejko tells all

Engage readers with a better-than-average website about page. Here's how to write a powerful "About the Author" page that creates fans.

When visiting a website to learn more about an author, expert, or entrepreneur, the first thing I look for is the “About” page. I need to know quickly what the person does, how qualified they are to do it, and how they express themselves.

About half the time, there’s no information on qualifications (this is especially true with companies selling services to authors). I get the impression that people like to talk a lot about what they do, but not why we should trust them to do it for us.

But even when those essential trust-building qualifications are included, so many of the About sections I read are dry and boring. They lack personality. They don’t draw me in.

Help readers discover the real you

I want your all-important “About” page to communicate exactly what it should to your target readers. I want you to pull them in with your words. I want you to discover how to write a powerful “About the Author” page so readers want to engage with you.

That’s why I asked writer and content strategist Sonya Matejko to share with us the About page advice she offers her clients.

Introducing Sonya Matejko

Sonya Matejko guest post headshotFreelance writer and Vienna, Austria, resident Sonya Matejko uses words to make people feel seen and heard. Whether through branded content, a founder’s bio, a reported story, or her poetry, Sonya writes because she believes well-written stories have the power to empower and connect us, and to help us grow.

Sonya is also the founder of Nurtured Narratives, a wellness-focused storytelling company. There, she provides a feel-good storytelling experience for brands, entrepreneurs, and others who value well-being.

Here’s our conversation about how to write an “About the Author” page that sizzles and sings.

How to write a powerful “About the Author” page

Why is an “About” page an important component of an author website?

Put yourself in the shoes of a reader. Imagine you are between two non-fiction books about improving self-confidence with equally good reviews.

Certain that both could give you valuable insight, you go to the authors’ websites to see whose insight you are more likely to resonate with. The first About page confirms what you suspected: the author indeed has credibility (previous books) and knowledge (related certification). Check.

But then you go to the second About page. As you learn more about them, you realize you want to learn from them.

Their story doesn’t just offer credibility. It offers relatability. And they become not just an author you’d like to hear giving a talk but one you’d want to talk with over coffee.

This is the power of an About page on an author’s website.

What’s your About page philosophy?

My philosophy centers on feel-good storytelling, and the same applies to About pages.

Consider the question: How do you want your potential reader to feel about you as an author? Do you want them to feel:

  • Like you both look at life in a similar way?
  • Like they can trust you based on your experiences?
  • Inspired by your perspective?
  • Empowered by your way of thinking?

This could be the difference between having a one-time reader and having a reader on your email list, first in line for pre-orders, and following you on social media — because it feels good to them to be a part of your community.

What are the most common mistakes individuals make with their About page content?

The most common mistake is leaving much to be desired.

It’s not enough to have an About page with your bio and headshot to check the box of having one.

Imagine the frustration from a reader who’s already read your bio in the book or on Goodreads, and then they get to your About page to learn more and are hit with the exact same content. It feels like a waste of time for them — and a wasted opportunity for you to build loyalty and connection with a reader.

It’s totally understandable if the idea of adding more to yours is overwhelming. So, start small.

Consider the questions you often get from readers. They might come from Instagram DMs, book signings, email  messages, or even via your aunt at family gatherings. Write down three, then include those answers in your About page narrative or in an FAQ.

What are the most important elements of an “About the Author” page?

Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, the most essential elements on your About page include:

  • Who you are
  • What you write about
  • What makes you credible to write about this
  • Why you do all of it

Especially for nonfiction, you want to show people that you have a solid foundation of knowledge to lend to the topic. They need to know that you’re more than just someone who’s read a few studies and developed their own theory over coffee.

But then you also want to include your why; this will be the hook. The other elements are check marks so the reader says, “OK, they know what they’re talking about.”

But then the why is the “OK, I want to be a part of this conversation.”

Here’s a great example from Whitney Goodman, the author of Toxic Positivity. You see, she goes through her bio, training, and press features.

But then she has a section called “I Believe,” and this is the section that intrigues me most. It’s just four lines, but it’s these four lines that, if someone on the page believes them too, lands her a new reader.

Other good examples in nonfiction include Mark Manson, Lori Gottlieb, Vivian Tu, Kevin Wilson, and Susan Cain.

How can authors write an About page self-description that stands out and resonates with their target readers?

For nonfiction authors, chances are you will not be the first author to write about your topic of choice. Even if how you look at it is different, there have most likely been books related to the umbrella topic that have been published before yours.

Of course, the reason your book will succeed is not because of the topic. It will be because of how you talk about it and the unique experiences in your life that have shaped that perspective. This is also why readers will choose your book over another on a similar topic.

Stand out by telling readers how you see the world, what shaped that sight, and why you feel compelled to share what you know with the world. Many people can write about healthy eating, but none share your story about what got you into it.

When writing your About page, stand out by telling readers how you see the world, what shaped that sight, and why you feel compelled to share what you know with the world. ~Sonya MatejkoClick to tweet

Don’t just tell a story. Tell your story.

(And P.S. it doesn’t have to be long! See this short but solid example from Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu Iyamah.)

A fiction writer usually needs to approach their About page description differently than a nonfiction writer. What one thing do you think is the most important thing to include on a novelist’s About page?

Fiction differs in that readers are more likely to make an initial choice about a book based on their preferred genre, the storyline, the setting, etc., rather than on the author. However, that doesn’t discount the value of having an About page for fiction authors.

That’s because once readers get hooked on a book, a series, or an author’s writing style, they’ll often want to know more — especially before the author’s next book. The Author page can satisfy that need.

Lisa See’s About page is a great example. She not only has her bio, but she also showcases insights into where she finds inspiration for her books. Plus we learn more about what led her to become the author she is today.

As another example, consider Kristin Hannah. Her About is divided into sections, each meeting a varying interest for a reader with things like her favorite books and fun facts about her.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about how to write a powerful “About the Author” page?

Writing what you know is one thing, but writing about yourself is another. So, if you’re sure of the story in your book but unsure of your story as an author, you’re not alone.

And I’d love to help you get sure. I’m open to connecting with you to help you access clarity around your story and write an About the Author page that’ll tug at the heartstrings of your future readers. Get in touch with me if that sounds appealing.

Do you have an “About” page on your author site? Please share the link in a comment so we can admire it! (You can see mine here.)

Like what you’re reading? Get it delivered to your inbox every week by subscribing to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter. You’ll also get my free “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources” cheat sheet immediately!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *