Although you’re a good writer and generally you know your way around words, it is surprisingly difficult to write a good bio for your work. Of course there are many ways to go about it and you will find yourself writing the bio over and over again to get the right one, but it is important to have at least a few pointers on how to go about it.
There are many websites that tell you how to write an author’s bio and many of them are quite useful, but there is no condensed version; no quick reference guide. It is therefore that this blog has put together some useful tips for you to follow.
The first thing that you need to do is get all your ducks in a row. Gather your thoughts and make sure what it is that you want the reader to know. Important information like previous publications, awards and future work should be included. You can also mention accolades for your work by major newspapers, websites etc. The point is to impress the reader and get them to like you and your work.
Once you’ve got all your information together, the following tips will prove to be very helpful:
- Write you bio in first person for query letters; third person for most other purposes including proposals, book jackets, article bylines etc.
- It is important to look and sound professional at all times. That way you will gain respect and credibility. However, it is YOUR bio, so you must also try and convey some of your personality in the bio.
- What else gives you credibility? This could be membership of writer’s societies, interest groups etc.
- If you’re on a social networking system (e.g. Facebook , Twitter etc.) what gives you the most hits or comments? This will indicate to you what information your readers will want.
- If you haven’t published anything before, the above still applies. You can start with writing competitions that you’ve won and other writing activities that you’ve participated in.
- Mention any writer’s associations that you may be a member of. This will go a long way to establish your credibility.
- Don’t write a resume. A bio is a short, compact summary of your skills and your personality. If you find that you’re having difficulty keeping it short, ask an editor to help you cut it down.
When writing your bio, you need to consider your audience. Who are going to be your readers? Are they blog readers? Is this bio for a book jacket? What exactly do you want to achieve with your bio.
Once you’re done, get somebody to read the bio and make some comments on it. Here a professional editor always comes in handy. If it is somebody who knows you well, they may be able to shed some light on some of your hidden talents or even highlight your expertise in a certain type of writing. This is important information for your readers to know.
The bio’s presentation needs to be very professional and classy. Try not to embellish your bio with too much background color, pictures etc. Keep it really simple and usually go for a more classic look. Should the publisher feel that it is necessary to color your bio with background pictures etc. they will ask their art department to put something together.
If the bio is going onto a website or a blog, you don’t want to make it difficult to download or read. This is another reason for keeping the bio simple and uncomplicated, as well as short.
An author’s bio is a very important marketing tool and you should therefore take every care to write a short, compelling, yet truthful biography for your readers.