About Writing Author Bios
Ask a writer to compose a few paragraphs summarizing a person, an organization, or an idea and they’ll complete that for you in no time flat. Ask them to write their bio in the same amount of time and it may be hours before they finish that assignment, if they ever do. Most writers don’t like to write their own bios. But, unless you plan to publish your work anonymously, you’re going to need a bio. In fact, you are going to need several. Here’s a few tips on writing an impressive bio.
The most important thing in crafting a bio (or any other writing project) is to know your reader. Your audience should determine whether you write your bio in first person or in third person. For personal interaction purposes like query letters or your website, first person bios are best. For magazines, proposals, book jackets, etc., write your bio in third person.
Here’s a simple formula for writing a bio. Identify yourself. If you have a tagline, include it in your first sentence. Then, state your purpose and/or what you write. Follow that with your credentials. For new writers with no publishing credits, include your memberships and associations. Finish up with your contact information or website.
Bios need to be short, clear and interesting to the reader. The shorter your bio the more people will read it. If you’ve crafted a few interesting sentences for your bio, people will want to know more about you. But, if you’ve filled your bio with fluff or lots of descriptive adjectives that are meant to impress, you run the danger of turning off your audience. Not good.
After you’ve crafted your bio, keep it fresh. Give it an expiration date on your calendar. Rewrite it often. Your life changes and so should your bio. Remember that the more you work on writing a clear, interesting bio, the better you’ll get at it.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Bios serve as a first impression of an author. It’s been said that impressive people have short bios. And while it is true that the shorter the better, there are situations a longer bio is acceptable. Your blog or your About page is the perfect place to include a more detailed description of you, your work and your personal life.
One more thing about bios. Remember that your bio is not what your reader will purchase in the bookstore, it’s your book. Your byline is not why magazine readers purchase magazines, it’s the article your wrote. And your bio is not what will sell your book to agent, editor or publisher. But it does help. So, while bios are important, your writing is much more important.