How to Write Your Author Bio
Whether you’re just starting to send your first bits of writing out to magazines or you’re a seasoned pro, a solid author bio is one piece of writing you want to have nailed.
If a publisher, journal or website editor decides they love your work and want to feature it, there’s a good chance they’ll want to include a little information about you too. Sure, they could research and write it themselves, but when they’re dealing with tons of writers every week, that’s the sort of time investment they just might not have. And that’s exactly when, and why, they’re likely to come to you looking for an author bio.
Your bio is nothing to be squeamish about
Writing about yourself can feel very tricky – and some authors will do anything they can to avoid it – but your bio is nothing to be squeamish about. Here are a few top tips to help!
Write in the third person
Ok, we all know that you’re the one writing this little history of your career, but because this bio will be displayed elsewhere (or read out by a compere at live events!) it’s best written in third person. This also makes your bio sound more professional – and even more trustworthy. So rather than, ‘I’ve published stories in…’ go for ‘Adora Book has published stories…’
Don't include an extended life story
It’s great to start with a little bit of context – where you’re from, where you live, what other jobs you do – but the most important thing here is to talk about yourself as a writer. Keep your background brief, one or two lines at most, then get into details about what you’ve been up to, writing wise. Don’t be worried if you’re just starting out, just put the focus on how much you enjoy writing in the space you’ll later be listing your publications.
Don’t be shy about your achievements
Don’t let yourself be shy
This is a place for you to let people know what you’ve been up to – so don’t let yourself be shy. List publications, prizes and projects and anything you’ve been doing that potential readers or publishers might be interested in. Be sure to come back to this every once in a while, so you can update your bio with your most recent happenings.
Go for long, short and shorter
You’ll quickly find that while most people want an author bio, not everyone wants one that’s the same length. When you write your bio, be sure to write an extended version, around 150 words, a shorter one, 100 words, and an even shorter one, 50 words. That way, you should have something to fit the bill no matter what.
Add your own spin or hook
The best bios make readers want to find out more about the writer, so think about what makes you unique and add it in. Maybe you once had a job as a horse tamer or you’ve broken the world knitting record. Or maybe you’re just really passionate about making jam in the summer! If your unique point is in some way related to your writing, great, but even if it isn’t, it’s nice to add a personal touch. That said, one or two hooks are enough – don’t be tempted to overegg the pudding.
Getting a submission ready to send out? Our tips for writing a smart synopsis might be the perfect post to add to your reading list.
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