Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why Your Writer’s Bio is Valuable Real Estate

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

Neglecting your writer's bio is like planting weeds
on valuable real estate. -Edie Melson
I'm always shocked by the bios I see at the end of articles. 

It's like writers don't realize the importance of those words. 

That space is valuable real estate and so many of you are just growing weeds on it. Today I want to share why your writer's bio is valuable real estate.

What a Bio NOT Supposed to do:
Let me share what a writer’s bio is NOT designed to do. It’s not there to make me want to become your best friend. Sure I want enough info so I know you’re a real person, but my time (and everyone else’s) is in short supple, so don’t make me wade through folksy humor to get to what I need. If I want to get to know you better I’ll look up your blog and follow you on social media.

What a Bio IS Supposed to do:
There are several reasons to take the time to compose an effective writer’s bio.

There are several reasons to have an effective writer's bio.
1. Because people are curious and suspicious. If I’m going to read something online, I at least want to know who wrote it. I’m leery of articles that don’t have an author. Is it computer generated (yes they can do that), is it stolen (happens all the time), is the author ashamed of having written it?

2. Because I may like what you have to say and want to read more. If what you’ve written resonates with me, I’m going to want to go deeper. No bio either means a dead-end (if I’m busy) or a lot of extra sleuthing on the Internet. Trust me when I say this, a lot of you are NOT easy to find—but that’s another post.

3. Because I want to share the post through social media. I know I CAN share it even if there’s no bio or attribution, but then my followers run into #1 and #2 above . . . and they complain to me. I’ve worked hard to build a strong online community, so I refuse to send out things that will knowingly frustrate them.

What You Have to Have
Effective bios ALWAYS include links.
1. Links. You want to be found, by readers, by friends, by other writers. That’s hard to do when you don’t at least leave us a trail of breadcrumbs. Here are the links you need: 
  • Blog/website
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Any other relevant social media links

2. A sentence or two about your credibility. For me it’s a quick line about how long I’ve been in the industry and how many books I have.

That’s it. You probably thought you needed all sorts of things, but you don’t. Now you’re probably wondering how you organize all this information and I’ve got you covered there, too.

Compose Your Bio:
It’s important to remember a bio isn’t a resume. It’s not necessary to include information that isn’t relevant to what you’re writing. So the first thing is . . .

1. Keep it Relevant: For example, if you’re not writing about how to sell something, it isn’t important to mention your job 15 years ago as an outside sales person. Think relevant when you’re composing your bio.

2. Organize it with the important stuff up front. I know our families are important to us, that’s not what I mean. This is a business and although I’m happy to learn you have a successful marriage, that’s not the first thing I need to know. So start with your credibility, then move into how I find you and your books.

3. Include EMBEDDED hyperlinks when you send a bio to someone else to post. Don’t type out the full URLs, but actually embed the link to the words BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK, as well as any others that are relevant. The reason you want to have the words already linked is because of the word count guidelines you’ll run into. You don’t want to waste your word count on a hyperlink—especially if you only have 20-25 words.

How Many Bios Do I Really Need?
In a word, several. Depending on the guidelines of where you’re submitting it could be as small as 20-25 words or as long as several paragraphs. I try to keep several CURRENT versions of my bio in a file, easy to access.

I think you get the picture, and now it’s your turn. What questions do you have about a writer’s bio? Share them in the comments section below.

Don’t forget to join the conversation!


Are you treating your writer’s bio like a resume? What should & shouldn’t be included – @EdieMelson(Click to Tweet)


  1. Interesting post.I found especially useful the tip about embedded hyperlinks. Thanks.

    1. Peter, I'm glad. Thanks so much for dropping by, Blessings, #

  2. Yikes! I think I've violated several of these. Back to the drawing board!

  3. Thanks so much for yet another helpful post, Edie! You are a blessing. :)

    Here's a question I have, being rather non-techie--what is the best way to embed hyperlinks without typing out the web address, e.g. on a Word document? I'm afraid I only know how to do it on a Wordpress blog post with the special link button! Thanks again and blessings. :)

    1. Kiersti, in a Word doc, highlight the phrase/word and click on Insert. You'll find an option in the pop up menu that appears to INSERT A HYPERLINK. I hope this helps! Blessings, E

  4. Edie, good advice. One of the hardest things for an author to do is "toot their own horn." When you read the bios in the program of a play, do you realize the actors write them? How would it look if they failed to include their accomplishments? Like it or not, one of our jobs as writers is letting others know who we are and where our talents lie. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Good post about keeping it relevant and useful.
    I also have a document with several versions of my bio – unfortunately this grew and grew and I once mistakenly sent the whole four pages to a potential publisher. Fortunately they had a sense of humour1

  6. What if you are doing something you haven't done before (writing a romance) and you don't have a credential about it to your name? Where do you get your credibility?

  7. I don't think I've ever seen a post on this subject. As an author, I'm doing more and more guest posts. I can see my bios need some re-working.

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  9. Good post about keeping it relevant and useful.

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