Friday, March 12, 2021

How to Write Your Author Bio


by Edie Melson @EdieMelson 

It doesn't matter whether you're multi-published, just starting out or working as a freelance writer. Every writer needs a bio. And just like writing a query letter, a proposal, or a synopsis—writing a bio is something almost every writer struggles with. So today I'm going to share some basics and show you how to write your author bio.

 
I said you need A bio, but actually, you need three.
  • A small one, 25-50 words
  • A medium length one, approximately two paragraphs
  • A full page one, in depth
Many times this written bio is the first introduction someone in this business (think editor or event coordinator) or a consumer (reader or attendee) will have of you. This, with your message, can mean the difference between making the sale or not.

Your bio should reflect, through words, exactly who you are. It should boil down the essence of your personality. It should always be written in third person, as if you were talking about someone else.

A bio must be
  • Relevant
It must give you
  • Personality
  • Credibility
Below are some (not all) of the instances where a bio will be necessary.
  • Cover letter (to an editor, agent or event coordinator)
  • Book Proposal
  • Query Letter
  • Your website
  • Social Media
  • Inside your book or on the jacket
  • Publicity for a personal appearance 
  • In a publication (web or print) after an article
It’s important that you have control over your bio. Which means planning now. It will, in effect, be a part of your personal brand. It gives you credibility, whether you are speaking or writing. As such it should contain only things pertaining to your credibility and identity. For example, if you’re not speaking on sales, it isn’t important to mention your job 15 years ago as an outside sales person. Think relevant when you’re composing your bio.

Here are some steps to help you write an engaging author bio:

Step One—ask yourself a few questions.
  • What are some of my passions?
  • Why am I pursuing this craft of writing and/or speaking?
  • What value do I present my audience?
  • What are some of my strengths?
  • What impression do I leave with most people?
Don’t worry about sounding like an egomaniac when you answer, no one but you will see your rough draft. After answering those questions, try to come up with a one-sentence statement about yourself. Use active verbs and vivid adjectives.

Step Two—more questions.
  • What is my experience in this field?
  • What experience(s) in other fields are relevant to this field?
  • What aspects of my personality give me credibility?
  • What study(s) give me credibility?
  • What life experience gives me credibility?
Step Three—get the order right.
Now begin to put the above information in order of importance. This isn’t the time to build up to the point. Think about who the bio is for and put the information that is most important for them to know FIRST. 

Step Four—flesh it out.
Build a word pool. From the questions above you’ll begin to see a trend. Use it. Amplify it by trading on words that bring your essence to mind.

Step Five – wrap it up.
Put it all together. It’s time to assemble the information you’ve gathered into your full-page bio. If you’re having problems pulling it together, this is the time to get some feedback from close friends.

Step Six - refine it. 
Now that you have your full-page bio it’s time to sift through it and boil it down, first reduce it two paragraphs (try to keep it at no more than 200 words). Then cut it further to 25-50 words.

To help you, I've created a bio worksheet. I'm going to share it with you here as a PDF download:
Now it's your turn. Post your short bio in the comments section below and let's get to know one another better! (My bio is at the end of this post, so I've gone first!)

Don't Forget to join the conversation!
Blessings,
Edie

TWEETABLE

Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. No matter whether she’s talking to writers, entrepreneurs, or readers, her first advice is always “Find your voice, live your story.” As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.Connect with her on her
 website, through FacebookTwitter and on Instagram.

24 comments:

  1. This is timely as a member of a writer's group I'm in is in the process of writing his. Thanks! I shared the link.

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  2. Edie,

    Thank you for the detailed examples and including a template for each of us. Every writer needs to work on their author bio. It has many uses--as I know from my years in publishing. It's important to have them ready so you can use these bios when needed.

    Terry
    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

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    1. Terry, thank you for reinforcing the need for every author/writer! Blessings, E

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    2. Edie, Thank you for all the tips and Mr. Whalen, I just finished reading your book (my second time through) in preparation for an appointment with an agent. I don't think I could do this without both of your tips!

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  3. Thank you for the great info, Edie. The worksheet is super-handy, and I've downloaded and saved it! We appreciate your wealth of writing knowledge and love that you so willingly share your journey with others! Blessings!

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  4. Love the template. So helpful. I'm inspired to recreate!

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    1. Julie, I'm so glad you found it helpful! Blessings, E

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  5. Thank you Edie, I will share this with my critique group. Also like how your bio is approachable, like someone you would like to know.

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    1. Lisa, thank you for your encouragement and for sharing! Blessings, E

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  6. Thanks Edie. Difficult to come up with a good short bio in :10 mins, but a good exercise for the weekend. Maybe I'll post it in a few days. :)

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    1. You are right, it is! Share when you can! Blessings, E

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  7. Thanks so much. I’ll save this and use it to evaluate bios I have already.

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  8. Thank you Edie for this relevant article. I revamped my bio accordingly. 👍🏻

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  9. I appreciate this helpful post about writing a bio. Thank you for a very practical progression of the how to.

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  10. Thank you for this wonderful information. :-)

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    1. Melissa, thank you for dropping by! Blessings, E

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  11. You always give such helpful information, Edie. Thank you!

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  12. Hi Edie,

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m in the process of rebranding, and re-identifying my writing. As always, this gives me enough to stop staring at my biography task and actually writing it! I miss you so much!

    Blessings,
    Laurie Bower

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    1. Laurie, I'm happy this came at a good time! I miss you too! Blessings, E

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