A blog about writing and all things story…
We all know how difficult it is to write succinctly about ourselves. Seems crazy, I know. After all, we’re writers, right? How hard can it be? But it is. For me it ranks right up there with query and synopsis writing. And when I say ‘up there’ that doesn’t imply heavenly.
But, like queries and synopsis, they are vital to our author survival. Here are a few tips and then a sample of my all time favorite bio from one of my favorite writing buddies, Jerry Jaz who can say what he says in his bio and be completely assured he is UNIQUE, and I should mention that it’s all true.
First, write your bio in first person for query letters, but third person for almost everything else like book proposals, book jackets, article bylines and so on.
Second, convey professionalism, writing style and personality, but not too much. This is where craft and common sense come into play. If you don’t have those two things, go find them.
Establish credibility, but do it quickly. Briefly include what makes you interesting (be truthful), why people connect with you, how you connect with them; Facebook Fan Page, Popular Tweets on Twitter, u-Tube, etc. Don’t add too much resume info, it gets boring fast, only add what’s relevant to your book, blog, article or whatever you’re current project is. Which brings me to our next point,
Know your audience. Carefully consider who will be reading the bio, and adjust and edit your bio for each unique purpose; make it relevant. Is your audience, agents and editors, magazine readers, blog readers, book readers, or your mom? Adjust it to meet their expectations (good luck living up to mom’s).
Where to start? Make a list of things people say about you (Nice things) and then add to that list things you may want to say about yourself. Then edit that list down to some bullet points that stand out.
Read bios on several books and make notes on what you like and don’t like. Check out this site at BIBLIO for hundreds of author bios.
Write a minimum of three different bios; short (1 paragraph), long (1 page) and abbreviated (1-2 sentences). If you work in multiply fields like magazine writing, blog entries, or books, you’ll need these varying sizes for the specific publications. Have them on hand and at the ready. Read this Create Space article on types of bios.
Finally, have someone else read your bio. Not your mother, unless she’s a ruthless agent/editor type person, in which case, good luck again.
Now on to Jerry Jaz and one of my favorite author bio’s.
Jerry Jaz coordinates the Louisa’s writers group for Robert Ray and Jack Remick. He is a nationally certified Sustainable Building Advisor, an Accredited Practitioner with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), and the founder of WritingPractice.com (free tools to maintain or establish writing practice for groups). In a past life he was awarded best weekly column in a daily newspaper and successfully re-wrote part of the Nevada state constitution (to tax inmates) as he served almost 11 years for kidnapping and attempted bank robbery. Think twice before you accept his offer for a ride home.
Why do you think Jerry’s author bio works?
Author, Editor, Speaker, Storytelling Coach, Writing Instructor, and Director of The Outlaw's Journey Prison Writing Project
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