Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tips for Writing an Author's Biography

Why is having an author's bio important?
A bio is a short summary of your writing career, passions, training, personal accomplishments and credentials.  The information it contains is similar to the contents of your resume, only in sentence form. It is increasingly important for all authors to have a short bio written up as it can serve many purposes. A bio is a short version of your professional life and can be used to accompany many different types of works including your blog posts, books and press releases. It summarizes your ambitions and life works and gives the reader a short synopsis of your passions and career highlights and abilities. It’s a quick way for others to get a glimpse of who you really are. An author's bio gives a reader, blogger, or media reporter a quick glimpse at your accomplishments as an author.

What should an author's bio contain?
When writing a bio it is important to keep it short and simple. Think of it as if you are summing up your life’s work in a few short sentences. This means you want to hit just the highlights and most notable accomplishments.  A well structured bio should contain your credentials, both formal and informal; your specific area(s) of expertise, and any recognitions or accomplishments that are notable. For example, you can list any of your works that have been published, writer's awards you've received or if your writings have been included in an anthology or collection. By sharing your expertise you demonstrate your leadership ability in your particular field and by highlighting your accomplishments you establish a rapport and a certain level of trust with the media or reader.

What are the mechanics of writing an author's bio?
Any bio should include the author's name in the first sentence so that the reader knows exactly what they are reading. Think of it as if you are introducing yourself to the reader. In order to make a bio sound like it is written objectively, they are written in third person. Instead of saying, “I live in Spain and I speak four languages” you might say, “Jean lives in Spain and she is fluent in four languages.” Although it is a professional write up it is acceptable to add some personality by including something interesting that is unrelated, but you think others might care about such as hobbies or interests. This can give a bio a little bit more of a personal touch and let the reader see you as a “real” person. The bio should include your contact information with a link to your email or social media site. 

Do authors need more than one bio?
It is a good idea to have three different author bios of varying lengths. A micro, short and long bio can all serve different purposes for the author. Various professionals may request different lengths so it is a good idea to have all three lengths on hand. A micro bio is usually just one sentence which encapsulates your professional profile. This may be perfect to put on your author's profile on social media or professional sites such as LinkedIn.  A short bio is usually only about one paragraph in length and covers all the essentials; this should be approximately 100 words. Think of it like your opportunity to make a good first impression. A longer bio is up to a page in length and sums up your professional life completely. This might be included in the flap of your print books or e-books to let your readers know more about you and your works.