The Author Bio | The Power of 12 Short Stories

You’ve written the book. You’ve written the blurb, but you haven’t written the author bio.

This is the third post in the Prompt to Publication | The Power of 12 Short Stories series. Read the first and second posts here. The Prompt to Publication series is about the Power of 12 Short Stories and how you can use it to build your author platform.

We saw how our writers have used their short stories to create brands and publish books, but there is more to an author platform than just writing to your heart’s content.

The Author Bio

It’s one thing to write about your book, but to write about yourself rarely comes easily to any writer. It’s my personal kryptonite.

Writers are tasked with writing many things besides just their books. The bio is an important part of your author platform and will be requested by every website, book reviewer, PR person, and marketer who is involved with your book.

What is an author bio?

An author bio is a short paragraph that tells the reader a little more about you. It is an important promotional tool and allows your readers a little glimpse into your world.

Non-fiction vs fiction writers

In the previous post, I mentioned that it seems easier to write for a non-fiction website, and the same goes for the bio, at least that is what I think. For example, you wrote a book about exotic mushrooms because you are an exotic mushroom expert and have a PhD all about exotic mushrooms. For a fiction writer, well, we make stuff up and apparently your bio has to be fact-based. Darn it.

Let’s look at some guidelines for your author bio

Viewpoint:

You should write in the third person. It’s tempting to write in the first person, because well, a bio is about you, but it isn’t really. It is about the reader and what they need to know about you.

Formality:

Depends on the situation. If you are writing about academic matters for an academic audience, your bio will be more formal. If you are speaking at an event, the formality of the event should dictate the formality of the bio. I have a hard time not adding something quirky to my bios, but it is not always appropriate, so adjust as required.

Not one-size-fits-all:

It may be a good idea to have a few versions of your bio. Not too many, but it’s a little annoying when you Google someone and 12 different websites all have the exact same bio. 

 Add a picture:

Yes, this is necessary. A picture is really worth a thousand words. People like people more than they like brands. They want to see you.

The long and the short of it:

I would suggest keeping your bio short, a paragraph at most, but some of these bios are long. It seems the more famous you are, the longer the bio is. Some of the writers below just have a short bio or a short bio followed by a much longer biography. I’d say unless you are very famous, keep it brief. Do not get your bio confused with your autobiography.

Examples:

Short bios:

https://www.andrearobertsonbooks.com/ – the best opening line

https://www.rainbowrowell.com/about

Short bio followed by long bio:

https://www.johngreenbooks.com/bio

Long bios:

https://www.neilgaiman.com/About_Neil/Biography

https://www.jkrowling.com/about/

https://www.wilbursmithbooks.com/meet-wilbur

Long bio with relevant non-fiction experience.

https://www.deliaowens.com/about-the-author

 

Here is a guide to the structure of your author bio:

  1. Introduce yourself and state the relevance, most often this would be your name and what you have written.
  2. Elaborate on the topic and explain a little about your writing.
  3. Establish your qualifications and credibility, mention any degrees, courses, and competitions. (Recent and relevant information is key.)
  4. Add something that is uniquely you. This does not have to be writing-related, but keep it brief and show us you are human.
  5. You can end with a call to action, links to other platforms, sales pages or social media profiles.

Check out mine:

Ok, my bios are all due for a rewrite, but I’m including them below, not because they are ‘right’, see the previous comment about kryptonite, but because they can show you how I use different bios for different audiences.

This is my 12 Short Stories bio.

Mia has used her many years of procrastination experience to create 12 Short Stories. She is a writer and a writing teacher, as well as a master of desk organisation and tile grout scrubbing. After yet another year of unfinished manuscripts, random scribbles and self-loathing she decided to set this challenge for herself, it turns out she is not the only one who needed to out-source her discipline. Right now, she is trying to write 12 short stories in 12 months (for the fourth time). Also, she’s been roped into writing poetry. It’s new, but she’s liking it.

This is the template I used for the 12SS bio. It works every time.

This is the bio is I use when I teach Social Media.

Mia was once a reluctant social media adopter, now she does everything online. She blogs weekly, runs a web-based writing community and shops online more than she should. She managed to find a way to balance the all-consuming world of social media with real-life. She will help you dispel myths, navigate the pitfalls and use the benefits to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

This is my bio that I use on my website.

Mia is a writer who wanted to figure out the novel-writing process for herself. Along the way, she turned into a writing teacher. She’s been teaching, guiding and sharing her knowledge for almost ten years. She loves writing, teaching and dreaming up new characters. In 2017 she set a challenge for herself to write 12 Short Stories in 12 months. She mentioned this on Facebook and found several liked-minded scribblers who wanted to share the challenge. Those same scribblers are completing the challenge for the fourth time. They’ve even picked up a few poets along the way.

This is my bio on Writers Write.

https://www.writerswrite.co.za/mia-botha/ (The LinkedIn profile is more outdated than the bios. Really, save yourself a click.)

Homework:

  1. Write your bio.
  2. Add it your profile on Deadlines For Writers.
  3. Post the link to your bio in the comments on this post.
  4. Read and give feedback.

Author Bio Mia Botha

How to add or update your bio: Login/Profile/Edit/Save/View

 

 

 

 

Happiness

Mia

Comments

    1. Mia Post author

      Nice one, Michael. This is a good bio.

      Your tone is very formal, but as I said, that is up to you, but you could lighten with a smile. Your stories are action-packed and fun. Your bio should reflect that.

      Some suggestions in brackets of where you could add some smiles(seriously only suggestions):

      Michael took a long time to realise that writing is what he likes doing and that fantasy worlds are where he feels at home. (MAKE ME SMILE-Emotions e.g. he has since given up reality entirely.) He is an avid reader and has dabbled in writing poetry and short stories. He has written many short film scripts, some of which have been made into films(ADD LINKS HERE), and is an active participant in various writing groups for both screen and books. During the lockdown, he has used the discipline of writing every day to start his first novel(JOKE, SHARE SOME FEELINGS HERE). It is set in a fantasy world that his live-roleplaying and reenactment friends(EXAMPLES OF CHARACTERS AND STORIES HERE- give me an idea of the kind of stories you like. ) would love to visit, where magic is real and his 13-year-old female protagonist is discovering that not everything is always as it seems(NICE INTRO OF NEW WORK).

      Happiness
      M

    1. Mia Post author

      Hello Deryn. Lovely bio. I like it because it sounds like you, but if you are planning to use it for your writing you need to add more writing info.

      Start the first paragraph with writing-related info, then I’d suggest combining and shortening paragraph 2 and 3. Your knack for onliners is working in your favour.

      (WRITING INFO FIRST)Born and bred in Manchester UK, Deryn found her way to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1995 via Spain, France and Greece. She remains a Brit by birth but is South African by choice(NICE). She has worked in the hospitality industry in marketing, as a radio and tv producer and is now in PR and communications which means kind of writing for a living. Now for that novel(NICE ENDING WITH WRITING AGAIN).

      Deryn is the mother of 2 sons, middle of 3 sisters(MIDDLE CHILD JOKE WAITING TO HAPPEN.HEHEHE), owner of a dog and the ex wife and ex girlfriend of men who clearly didn’t deserve her. Still, she remains an eternal optimist for herself, her native and adopted countries and indeed the planet, so please, world, don’t let her down. (Nice Smile – You could end with -Now for that novel.)

      These are, as always, just suggestions.

      Well done, Deryn.

  1. Mia Post author

    Lovely stuff, James. This is fun and quirky and a good showcase for your style. My only suggestions would be to shorten it. That will make it even stronger. It’s about 150 words. Try whittle it down to 120 or even 100 words, without losing crucial info. And add links for experience.

    ##

    James writes stories which are a little bizarre.

    He enjoys taking readers down strange and seldom trodden paths. Often dark, and always with a twist or two along the way. Comedy, thriller, horror and weird fairy tales. Stories to make you laugh. Stories to make you cry. Stories to make you leave the bedroom light on. But most importantly, stories you will want to share with your friends. But they might not thank you for it. (FUNNY)

    James is a storyteller with twenty years experience in flash fiction, short stories, longer stories and screenplays. He rarely suffers from writer’s block and considers himself fortunate to be the victim of writer’s overwhelm. The ideas keep on coming. Where they come from is a mystery. A mystery best left unsolved.

    He lives in England, with his wife and two daughters. And a bunch of pets he insisted his girls could NOT have.(VERY FUNNY)

    Well done
    M

  2. Sue

    Here goes…
    Sue MacDonald lives in Tamaki Makaurau/Auckland, New Zealand. She is a writer, published author, poet, artist, illustrator, cartoonist, and teacher of both kids and adults, specializing in painting and drawing. She has had considerable experience as a performer (voice) and teaches flute and recorder. Sue is a former primary school teacher and in 2011 graduated with a degree in visual arts. She has a special interest in mythology, the natural world, history and music from the Renaissance through to the Classical era. Sue is also a spiritual counselor.

    1. Mia Post author

      Hi Sue, I really like your bio. You are very talented. I would recommend changing the focus slightly depending on where you post. If it is a writing site, I’d focus and mention more writing accolades etc. and then it might be a good idea to link to your own site or a LinkedIn page with a full list of all your talents. Same for drawing site, music sites. Small edits: I’d drop the brackets and use ‘voice performer’ instead and move the ‘lives in’ line to the end. Happiness, M

    1. Mia Post author

      Love them both. Well done. I like that you had fun and let your voice shine through. I’d read your books just because you made me smile while reading your bio. Happiness, M

    1. Mia Post author

      Mia
      Hi, I’ve sent you bio feedback in an email. It removes my edits when I paste it here. Happiness M

    1. Mia Post author

      Hello Becky

      I love it. You can perhaps add a smile. What else did you want to be when you were little? Holding thumbs for that novel. Well done!