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
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.
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.
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.
https://www.andrearobertsonbooks.com/ – the best opening line
Short bio followed by long bio:
Long bio with relevant non-fiction experience.
Here is a guide to the structure of your author bio:
- Introduce yourself and state the relevance, most often this would be your name and what you have written.
- Elaborate on the topic and explain a little about your writing.
- Establish your qualifications and credibility, mention any degrees, courses, and competitions. (Recent and relevant information is key.)
- Add something that is uniquely you. This does not have to be writing-related, but keep it brief and show us you are human.
- 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.)
- Write your bio.
- Add it your profile on Deadlines For Writers.
- Post the link to your bio in the comments on this post.
- Read and give feedback.
How to add or update your bio: Login/Profile/Edit/Save/View