Bios that fail usually fall into one of two categories:
- Too short. Something along the lines of: "Mr. Brewer writes."
- Too long. These bios start off at the writer's birth and motivation for writing and end with the previous day's major annoyances and/or joys.
Since books are a different animal, especially if you're the sole author, you can be encouraged to write more than 100 words in your bio. After all, your displayed expertise may help sell a few more books. Heck, I know I've been known to read a bio or two.
So now that we've established a word count, here are a few other tips to keep in mind with bios:
- Tie your bio into whatever's being published. My bio as the editor of Writer's Market is much different than my bio for publishing poems in literary publications--and even those bios can be personalized depending upon the publication and the poem(s) published.
- Include ways for readers to learn more about you. If you blog, include your blog's URL. Include an e-mail address. Give editors, agents, conference directors, journalists, and fans a way to learn more about you and offer you opportunities.
- Include publications, awards, etc. If you've been recognized for anything related to your publication credit, then mention it (keeping in mind word count, of course). If you've been published in 20+ publications, pick your three favorite or most relevant.
As with all things in writing, my top tip is to study other author bios. Figure out what you like and why. Then, imitate and experiment. Eventually, you may even turn the craft of writing your bio into an art that others will wish they'd written.
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Thanks for this post, Robert! I've been studying other bios and I think I'm going to keep it clean and simple and remember #2 above.
That's the way to go. Don't try to force things, but make it easy for others to find you.
Just what I needed to read right now, Robert. I am struggling with bio (length) and the fact that if I am the soul author I can be a bit more talkative about me.
Appreciated info! I love anyone's bio but mine, but now have some ideas thanks to your tips here--especially the bit about humor
The main thing with bios is to not get too stressed out over them and don't try to do too much.
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