Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Promo Wednesday- How to write a bio

Writing a bio is a lot like writing an article for a newspaper, only the subject is yourself. Thinking of it as a newspaper article is easy, I've done several newspaper articles. But putting myself out there and not sounding like I'm bragging is hard. After perusing several different websites on the subject this is the info I've gathered that has helped me write a bio.

The very first thing you have to decide is: are you writing this bio because you are going to speak somewhere, you need a bio for your website, or to add to an article about your upcoming book signing or release?

If the bio is for a speaking engagement, you don't want it more than 2 or 3 sentences.
For an article, book signing, or press release, one paragraph 3-5 sentences is about right.
A bio for your website can be 3 or 4 SHORT paragraphs.

Always write a bio in third person. Like someone else has written it about you, using your name in place of I. Use your full name the first time, after that it's up to you whether you want to use your first name or your last name.
  • first names are friendly and informal
  • last names are formal and more distant
  • consider where the bio will be used to determine which usage is best
  • whatever you decide on, keep it consistent in that bio

Briefly highlight your main acheivements as they relate to the usage of the bio. Your achievements demonstrate your credibility. Don't over kill with a list like a resume. Only cover the high points.

A bio should address four points;

  • who you are
  • your expertise
  • how your expertise relates to the usage of the bio
  • contact information

Personal information is optional. Let your personality show. Bios don't have to be boring.

And that's what I've learned about writing bios and to tell the truth- I was going to post one of my bios and they are all too long! LOL So you see even while I used this information, I didn't follow the directions very well.

When was the last time you needed a bio and were you long winded?


Elisabeth Naughton said...

My agent wanted a bio when she started subbing my book. I chose short and sweet and a little snarky (like me!):

Elisabeth is a full-time writer and mother of three. Between researching the perfect murder and crafting sultry scenes, she changes diapers, carts kids to and from sports and activities and herds two Dalmatians. Whenever she’s lacking in ideas, she calls on her eight-year experience as a junior high science teacher where drama reigned supreme and romance was new and exciting. She is currently writing Romantic Suspense and Paranormal Romance. Visit the author’s website at www.elisabethnaughton.com or email her at yadda-yadda-yadda.com

When in doubt for what to say, read the bios of your favorite authors, found on the inside back covers of their books

Paty Jager said...

So far all the bios I've written have been for press releases and my web page. Only my web page is more like a full blown biography! LOL

Thanks for sharing, Eli! Your bio does show you.

Nicole McCaffrey said...

I had to use one recently for the RBJ site to promo an upcoming chat. I needed to cut my author bio, from the back of the book, down to one paragraph from two. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Afterward, I realized I liked the shorter one better anyway, LOL.

Paty Jager said...

Hey Nic,

Yeah, I need to work on cutting mine down. I tend to put in too much info.

Barbra Sundquist, Bio Writer said...

I enjoyed your article and Elisabeth's bio is great! I have a website called www.howtowritebio.com that has fill-in-the-blank templates for various types of professional bios. Your readers might find it helpful.