I recently got asked by two different online magazines if they could reprint one of my articles. Each was offering an author bio and link to my website.
Of course I said yes!
But then I was stuck when I realized I didn’t have an up-to-date author bio. Crud! Here are 7 tips to help you write YOUR bio.
1. Write in third person
Use your full name the first time. You’ll use plenty of pronouns so be sure to intermingle your name in there as well. It’s up to you if you’ll use your first name or your last. Personally, I usually use my first name (Kimberly) and save the Ms. Eldredge for more formal bits of writing. Now, if I was DOCTOR Eldredge, I might be more inclined to use “Dr. Eldredge” as opposed to Kimberly.
2. You’ll have different versions of the bio
At a bare minimum, you’ll need three versions:
- End-of-book (300-500 words)
- End-of-article (100-200 words)
- Blurb (25 words or less)
AND you might have different variations on the bio as well. I write in two distinct genres, outdoor recreation and book publishing. My bio for my outdoor recreation books isn’t going to impress the world of business coaching; they don’t care how long I’ve been camping for!
Don’t forget each version needs to link your website!
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3. Lead with your credibility
This can be your degree, training or certificates. Just make sure it applies! If you have a certificate in underwater basket weaving but your book is about investing, it might be best to leave that “credential” off. Your credibility can also include awards you’ve won, memberships, and education. This can be a bit dry so limit it to the most relevant.
4. Review your bio annually
At LEAST! Your bio will change and evolve as your career does so you’ll want to put this on your annual to-do list as something to review and make sure it’s still relevant.
5. Let your personality shine through
While you want to be professional, your readers are READING your bio because they want to know a bit about you. Give it to them! I like to keep it short but I want my readers to know I’m a real person behind the keyboard. This is the perfect place to mention your hobbies and interests. Keep it brief and either SUPER interesting or relevant.
6. The demographics go at the end
And are usually just one sentence: “Kimberly lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, with her two dogs.” As a non-married person it’s REALLY easy to fall into the stereotypical author and her cat stereotype. I can mix it up by saying something like “Kimberly lives in Chino Valley, Arizona, with her two dogs and mostly-housebroken dragon.” But there does come a place where just leaving alone helps.
7. Invest in an author photo
A REALLY good author photo. From a professional photographer. Do NOT use a selfie or a snapshot or a group photo. Again, I have two versions of my author photo, both taken by professionals. But one is done in-studio against a white backdrop and the other is on-location in nature. Bet you can guess which I use where!
I get it that writing (or updating) your author bio can be as exciting as a root canal. But you still need it! That way, when somebody asks if they can re-publish one of YOUR articles, you can say yes and shoot off an email with your photo and bio.
It’s better to spend an afternoon working on this rather than have to dash off SOMETHING in five minutes before a deadline!