You are an author. Your book is almost out there. Now you have to build a bio. Where to begin…
The purpose of the bio is to sell you, not to introduce you. You want to sound accomplished, professional, and interesting.
But I have no accomplishments! I’ve done nothing! This is my first book!
Yes, it is! And this is the bio you will spend your career modifying and building upon until you are a renowned New York Times Best Selling author and can write “X is a New York Times Bestselling and has won the Pulitzer. X lives in New York with her dog.” Now is not the time for shame, guilt, shyness, or self-doubt. To write a proper bio you need arrogance, pride, and confidence. Be pompous! Embrace your inner snob! Now! Roll up your sleeves, puff out that chest, turn up your nose, and write that bio!
I am going to use myself as an example because I know me best.
Step One: List the Facts
This is the boring part where you are reminded how absolutely uninteresting and unaccomplished you really are. It’s okay. This isn’t the part we focus on. This is the base we are building on.
Example #1: Angela B. Chrysler
- Married to a chemist
- Stay-at-home mother of three
- High school diploma
- Lives in New York
- Have pets: three cats and fish
Example #2: C.L. Schneider
- Living in New York
- Mother of two boys
Step Two: List your hobbies and interests
This is the exciting part that will add juice to your flat bread. Have fun with this and go all out!
Example #1: Angela B. Chrysler
- Education and research
- Logic and formal argument
- Roman History
- Ailurophile (Cat lover)
- Hibernophile (Irish lover)
- Pluviophile (Rain lover)
- Music and dance
- Iron Man (Marvel comics)
- Star Trek
- Star Wars
Step Two: Time to embellish
Don’t lie. I can not say that enough. Phony is transparent. Be honest. You are selling your personality. Not your stats. Using the above information, here is what I composed.
About the Author
Angela B. Chrysler is a writer, logician, philosopher, and die-hard nerd who studies theology, historical linguistics, music composition, and medieval European history in New York with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm. Growing up without books, Ms. Chrysler spent her early life reading the encyclopedia for fun. By mid-teens, she gained access to her school library, and began working her way through the Great Books. She spent many an afternoon in an old opera house turned library in the town where she grew up. There, she found her passion for reading and writing through the words of Hugo, Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Poe. Today, she lives in a garden with her family and cats.
Note the reference to my past. Where and how I developed the passion for the written word and who influenced me. I added the line “with a dry sense of humor and an unusual sense of sarcasm” to communicate clearly to those who converse with me that my humor is off. And it is. When it comes to humor, I am Sheldon Cooper. I was holding up “Sarcasm” signs two years before Sheldon even hit the screen. I literally wrote up the signs and passed them out to my co-workers.
While writing, Ms. Chrysler fuzzies her cats and survives on coffee, Guinness, and the writings of Edgar Allan Poe. When she is not writing, she enables her addictions to all things nerdy, and reads everything she can get her hands on no matter the genre. Occasionally, she finds time to garden, mother her three children, and debate with her life-long friend who she eventually married.
Mention an author who influenced you. It’s okay to mention a handful, . This helps readers see who influenced you. I tagged the boring statistics at the end, which every professional bio does. This is simply to sate the curiosity of readers. Nothing more.
In 2009, after completing two courses from Long Ridge Writer’s Group, her articles appeared in Kritter Kronickles Pet Magazine, and she began work on the Tales of the Drui: a dark mythological fantasy that depicts the Viking era through the elves’ point of view, and combines elements from Celtic mythology. Despite her smile and passion for laughter, Ms. Chrysler survived a number of unique hardships that fueled her darker side and love of macabre. She is active on most social media platforms and can usually be found tweeting on Twitter at @abchryslerabc.
I added this on after my publication on Dolor and Shadow.Instead of re-writing the bio, I simply added “Credentials”
As early as fifteen, Ms. Chrysler embraced philosophy and spent the majority of her life educating herself. At seventeen, she turned her avid reading of the encyclopedia to the Great Books. Through ancient texts, philosophical writings, and Classical Literature, Ms. Chrysler continued the exploration of “self” that began as a teenager in hopes to better understand the world, her life experiences, and those around her. Twenty years later, she is still working hard toward that goal. Today, her philosophies and knowledge inspires her worlds of fantasy while her personal challenges have inspired her to help increase awareness for a number of topics including, trauma, PTSD, BPD, bipolar, animal abuse, domestic violence, and informed/involved parenting.
In addition to writing, Ms. Chrysler is very active with her online community and social media. She adores marketing, and her passion to help others has driven her to launch Brain to Books: an online beginner manual for authors. You can find number of promotional events hosted by Angela through Brain to Books including, but not limited to The Annual Brain to Books Cyber Convention on Goodreads as well as the Brain to Books summer Blog Tour.
I wrote this after my publication on Broken.
My Promise To You
I believe in providing a beautiful novel with outstanding quality to readers every time. All of my published work is presented to my editor after revisions, edits, and beta reads are complete. My editor conducts two professional edits, which I review and apply the final changes all before the book is presented to you. If, for whatever reason, you locate an error in my published works, please contact me so I can correct any errors we may have missed.
I invite you to email me regarding events or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. If this is urgent or you need my attention immediately, I welcome you to message me on Twitter at @abchryslerabc.
This is something I added to my contact page, which is a little note I wanted my readers to see, but felt it was wrong to add it to the bio. It’s personal and needed a personal touch.
I’ve also seen “My Philosophy” and “My Goal.” “Volunteer Work” will also work. Follow LinkedIn’s Profile format for additional ideas.
Example #2: C.L. Schneider
C. L. Schneider was born in a small Kansas town on the Missouri River. Growing up in a family of readers, all with diverse interests, she developed an early and avid love for the written word. Her fascination with science fiction stories and anything supernatural, as well as a keen interest in the Middle Ages, drew her to fantasy. At the age of sixteen, she wrote her first, full-length novel on a typewriter in her parent’s living room.
Her first published work, The Crown of Stones: Magic-Price, is an epic fantasy. The first in a trilogy, Magic-Price is a gripping account of one man’s struggle to accept who and what he is. It’s the journey of a flawed hero, a fallen race, and a land at war. A page-turning tale of prejudice, betrayal, secrets and lies.
The action continues in the sequel, The Crown of Stones: Magic-Scars.
“The Crown of Stones evolved from the creation of my protagonist, Ian Troy. I wanted to construct not just a character, but a person that I, as a reader, would want to get lost in. One that would embody the characters I’d come to love from the stories I read in my childhood home, so many years ago. My goal was to develop a character that was capable of being both a cowboy and an outlaw, a detective when he needs to be, a monster when he can’t help it, and a hero even when he tries not to be.”
C. L. Schneider lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband and two sons. She is currently working on the third and final installment in the story of Ian Troy.
Write your drafts in 3rd person. This distances yourself from you, enabling you to sell you much easier than if you think of you as… well… you.
Any reference to yourself after your initial introduction should be formal. “Ms. Chrysler” and not “Angela.” This maintains a level of professionalism.
Read bios written by the professionals. Some are lengthy. Some are drawn out. Others are grouped and categorized making for easy reading. When I read a bio, I don’t want to be bogged down with a life story. I want to know where they live and what their day job is. I want to know about their educational background. I want to know their hobbies. I don’t care about their family life, marriage, struggles. By grouping a bio into categories, this gives me the option to easily read a 400 word paragraph on the go.
Fact: All bios are written by the author, but… A bio should always sound like a hired 3rd party wrote it.
You will need
- A short bio (200 to 400 words)
- A long bio (About 700 to 1,500 words)
And remember, always write in the 3rd person. If the bio is done right, you will sound pretentious and arrogant if in the 1st person. If you keep it in the 1st person and it doesn’t sound pretentious, chances are, you need to go back and rewrite it.