How to Write a Killer Author Bio in Three Easy Steps

A clean, concise author biography is your calling card, and can mean the difference between future sales and languishing in the bookstore bargain bin. Creative writing may be your bread and butter, but tooting your own horn can be a difficult task. Here are three categories to consider:

  1. Short form: Two sentences. In third person. Name, book title, publisher, where they can find you online. Around 25 words.
  2. Medium form: For speaking engagements, magazine articles, brochures. In third person. Name, book title, publisher, where they can find you, education, and background, if it pertains to your writing. Around 50 words.
  3. Long form: For query letters. In first person. One quarter (around 50 words) of the page for fiction. A little longer for non-fiction (add your platform and credentials). Push the current project, not your life story.

Make it professional, but with your personality; include memberships in literary associations, degrees in literature or creative writing, book awards and reviews.

Make a list of all possible facts, then start paring it down. Choose three credits to highlight. Keep personal information to a minimum. Readers want to know where to find you on the internet and other books you have written.

Share your newly-crafted bio with your critique group. Members can give you input on what to work on.

Don’t mistake this accomplishment, “Jane recently trained her tom cat, Sir Licksalot, to fetch the evening paper,” with this one, “Jane received second place for her essay titled, ‘Jambalaya,’ in the Deep South Gazette’s annual literary competition.”

Don’t talk about this life experience, “Hortense spent her teen years in and out of Juvenile Hall,” when this one is so much more relevant, “Hortense’s two decades as an EMT give her unique qualifications to write medical drama.”

Compose a biography like you’re writing a novel. Write and revise. Whittle it down until there is no visible fat. Your bio must be lean and mean! Below are two of mine, which I am currently crafting.

“Carol J. Martin is a veteran blogger, inspirational writer/speaker and Kansas Writers Association member. Female in Motion Devotions, her first book, received semi-finalist status in the Munce Group’s 2012 Writing Contest. Female in Motion can be found at www.fim-carol.blogspot.com.”

“While it began in 2007 as an exercise blog, Female in Motion (www.fim-carol.blogspot.com) quickly became more of a personal journal: Life as a Midwestern wife, empty-nester, inspirational writer/speaker, cancer survivor and most notably, Christian. Female in Motion Devotions, my first book, was a semi-finalist in the Munce Group’s 2012 Writing Contest. My faith simply wraps itself around everything I write and I consider it my mission to encourage women to seek God’s will for their lives.”

“Biography lends to death a new terror.”—Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Credits: www.rachellegardner.com, www.ehow.com, www.wordservewatercooler.com, www.freelancewriting.com, www.lulu.com/blog

Blogging: The Diary You Want Everyone To Read

I have a standing date with my computer on Monday night for the last five years. During the previous week, I take notes, compile thoughts and research. I spend at least two hours crafting a cohesive essay. Once finished, the piece is uploaded to Female in Motion’s Blogger site and Networked Blogs sees that it makes its way to my Facebook fan page, Twitter feed and BlogFrog community.

Why keep a blog? Some of the reasons could be to educate the public on a subject you are an authority on, to earn money, to create a platform for a cause or mission, to share a hobby or interest, to express yourself, or to advertise a business. Writers in today’s competitive market are finding agents and publishers encouraging them to blog in order to create interest in their books.

  1. Design a blog. According to TechGainer, the top five blog hosts are Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr, LiveJournal and Xanga. For most users, it takes around thirty minutes to build.
  2. Determine the look of your blog. Do you want sleek, sophisticated images, or a warm, homey background? Templates are available on the blog sites, or you can drop in your own visuals.
  3. Decide what purpose and content your blog will contain. Do you want it to be directed at your readers, or other writers?

Do not keep a blog:

If you have to force yourself on a daily or weekly basis to blog.

If you routinely complain, “I don’t have anything to write about!”

If you’re using it as a dodge not to write your book…or another book.

I have learned some things about blogging in the last five years. It’s vital to write well. No shortcuts. No sloppiness. Use good, concise prose…with proper grammar. Keep a schedule. Post every day, week, or month. You may run the risk of losing readers’ interest if you post seldom or sporadically.

Make sure your blog’s focus is something you are passionate about. If not, it won’t keep you motivated to write every day, week, and month. I keep a file with ideas and notes for future blog posts. It also contains links to interesting articles I have found. I’m never out of ideas. I just keep replenishing the well. It takes discipline at first, and then it becomes muscle memory.

Link your blog to Hootsuite or Networked Blogs to manage the frequency and content of your postings. Never stop tweaking the look of your site. It’s refreshing. If you want to do any add-ons or gadgets, you can refer to help features on the site or just Google it.

A blog is a long-term commitment to share your writing with the general public, or at least your corner of the worldwide Web. The environment you create in your books should be recreated in your blog. It’s a great way to stay connected and current with your readers. If they see you care about them, they will respond in kind.

A blogger is constantly looking over his shoulder, for fear that he is not being followed.” –Robert Brault, American writer