Best of the Blog 2009: MARKETING MATTERS: Bragging Rights and the Author’s Bio
Blogger: Kathleen Y’Barbo, Publicist
Location: The Woodlands, Texas PR Office
Bragging rights. How many of you cringe when forced to brag about yourself? Count me in your number. There’s something about tooting your own horn that makes the music sound a bit flat, isn’t there? And where else is the requirement to do just that more obvious than in writing your bio?
If you’re a new author, you may not have written your first bio yet. Now is the time to get started. Veteran authors would do well to dust off the old bio and polish up a brand new version. In either case, you’ll find a well-written bio is useful for agent or editor pitches and essential in completing a book proposal.
There are several types of bios. Short, long, and in between, they all serve as your calling card to anyone who might pick up your book or, if you’re unpublished, your proposal. To dash through this exercise of creating a bio is to do a great disservice to your publicity efforts. While bios come in varying lengths, the first one any author needs to craft is the brief bio.
The brief bio is–generally one or two sentences–states who you are, what you write and, if appropriate, the general area where you live. Great examples of this can be found on the backs of most books. Here’s one from my friend Rachel Hauck off the back cover of her novel, Diva NashVegas: “Rachel Hauck lives in Central Florida with her husband and ornery pets.”
Not only does this bio do the trick in a modicum of words, but it also leads to my next point which is writing in voice. What does that mean? It means that a good bio should sound like the person it is describing. Rachel writes sassy, contemporary novels.
Be careful when plotting out the information you give in your brief bio. Notice how Rachel alludes to where she’s from but doesn’t go so far as to give her specific location. If you live in a large urban area, you might be safe in stating the city where you’re located. However, a general idea of where one resides is almost always better than providing a roadmap to your door.
Think about what you write. Does your bio reflect your voice? Next week we will talk about the longer bio, what to put in and what to leave out. In the meantime, I would love to hear your one-sentence bios. Wow me!