Blogger: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Janet here: Thanks once again to Kathleen Y’Barbo for standing in for me by allowing me to post the last of a three-part series on the author bio that Kathleen wrote for our blog several years ago.
I’ll be back with a post of my own next week, having focused my energies these weeks on returning home after the Wine Country fires and pulling my life back together. Who would think it would take so many shopping trips to restock one’s fridge and freezer!?
Now, here’s Kathleen:
The past two weeks we’ve been talking about author bios. First came the one-line summary, and then, last week, I challenged authors to answer questions I called “The Four Ws of You.” If you’ve done your homework, you can answer these four questions:
1. Who are you?
2. What have you written?
3. Why do you write?
4. What else do you want them to know?
If you’ve not yet stopped to consider the responses you’d give to these, do that before going any further. You’ll be glad for the exercise in creating a bio that will not only catch the attention of professionals, but will also showcase your voice. Now that you’ve practiced, prepared, and reviewed, let’s see what we can do to enhance your work.
To find that, go back and review your one-line bio. This should be your opening hook. Polish it if you’re not happy with the impact of the sentence, and make it shine. This sentence will also answer the first question of who you are.
Now move on to the second question and look at the list of books, articles, or other pieces of writing you’ve done. Which of these are most fitting to use?
I suggest choosing a few key items that best represent the type of writing you wish to continue doing.
If you have a few nonfiction pieces that support the novel, list those too. Or perhaps you’ve written a novel then published articles from your research. All of this fits well in the middle section of your bio.
Next, consider why you write. This is a section that may or may not be appropriate to your bio depending on whether you are writing for the Christian or general markets. If you choose to include this, try to go beyond “because God says so” to
craft a statement of purpose.
Again, keep this brief and use words that reflect your voice.
Finally, look over your bio and
do a quick word count.
The entire paragraph should add up to no more than 300 words. Why, you ask? Because when publishers put together sales packets for their sales force, a 300-word bio is almost always included. So, do the work now and rest easy later.
In most bios, an obligatory ending thought is included to
allow the reader to know where to find you.
Thus, I suggest the bio end with this: Read more about Amanda Author on her website at (web address here) or connect with her on Twitter at (twitter name). If you use other social networking sites, consider a mention of them in a prominent place on your website so as not to clog up your final sentence with a string of web addresses and Facebook page listings.
And what of those who like to end with this stunner: Norman Novelist lives in Name City with his wife, Nancy, and their dog?
Yawn. How many times have we read this?
My challenge for this week is for you to come up with a fabulous ending to your 300-word author bio.
Yes, you can certainly use the cozy ending, but if you do, please, please, please make it interesting. How? Well…that’s up to you. Show me what you come up with. I can’t wait!
What should you put in your author bio? Click to tweet.
Is your author bio boring? Here’s how to spruce it up. Click to tweet.