How to Write an Author Bio to Accompany Your Byline
These examples of long and short author bios, plus tips for writers of magazine articles, book contributions, book proposals, or blog posts, will help you learn how to write your own author bio (biography) to accompany your byline.
Just the other day I was asked how to write a bio by a fellow writer on Twitter. The same day, a different author asked if she could interview me for a book she’s writing about how to acquire a literary agent. She asked me to contribute an author bio for that book — making that day officially my “author bio” day!
So, here’s what I know about writing a long or short author bio. If you’re promoting your book, read How to Self-Publish & Market Your Own Book: A Simple Guide for Aspiring Writers — it’ll help you sell more copies!
How to Write a Long or Short Author Bio
Quick tips for an author biography:
- Include your most impressive writing credentials.
- Write it in the third person. Not only is this more professional, it allows you to be objective and balanced about your credentials and experience.
- Mention your education, training, and work experience if it directly relates to the topic of the article.
- Explore the author bios in various magazine articles and book excerpts for ideas. For instance, I found several great ones on YahooShine and BlogHer.
- Provide “live” links your name and blog, whether it’s for a print or online magazine. Some editors will post the magazine article online, and include your bio (check your author agreement and types of copyright for details).
- Provide a short and a long version; let the editor choose which is most suitable. It’s better to offer a little too much than not enough.
- Ask the editor if you should send a photo. If yes, then send two or three.
One of my most important tips for writing an author bio for is to remember that it is a work in progress. It can and should change, depending on your writing career, magazine articles, book contributions, or book proposals.
When writing your long or short author bio, don’t:
- Get scared or anxious about bragging or sharing your credentials. This is business, fellow scribes. Be professional.
- Mention your age, race, marital status, number of children, or any personal information – unless it suits the magazine article or book excerpt.
- Say that you’ve never written for money, never been published in The New Yorker, and never thought you’d be published by that particular e-zine (unless it somehow flows from the article you’ve written).
- Include url’s such as http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/ for online author bios. Instead, format your link as Quips and Tips for Successful Writers (with the link url hidden).
Example of a short author bio
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen is a full-time freelance writer and blogger; her work has appeared in magazines such as Reader’s Digest, Woman’s Day, Health, Writer’s Digest, MSN Health and sometimes More. She created and maintains a series of Quips and Tips websites, including Quips and Tips for Successful Writers, Quips and Tips for Achieving Your Goals, and Quips and Tips for Couples Coping With Infertility.
Example of a long author biography
The above, plus:
Pawlik-Kienlen is working on her first book: See Jane Soar: Life Lessons From Women Who Weren’t Well-Behaved – which is also a blog! She is represented by Special Agent Jon Sternfeld of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency; her degrees are in Psychology and Education. Pawlik-Kienlen lives on Bowen Island, BC – and she’s also known as The Adventurous Writer.
An even longer author bio includes professional associations, more writing credits, more information about location and past occupations, etc.
If you need more writing experience so you can plump up your author bio, read How to Get Writing Clips.
Are you struggling to make money writing? Read The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Commercial Freelancer in Six Months or Less — it’s one of Amazon’s bestselling writing books for a reason. It helps writers build successful freelance careers!
If you have any thought or questions about these tips for writing an author bio for magazine articles or book excerpts, please comment below…
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