Tips for Writing Your Bio

When I have a guest on my blog, I always ask for a bio. The length doesn't matter for the blog--but what I've learned about blog posts is that they are more apt to be read if they are short rather than long--and in my opinion that goes for the bio too.

It is helpful when I've asked for a guest post if everything is put right on the post itself--whether it be an interview of an original post, at the end put the bio along with the book blurb and any links. This saves me having to open 3 or more attachments.

You may be asked to write a bio for a conference. ALWAYS read the instructions. Usually there is a word count--stick to that.

Remember a bio helps readers or in the case of pitching to a publisher see what a fascinating person you are. Putting in the right stuff and leaving out the wrong stuff is important. What you write should be relevant to the book you are promoting or pitching.

When sending your bio off to someone (other than to a blog host--I told you how I'd like it to come to me) name the file so that the person receiving it will have a clue who it came from. For instance: Bio-Meredith and the date.

What to actually put in the bio? Could be any number of things, but it should be written in third person with your name and the put what you are most famous for or proudest of as far as your writing world is concerned. If your occupation or past occupation is relevant to what you are writing, but that in. Or what makes you the person to write the book you're promoting. You could list the writing organizations you belong too--don't list the social or hobby groups--unless they are relevant to what you've written. You could put where you live--again though, this really depends upon if it has something to do with the book(s) you've written.

In other words, stay relevant to what you want the particular recipient or readers might find interesting.

If you've been using the same bio for a while, check it over before sending it out again. See if it needs updating or a bit of sprucing up.



Marilyn, thanks for the post with good reminders of what to do. I have a 75-word bio to write for an anthology and have been procrastinating! Hopefully, your post will push me to completion!!!

Mary Montague Sikes
Patricia Gligor said…
Good tips, Marilyn! Thank you. Your post made me realize that I need to take a closer look at my bio. I'm not sure what I'll change but I'm definitely going to make some changes. :)
Betsy Ashton said…
My bio is more irreverent than what you suggest, Marilyn. I claim to have been raised by coyotes in the hills above Malibu. Few forget that line. It gives the reader a small insight into my personality. Do I worry about putting people off? No, or I'd change the line. That's my story and I'm sticking to it...
Billie Johnson said…
Thanks, Marilyn, for bringing up such a good topic! In OTP's Author Handbooks, we stress the value of an author having several bios...short, medium, long, obituary style, funny, serious, and so on. This way you will be prepared for many different requests.

And just to share my opinions further, I see authors often include things in their bios that are really not all that fascinating, and I would recommend leaving out, especially when word count is limited. One thing is citations children and grandchildren, unless that is the subject of your book.

Also, I don't like to see authors get too specific about where they live. Better to reveal that in broad strokes. "Johnson lives in Central Illinois" is close enough.

Billie Johnson
Thanks, Marilyn. A good reminder. BTW, I've read your bio recently and think it's a good one.
Thanks, Marilyn. A good reminder. BTW, I've read your bio recently and think it's a good one.
Thanks for all the great comments. Guess I better check mine on here. I do like to update it depending where it's going to be..
Janet Greger said…
Useful comments as usual. That's what keeps people coming back to your blog.
JL Greger, Author of Murder: A New Way to Lose Weight

Excellent advice for all of us!
marja said…
Excellent advice, Marilyn! What I put into the bio I send out and the one on my website are two different things. The one on the website is a little lighter with more personality in it.
Marja McGraw
Thanks to all of you for your comments.

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