Writing A Proper Bio ( by Jo A. Wilkins)

A bio, written by and for an author to present himself to an agent or publisher, is the second most important promotional piece you as a writer must have. Its basic function is to describe your qualifications for, or your background in, the genre or field you have chosen to write in.

When planning your bio, first, you must determine:

  1. Do I need to generate a long or short bio?
    1. Short bios are needed to center in on each single project. Keep it to one page.
    2. Long bios are needed when you want to give your entire background for a long term relationship with an agent or publisher.
  2. Do I need to include my bylines?
    1. In a short bio you need only list a few of the titles you have published, but make sure they reinforce your current pitch.
    2. Always have a list of all your bylines ready if asked
  3. Have I evaluated what I have written? Is it appropriate for the pitch I need to give?
    1. Have another person read (or read to them) your bio for content
  4. Did I remove the Adverbs and adjectives?
    1. Did I evaluate my use of all the adverbs and adjectives in my bio so that I am describing myself in the most active way possible?
  5. Will my presentation captivate the agent, editor, or publisher I am aiming at?
    1. Does my presentation catch the interest of my target audience in the way I want to impress the agent/publisher?

Remember to incorporate these 5 factors into your bio:

  • Write in Third Person
  • List facts, not wishes
  • Cite relevant experience
  • Write Tight (Most Important feature)
  • Add a hook if necessary