How to Write an Author's Bio?

What's an author's bio?

So recently I have been very busy re - evaluating my current library of short stories to send them off into the world. I've decided to change tactics slightly and as well as entering numerous short story competitions, I'm having a go at submitting some of them to magazines and journals for publication.

For the third time today, I've been asked to include a brief author's bio.

The prospect of writing one fills me with dread. I've never been very good at selling myself. I have no idea how to write an author's bio or what a really good one looks like. 

Suddenly I feel so less sure of myself. As a writer I haven't really achieved anything, I haven't won any competitions or ever been published. I can hardly call myself a writer. I have no literary achievements to actually include, other than the obligatory - I love writing. But then what writer doesn't? I feel silly for even thinking of putting it in.

I looked up some of my favourite authors to see what theirs were like and it was full of prestigious accolades and of course published works that have gone on to become international best sellers.

But I've been doing a lot of reading on the web and trawled through many articles to find out the best tips to share with you. I've realised that it's a good idea to have two author bios.

How to write an author's bio?

Here's what your main author bio should include. You can get inspiration from other writers by looking at other bio's on the jacket sleeves of books. That is what you're aiming for.

  • Your author's bio should be around 250 words. Keep it short and simple. If you can make it funny. You want people to relate to you and be interested.
  • Always write in the third person. I'm not sure why this is, but everyone says so!
  • Make yourself sound as interesting as possible. You need to stand out from the crowd, particularly if you want to get the attention from the people at the top such as agents and publishers.
  • Write about your professional life even if it's nothing to do with writing. Try and  make your job sound as interesting as possible. If you sound interesting as an author then people will assume your writing will also be interesting.
  • Give background information about yourself, such as where you are from, your education. This is so people can relate to you and get an idea of who you are. It's up to you how personal you want to be, but be careful.
  • Include any unusual hobbies or interests.
  • Obviously mention if you have anything published, or won a competition. I'm not going to waste time but arguing why this bit is important!
Your second author bio which can be used for submissions for magazines and anthologies as well as query letters and should be around 50 words long, about two sentences. Personally for this one I would just include where you're from and something quirky about yourself. But again if you have literary achievements, just use those, they'll speak volumes!

How to sell yourself as a writer?

Don't think for one minute that your author bio isn't important. Your readers may not care too much who you are they just want a good story, but any potential literary agents, publishers or editors will be. This is your key opportunity to market your work. You need to think of yourself as a viable brand that could be easily marketed, because that's what they  are looking for.

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