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Short Bio Examples

How to Write a Professional Bio for a WriterWriters are good at writing, but they aren’t always good at marketing. But there’s one piece of marketing that no author can ignore: a good short professional bio.

You’d think that writing a bio would be easy for a writer. However, writing great mysteries doesn’t necessarily translate into creating a gripping author bio. And bottom line: most of us dread writing about ourselves.

What to put in? What to leave out? How to sound good without sounding like a braggart? No wonder so many writers procrastinate on writing their professional bio.

But you’re reading this because you’ve decided that today’s the day. Hurrah! Good for you.

OK, let’s get started writing a good author bio for you. Here is what you need to keep in mind:

1. Be very clear about your target audience.

“Target audience” is just a fancy way of saying “people who read your work.” Consider who typically reads your work (or who your work is intended to attract) and tailor your bio to their interests. After all, while an author bio may lead a reader to a new favorite writer, in many cases, the author bio is to give readers who already stumbled over the work a better idea of who the author is (and hopefully make them fans for life).

2. Create mystique.

If the customer is looking for someone to put new brakes on a car, they want the most honest, straightforward, boring but qualified person alive.

But when it comes to learning about an author, a bit of mystique can be intriguing. One of the techniques of many successful authors is that they make themselves are a character in the novel that is their life.

Think of Hemingway. Would he be Hemingway if he’d been some little pipsqueak with spectacles living in an attic apartment in Dayton?

A contemporary example would be author Anne Rice, who’s created a series of bestselling vampire novels. She lives in a huge, spooky-looking mansion in New Orleans and seldom appears in public unless she’s dressed completely in black. That’s mystique.

Mystique can certainly attract fans. Once you’ve attracted their attention, your quality writing will make them a committed fan.

3. The point is still the work.

Yes, you want an interesting author bio, but the whole point of that is to make sure readers know what you’ve written, especially if you’ve got a half-dozen books out there.

Make sure to include a complete list of your published works and any works that is about to be published. Note that the phrase “about to be published” should only be used if you have an actual publishing deal (it doesn’t mean you’re hoping a publisher will buy it.)

4. You may need more than one bio.

You definitely want a “user-friendly” bio on your website (if you don’t have a website, get one). That bio is for fans and potential fans. You may need a far more formal bio to accompany a manuscript that’s being submitted to an agent or publisher, so have a couple of versions of your bio ready.

5. When in doubt, leave it out

Edit your bio just like you edit your prose. Interesting facts about your life, especially if they tie into your writing, are fine. If you lived in Paris from ages 8 to 14 and have now written a book on going to a French elementary school, that’s absolutely relevant. If you had two years of high school French classes but your book is set in Japan, leave out your knowledge of le français.

6. Tailor publication credits to your stage of career

If you’re starting out, list all your publication credits. However, by the time you’re a finalist for a National Book Award, it’s time to leave out the poem that was published in your college literary journal.

7. Don’t share too much

Again, if you’re starting out, you’d probably be delighted to hear from your fans. Heck, you might be delighted to have one of them stop by and sleep on your couch for a week!

However, believe it or not, that will change. There are lots of wonderful people in the world. There are also some really messed-up individuals out there. Don’t give them your address, your phone number, or your private email. If you want to hear from them, set up a website and let them reach you there.

8. Include a professional photo

To photo or not to photo? Between privacy concerns and the fact that most of us hate how we look in photos, you may be tempted not to include one.

However, you need a picture with your bio. It doesn’t have to contain details that will let people stalk you; a head and shoulders shot in front of a simple background is most appropriate.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot. There are photographers everywhere who can create a head-shot for a very reasonable fee. Do it. It makes you feel like a “real” author.

9. Determine the correct voice

Traditionally, professional biographies were written in the third person voice (i.e. “Doug Miller is the author of…” not “I am the author of…”).  Third-person voice conveys formality and professionalism (it sounds as if someone else is extolling your accomplishments), while first-person voice sounds friendly and informal.

The tradition of always using third-person voice for writing a professional bio has changed. With the advent of social media, the choice of how formal or informal depends on your audience and where the bio is to be published.

For example, third-person voice is most appropriate for LinkedIn because it is a business and career oriented site.  In contrast, first-person voice is often used when writing a short bio for less formal social media platforms such as a bio for Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

10. Keep it up-to-date

Your bio should be updated frequently, especially every time you have another work published or win an award.

Short Author Bio Example

____________(author’s name) is a writer, __________, and _______ (add a couple of other major interests, especially if they pertain to the written work). He/she is the author of _____(number of works), including the ___________(name of award)-winning _____________, the recently released ____________, and the upcoming _____ .   ____________ (author’s name) has also collaborated with ________ on a series of novels set in ______, available through ________ publishers. _____________ lives in ________ with his/her collection of ___________. You can reach ______________ at his/her website _____________.

Bottom Line

An author bio helps create buzz, connect with fans, establish the writer in the fraternity of authors and (hopefully) sell books as well. It’s an easy and effective tool that only requires a keyboard and bit of imagination, which you certainly have.

If you like the template above you can get a longer, more thorough version. Immediately download the full writer-author bio template that will make the job so much quicker and easier. That way you can complete your bio writing task and get back to the writing that you actually enjoy!

When writing a short bio, first ask yourself who will be reading it. Will it be visitors to your website? Someone introducing you as a speaker? Potential investors in your business venture? The reason why this is important is because what you include in a short bio will vary depending on the target audience.

Think about what’s most important to the reader

Here’s an important distinction: Although a short bio is written is about you, it is written for your audience. In other words, think about what aspects of you and your background would be important to the reader.

By definition, a short bio is short

One of the hardest things about writing short bios is deciding what to include and what to leave out. It’s hard to summarize a life and career in just a few sentences. Again, the key is to think about who is going to be reading your bio. If your bio is going to be used to introduce you as a speaker at an industry conference, what do those folks in the audience want to know about you? Probably they want to know whether you are worth listening to! So for that audience, focus your short bio on your accomplishments as they relate to that industry.

Focus on the highlights

To get started writing a bio, list the highlights of your life, career and accomplishments as they relate to the target audience. Then ruthlessly edit the list down to a few key details—things that can easily be described in a sentence or two—and discard the rest. Yes, I know it’s painful but it must be done!

Get rid of unnecessary details

The reality is that people are only going to spend 30 – 60 seconds reading your bio. If you write too much, readers are simply going to skip over the details. Take charge of what people remember about you by writing a short bio that highlights your best accomplishments.

Begin with a strong statement

Begin with a statement that puts your career in perspective —for example, “John Smith has over 20 years experience as a senior manager,” or “Jane Doe is an award-winning mystery writer.” Follow that with other details that demonstrate your expertise and underscore your relevant achievements.

Conclude with personal and contact info

Finish off your short bio with a statement about your personal life–for example, “She lives in Seattle with her husband and three cats.”

Do you have to include personal information? It’s up to you. Some people say that personal information such as hometown, family and hobbies is not relevant in a professional bio, because it has nothing to do with the job. That may be true, but I find that most readers like getting a sense of who you are outside of your professional role.
And finally, don’t forget to include your contact information at the end of your brief bio. You can word it like this: _____ (NAME) can be contacted at ______ (WEBSITE OR EMAIL ADDRESS).

A bio template makes writing a short bio quick and easy!

Does writing a short bio seem like just one more task on your long to-do list? If so, get a fill-in-the-blanks bio template written specifically for your type of job. You’ll have it all done and complete within the next 20 minutes.

100 word bio examples It’s just 100 words (or fewer) so why is it so friggin’ difficult? You know what I’m talking about…the short bio that you need for social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and all the others. I always find it so much easier to have bio examples to follow, so here are some fill-in-the-blank templates for you to customize for your own short social media profiles. Pick and choose the parts that work for you.

How many words exactly?

Twitter: 160 characters, which means only 20 – 25 words. Make each word count!

Pinterest: 200 characters, which translates into approximately 30 words.

Instagram: 150 characters, or about 20 words.

First-Person or Third-Person Format?

Before you get started though, you’re probably wondering if you should write in first-person (I am a …)  or third-person (your name, such as “Barbra is a …”).

In the past, experts would tell you that bios should always be written in third person. These days, particularly with informal social networks such as Pinterest and Instagram, first person is common. On  the other hand, on professional networks such as LinkedIn you’ll normally see bios written in the more formal third-person voice. It all depends on whether you want to project a formal, business-like feeling (third-person), or an informal social feeling (first-person).

Choose whatever works best for you

In the example templates below, I used both first-person and third-person formats. Choose whichever works best for your needs, but keep it consistent throughout your bio. In other words, don’t switch back and forth from first-person to third-person.

 Fill-in-the-blank templates

_______ (your name) is a _________, __________, and _________. He/She helps _______ (who you help, i.e. your clients or customers) to _________ (what you help them with, usually a problem you solve). __________

(your name) has always enjoyed starting and running businesses. In fact, by the time she/he was ________ (age), she/he had already ____________ . Soon afterwards, ___________ (your name) began a _________ and a ___________. Now she/he is the ________ (your title) of _________ (your business name), which __________ (short description of your business).

I’m the owner/operator of ________________ (your business name, linked to your website). ___________ (your business name) provides ___________ (your service or product) to ____________ (your customers) so they can ____________ (what your customers do with your service or product).

I got into this line of business in ______ (year) when _________ (tell how you got started).

My favorite part of having a ___________ (type of business) business is ____________, because it allows me to ____________ (why you enjoy it). Also, _________________ (a part of your job) can be a lot of fun!

When I’m not working on ___________ (your business name, linked to your website), I like to _________ (your hobbies).

I’m a _________, ________ and _________ (list three things that describe you, e.g. small business owner, writer, cat lover, devoted father) from __________ (list the general area you live in, e.g. country, state or city, but obviously: don’t ever give your address).

I think of myself as a _______ (your temperament e.g. quiet, bubbly, shy, outgoing) person, although I’ve also been known to __________ when __________ .

The things I love most in life are ______, _________ and ________ (list your favorite things, e.g. hanging with friends, my relationship with God, photography, cycling, family, my kids).

I’ve been ___________ (your profession or hobby) for ____ years, and I really love it.

My idea of the perfect day would start with _________. And then I’d _______ and finish off by ________. The kinds of people I’d like to meet are ones who are ________ and ________. That’s important to me because __________.

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