3 Steps To Confidently Writing An Engaging Author Bio

It happens to everyone. You read an amazing short story, a poem that stars your eyes, or an article that introduces you to a compelling new perspective. Who wrote this piece, you ask? The writer must be incredible! You scroll to the bottom of the page and there it is, a picture of this awing weaver of words and an author bio.

Only the biography is flat and dull. There is the usual mix of college degrees, awards, cats, coffee, hobbies, amazing kids, and potentially the spouse that ‘makes it all go’. The writer could be any other writer you have read about.

Author biographies are the subject of much debate and are, interestingly, a place where even many gifted writers may struggle to shine.

The best author biographies are not a neat sum-up of quirks, degrees, and publication credits but instead offer a slice of the writer; they impart not only texture but also smell and taste.

While discussing the writing of a creative bio with an artistic friend of mine, it came to light my partner in conversation felt hesitant and awkward listing her achievements alongside her dreams. Even in the third person she felt like she was bragging and possibly presenting a shallow picture of herself.

Certainly, reading a fifty-to-two-hundred-word bio composed entirely of publication credits is not only uninteresting but also flat.

So, what goes into a good author bio?

 A strong author bio is engaging and informative. Include

  1. Your name and possibly your state of residence
  2. An appropriate number (1-3) of relevant degrees, certificates, and/or awards
  3. An appropriate number (1-4) of published books
  4. Up to five but preferably three publication credits
  5. A link to your website
  6. At least one line entirely about you as a personality

Mention sparingly, especially if it makes up the bulk of your personality line:

  • Amazing spouses
  • Books
  • Cats/Dogs
  • Coffee
  • Fandoms
  • Kids
  • Tea

If all you got going for you, is you love a good cup of chai, well, I have come across hundreds of people who say the same. Similarly, saying you kill for cozy mysteries does not set you apart from the rest of the crowd. However, it does sound cute and quaint and quirky and that captures the heart of writers a little too well.

The six elements previously mentioned, cleverly used, all go toward crafting a final picture of you. For example, one way citing previous publications helps is in rounding out what you are passionate about writing.

Related: A Poet’s Guide To Successfully Submitting Poetry Online

It is necessary to tailor the publications you cite to keep them relevant. If I am submitting to a nature-driven publication, I include literary names like Green Ink Poetry, Black Flowers, and Silver Birch Press. Because most editors also know each other, at least in passing, it gives a publication a sense of your style. Note, however, ultimately it is your writing itself that carries the most weight.

You will need three author bios.

The first one should be a personal, fun bio, such as you might put in the sidebar of your website/blog.

To include with your creative writing submissions, write a bare-bones bio of fifty words or less (if this is a variation of your website/blog bio, all the better!) and a lengthier piece for places that encourage people to paint a picture of themselves without word restraint. I recommend regaling for no more than three hundred words, but I find one hundred and fifty is about as long as I can entertain for. List away and weave together your achievements! I view it not as bragging but as proof I am passionate about what I do. You are a celebration. Celebrate yourself.

Bonus Tip: Look at your Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook bios. Most likely you have written something fun and interesting about yourself within the character restraints offered by social media platforms. See if you can weave in these refined elements of yourself into your author bio.

Do not be afraid to let your biography change and evolve

It has taken me three years to write my bios in their current forms. As I continue to refine down what makes up the most potent parts of me, no doubt my writer’s statement will change again. Hold onto the parts you truly love and let go of the parts that are starting to shed their old skin. Let what is underneath come through!

Extra: Six Elements to Include in your Bio as an Artist

  • Your state of residence. Consider mentioning where you were born/ grew up if it adds depth to your art
  • The art mediums you use and/or special techniques
  • Where you find inspiration and what you are passionate about
  • Your grandest achievements. This can include awards, noteworthy clients, shops that consign your art, and gallery shows
  • A link to your website/online shop
  • At least one line about you as a personality

Did you love writing your author/artist bios or are you still struggling? Share the ups and downs of your journey below!

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33 thoughts on “3 Steps To Confidently Writing An Engaging Author Bio

Add yours

  1. This is such a great guide! I write all the time for my blog, but when it comes to summarizing myself into a couple sentences for a bio, I definitely struggle. I love that you mentioned some of the things to only mention sparingly since those really do show up in bios all time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tried to compile a list of ‘mention sparingly’ that I come across often. Glad you felt the same way, Kait! When someone goes beyond the expected, it really starts to stand out. 🙂

      Like

  2. I really struggle with writing a bio. I like how you say it can evolve over time. I think that’s not just a good reminder, but important because we’re all constantly evolving and growing. It seems like a little thing, but I really like knowing where someone is from and where they are located. It’s like placing them geographically helps me see them for some silly reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🙂 Love that knowing where a person is from helps you ‘ground’ them. I never considered that appreciation myself, but I too enjoy knowing where in the world I relate to a person.
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  3. Some useful ideas here. Your bio should be informative, but also make you stand out in some way so that people remember you.

    It’s reminded me that it’s always worth revisiting your own bio and revising it as appropriate.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love these tips although I think I may now need to give my own author bio an overhaul!

    I agree I don’t like to see bio’s that just focus on experience and qualifications which can come across as very flat. I much prefer to see a little personality in a bio.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a helpful post. I agree that they can often seem flat and I just skim through them. Its a space for you to sell yourself in such a way people like what they see and still want to know more. These tips will definitely help with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t think I’ve ever read an author’s bio, but I guess I don’t read books that often, and if I do, they’re nonfiction about history, natural sciences, or social sciences. Do people really want to know about an author’s family situation?

    Like

    1. I have read author bios in the backs of many books, fiction and nonfiction, as well as ‘blogger bios’ in many sidebars and footers. I like a unique flare and do my best to provide.

      Unless the author is writing about something related to family, how many kids they have or what their spouse does just ends up reading like filler to me. On the other hand, mentioning you come from a family of twenty is interested and would catch my eye. 🙂

      Like

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