October 29, 2015

5 Steps to Writing a Short Bio That is "Just Write"

By Annette Cole Mastron, Communications Director for Southern Writers Magazine

Writing a short bio, sounds easy enough until you sit down to actually write it. You know that assignment everyone had in school..."write your own obituary?" It's harder than it sounds.

Why should you have a bio? First and foremost, it introduces readers to you as an author. It should appear on your Amazon author page, your website, and your social media links. Your short bio should be between 75-100 words total. All words count.

On this blog every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday you can easily find examples of other guest authors’ short bios. Obviously, no two bios are the same.  You can peruse the blog archives to research guest author bios that are found following a post. This is a good place to start when preparing your own short bio.

Much like The Three Bears and Goldilocks fairy-tale some bios are too short, some are too long, requiring severe editing, and some are "just write." I want to address the content in a bio that is "just write" for us at Southern Writers Magazine.

1. The first words in your bio should be your author name, as it appears on the cover of your book. If you have a pseudonym or author name for different book series, use your most recent book's author name.

2. If your books have won legitimate awards, list them. How many times have you read someone is "an award-winning author" only to find out they haven't won one award?

3. If you are comfortable, include fun facts about your current life. No more than two or three. Be cautious about your personal disclosures for your own safety.

4. List all your books written in the last ten years, starting with your most recent book in descending order by publishing date.

On our blog, we link your book titles to Amazon so a blog reader can just click on the title and it takes them to Amazon. Hopefully, translating into a book sale for the guest author. Your book titles will appear in the blog bookstore after your appearance on SWM's Suite T.

5. It is critical to close the short bio with your social media links. Embed the links in the name of the item for brevity. For example...
"Social Media links are; Website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon(Author page.)" You may not have all of these but list what you have.

These are what we look for in a "just write" short bio. Authors will be asked for bios throughout their careers. It makes sense to update the bio with each book release, even if nothing else has changed, just add your new title.

Guest authors are requested to submit a head-shot of themselves to run next to their short bio. This is not the time to submit a picture of you at the beach or in a Halloween costume. You need to look like what you are: a professional author.

Now, it's time. Go. Write that short bio that will leap off the page and make readers want to read everything you write. Can you write a bio that will be "just write?"

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