general, Industry

Best Practices for Writing Author Bios

Every author or prospective author needs a bio. Here’s what you need to include in that bio.

Follow these six basic rules when writing an author bio:

  1. Write it in using third person POV. It should look like someone else is writing about you.
  2. List facts. No one cares about your aspirations. They want to know what you have actually done. List publications, relevant work and education experience. Note: if you have a lot of publications, don’t list everything, only the most important or most recent.
  3. List only Pertinent Education. If you have a degree that relates to the piece you’re writing or a degree in writing or journalism, then list it. Otherwise, skip this information in the interest of brevity.
  4. Memberships and Awards. Again, this depends on the assignment. If you are a member of a professional organization that relates to the assignment, mention it. If you’ve won awards for your writing, mention those, but be prepared to cut them if they don’t really relate.
  5. Be Concise. Keep this bio short. 100 words is a good length to shoot for.
  6. Memorable. Include something special about you.

Examples

This is the bio of a man whose first novel is currently a blockbuster:

Maurice Carlos Ruffin has been a recipient of an Iowa Review Award in fiction and a winner of the William Faulkner—William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition for a Novel-in-Progress. His work has appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, AGNI, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas. A native of New Orleans, Ruffin is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop and a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance. Read more at his website, LowerAmericanSon.com.

This is the bio of a man at the end of his career, with more credits than he cares to list:

Sam Pickering grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He spent 67 years in classrooms learning and teaching and has long been a rummager and writer wandering New England and the South, the Mid-East, Britain, Australia, and Canada. He has written some thirty books and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. His most recent book is The World Was My Garden, Too (Madville Publishing 2019).

And this is the bio of a first-time author writing under a pseudonym:

Kate Saunders is a first-time author, but a life-long writer and avid entrepreneur. Following spinal surgery and a subsequent near-death experience, she felt compelled to reevaluate her life and reinvent herself through activism and writing. She views Stand in the Traffic as a subtle path to raise her readers’ awareness.

 

NOTE: There’s an even shorter version of the bio required for Social Media, but that’s a talk for another day!

 

Kimberly Davis holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and a BA from Columbia College-Chicago in Arts and Entertainment Media Management. She spent five years on the editorial staff of Texas Review Press, with two of those in the director’s chair. While at TRP, she filled various roles including layout, cover design, editing, and acquisitions. Davis is currently the Director at Madville Publishing, where she solicits literary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. In addition, Kim has been designing websites for 20 years. See her portfolio at Sublime Design Studio. Contact her at kpdavis@usa.net to speak to your group.

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