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« Stop Beating Me Over the Head With Your Book | Main | Is the First Line Really THAT Important? »
Friday
Oct152010

The Author Bio: Six Important Components

 

It's All About Me!

Photo by Randy Willis Photos

 

So we're writers, right? Which means throwing together a few sentences about ourselves should be no big deal, right?  No?

 

Damn.

So I've been working on that little thing called an author bio. You know, the thing that goes on your website/blog and eventually if you're published, in your book. It's only a few sentences but it's supposed to tell your reader something about you and hopefully make you seem...well, that's one of the issues.  How do you want to appear?  Likeable? Intelligent? Worldly? Funny? Mega-super-important?

What image are you going for? What best conveys who you actually are?

To start this process, I went and looked at some bios of other authors. For those that were multi-published, award-winning, well-established, the bios were often pretty dry. Mostly consisting of what they had published and the accolades attached to that. Well, if we're not at that point yet, what exactly should we put in it?

Based on my very unscientific research, here are the things that stood out in the best bios:

1. The author seemed relatable.

This can be something simple--they drink a lot of coffee, have a pet, like 80s music, whatever. It makes you realize, oh they're just another person like me.


2. A touch of humor

This is a biggy for me. I love an author to have a sense of humor in their bio. Now, if the person is writing serious literary fiction about genocide or something, maybe that's not so fitting. But in general, I think a little wit and humor goes a long way.


3. Some personal history

I like to know what a person was doing before they became a writer. Did they have other careers? Where did they go to school? This gives me more of a sense of who they are. Someone who majored in math is probably going to be very different from someone who majored in art history.


4. Said where the author lives (even if that's vaguely stated)

I don't know why, but for me, this is something I want to know. For instance, if the person lives in Texas or Louisiana, I already feel a bit of kinship with them. Plus, people like to support local authors, so putting your state in there can alert readers in your area that you're a native.


5. The person sounded interesting!

Every one of us has SOMETHING interesting about ourselves. Quirky jobs, strange talents, silly interests. Pick a few of those things to include. It doesn't have to be anything major. In fact, I think the smaller, random things are usually best.


6. You got a sense of their voice.

Yes, I know, it always comes back to voice, doesn't it? People who wrote serious stories tended to have serious bios. Young adult authors tended to have upbeat, funny bios that teens could relate too. Get the picture?


So, after taking all those things into account, here's what I came up with for mine. Feel free to give me honest feedback since this is still a work in progress.


Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. After earning a master’s degree in social work from LSU, she worked in a mental hospital, counseled birthmothers as an adoption coordinator, and did management recruiting in her PJs. But she always returned to writing.
Though she’ll forever be a New Orleans girl at heart, she now lives in Dallas with her husband and son. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her reading, watching reality television, or indulging in her unhealthy addiction to rockstars concerts.


Alright, so what do you like to see in an author bio? Do you read the bios in the back of books or on people's blogs? Who has a great bio that stood out to you?

**Today's Theme Song**
"Don't You Know Who I Think I Am" - Fall Out Boy
(player in sidebar, take a listen)

 

Reader Comments (36)

I like it!!!!

And I agree..the bio is tough. And when you have to keep it brief...even tougher. I had to do a 50 word bio for somehting...OMG!!!

The bio in my book is like yours, lighthearted, funny, it reflects me and my writing style. I like that people get a sense of who I am from it....if they ever meet me in person...they kind of already know what they're gonna get.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStephanie

WOW! GREAT bio! I'd read anything this person wrote, just from reading her bio. It connects on so many levels, plus shows a writer with an original and interesting voice.

And... you think the seafood's bad in Dallas? Try moving from Freeport, Texas to Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where their idea of a spice rack is a set of salt and pepper shakers...

I subscribe to Joan Rivers' advice, to "never order seafood if you can't see the ocean..."

My wife's a midwesterner and I love her dearly, but this anecdote describes her cooking perfectly. One night, she turned to me and said, "Will you take the garbage out?" And, I answered, "No. You cooked it--you take it out." (KIDDING!!!!)

Your bio is smokin'

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLes Edgerton

Ugh, I'd better get to work on my author bio. I don't think I have any of those things in it! Great list! Thank you, it will be a huge help.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

What a useful post! And a great bio!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAnne R. Allen

I loved your bio. The list was useful too.
I have to say I never read the author biographies on the books -- like never watching the behind the scene out takes etc -- I hate anything that distracts me from the idea that the story is (in my head, if nothing messes with the scene, it is)REAL.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElaine AM Smith

Love the humor! To me, that's so important and can go a long way on creating that connection with people. Why write a dry bio when you don't have to?

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Fichera

Having read your blog for a while - it is TOTALLY YOU. Especially the last line..LOLZ! Great tips!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Mann

I did this over the summer, and I feel your pain. :)

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline Starr Rose

I also dont read the bios in books but if i like an author i will read all i can on their website.
Yours is top notch

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna St. James

That's a fun, informative bio. Makes me like the writer (which I already do). Thanks for a great post and useful list!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTricia J. O'Brien

One of the best bios I've read. You definitely have voice going on. It may be a it too long for the bio in a book, but that's easy to take care of.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLois D. Brown

The only thing I'd change is LSU. A lot of people...more than you'd think, wouldn't be able to figure out what that means. Louisiana State university, however, isn't THAT much longer...and unless your in a bind over a few letters, flows smoother in my mind.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDrackar

Great bio! I've been working on mine lately. So far the best I can do is a brief, half-sarcastic commentary on myself. It's good to see another Louisiana writer like me making out there.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

I think you pretty much nailed it! (The tips and the bio. :))

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterOddyoddyo13

Great bio and great tips!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterElle Strauss

Now that is a bio that works. I've bookmarked this post so that I can come back to it at the weekend - I think my bio needs some serious revision!

I've nominated you for a blog award. See my blog for details.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEllie

Wow, I understand how that could be hard. For me, trying to make myself sound all of those traits you mentioned without writing another fiction novel would be a definite chore!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNathalie

I'm not looking forward to writing a bio. Sigh. I'm not really good at talking about myself unprompted, you know? Yours sounds great!

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHannah Kincade

Steph, thanks and 50 words, wow, that'd be tough!

Les, Thanks so much! I guess if I hooked the guy who wrote Hooked, I'm doing okay! lol And I think Joan Rivers' advice is totally solid. :)

Heather, Thanks and good luck!

Anne, thanks!

Elaine, that's so interesting. I ALWAYS want to read the bio.

Liz, thanks and I totally agree. The funny ones always hook me the most.

Beth, thanks! that's what I was going for. :)

Caroline, I know! It's so tough, isn't it?

Joanna, thanks! And it's so interesting to me that so many of you don't read it in the books. Maybe I'm just nosy, lol.

Tricia, aww, thanks! :)

Lois, thanks so much! :)

Dracker, someone might not know LSU? Blasphemy! ;) But you're right. I'll change that.

Robert, thanks! *Louisiana fist bump*

Oddy, thanks!

Elle, thanks!

Ellie, thanks so much, I'll go stop by! :)

Nathalie, yes, it's definitely tough!

Hannah, thanks! And yeah, talking about myself is definitely not my favorite past time, lol.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRoni Loren

I hate writing author bios because I don't like writing in the 3rd person. It feels so weird to write about myself. There is a great book, which tells you everything you need to know about creating the best author bios and author websites called The Practicle Freelance Writers Guide to Author Websites by Angela Atkinson.

October 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlyssa Ast

Great job Roni as usual.

October 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPiedmont Writer

I love it, Roni! You had me at the first line. But better than the dry stuff you usually read.

Where were you when a friend of mine had to write one? She wanted my advice, but I was totally clueless how to write one.

October 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStina Lindenblatt

I think its great! Definitely get your voice and your sense humour, but most of all who you. You also come across as someone I'd like not just to read, but to meet.

That said I would change one sentence...I thought 'whisked infants across the state' made you sound a little like you worked for a child trafficking ring...sorry. Maybe something like bring children to new family's...or something more warm and fuzzy than 'whisked'.

Still one of the better bios I've read.

October 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLiza Swift

I Love it. It's like a know you. LOL

October 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterE. Arroyo

Great Bio, really easy to relate to. This reminds me that mine needs more work.

October 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpublishersearch

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