24 February 2010

Author Bios

How do you write an author bio and what do you include?

Obviously, you write about yourself, but you have to do so in a very short paragraph, maybe only a sentence. What you choose to say about yourself has to be appropriate to the market. My bio in the British women's magazine, My Weekly, was very different to the bio I provided for the literary journal, Westerly.

You have to think about the aspect of yourself you're sharing with the market, with the people reading your story, article or poem. Are you the friendly neighbour next door or a thoughtfully reflective, reserved person? Are you an expert on a subject, through experience or education? A short bio means selectively presenting yourself. What will a particular audience be interested in learning about you, and does it support your story, article or poem? [Sneaky hint: read other people's bios in the same market. Catch their flavour.]

It's like condensed cocktail party introductions. Hit the high notes. Never lie. Be true to yourself, but be interesting. And if you can't be interesting, humour can be memorable--although humour can also damn you forever if the joke falls flat.

I hate writing a bio, but an author photo is worse. [Hence my golden retriever, Toby, gracing the blogger ID space where my photo should be]. When faced with the task I always discover I'm the most boring person I know :)

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