Author’s Bio 101

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While you’re busy creating your platform, make sure you prepare your author’s bio. It’s a short summary paragraph of your writing credentials.

Creating a bio can be a challenge for new, pre-published writers.

cartoon dog boxing gloves
Courtesy of Mister GC @freedigitalphotos.net

Picture yourself in an arena. The bell rings, the announcer grabs the mike, gestures to your colleague and rattles off her bio:

In this corner, weighing in at 89,750,000 followers, with 327 New York Times’ best sellers, famous writer Sharon Queensbury!

He points to you and says,

And in this corner, the newcomer, who’s written a grocery list and a note to the babysitter.

My first author’s bio read something like, “Jeanie walks upright, and breathes in and out on a regular basis.”

Because I owned zero writing credentials, I gave an abbreviated work history synopsis: “Jeanie’s enjoyed a variety of careers, from computer programming to teaching exotic animal programs. She enjoys visiting with family and friends, and praise dancing. She’s a member of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group.” Not the most professional, but it was all I had.

Here are a few tips to keep you from getting K.O.’d:

  1. Write it in third person.
  2. Avoid terms like “new” and “aspiring.” It erases your credibility, and reminds people of their nutty Aunt Jane who tried to write. Don’t get relegated to the crazy relative corner. Come out of yours swinging.
  3. Draw on your highlights. Pull from life experiences to show expertise.
  4. Define yourself honestly but with flair. If you’re a school crossing guard writing a childrens book you can say, “Mary Smith draws from her decades of experience working with children.”
  5. Look at other authors’ bios for ideas. Note: please don’t copy and paste  their work. Use it to get the creative juices flowing.

Now on to

Jeanie’s Super-Secret Newbie No-No’s

( Yes, I used the term newbie. This isn’t a bio.)

 

man working laptop quiet whisper finger
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net

 

To recap what we’ve learned so far:
Week 1- Exclamation marks scream, “Newbie!”
Week 2- Annihilate Adverbs.
Week 3- Eradicate empty words. Really just skip them. I’m very serious.
Week 4- Use “Invisible” Words: said, ask, answer, and reply.
Week 5- Run off Run-On Sentences.
Week 6- Clear out Clichés.
This week- Pass on Passive Voice
Think of it as something done by someone. A quick way to identify passive voice is to do a search for the word “was” in your writing.

Passive: The race was won by Mary.
Active: Mary won the race.

Passive: The vicious guard dog was owned by Mary.
Active: Mary owned the vicious guard dog.

Passive voice slows our writing, adds superfluous words, and bores our readers.
Most new writers don’t realize that editors hate passive voice. When they receive a submission filled with plodding passive sentences, they contact Mary. She sends her vicious grammar-guard dog to eat your manuscript.

Passive: My manuscript was eaten by a vicious grammar-guard dog.
Active: The vicious grammar-guard dog ate my manuscript.
Even in active voice, that scenario stinks, so exercise your active voice.

Since we all need to move forward, my Current Lofty Goal (AKA something I need to do, but put off) get prepped for NaNoWriMo.

Their website says, “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.”
(GULP)

What challenges do you face in your writing life? We at Wordsowers want to help. Connect with us here or on our Facebook page.

Great news: sign up for our free monthly newsletter to get help delivered straight to your inbox. It’s easy–the button is on the right side of this page, near the top.

Jeanie Jacobson

Jeanie Jacobson

Jeanie Jacobson is on the leadership team of Wordsowers Christian Writers Group. Her book, Fast Fixes for the Christian Packrat, is available on Amazon. She’s also published in “Focus on the Family”and “LIVE” magazines, many Chicken Soup for the Soul releases, and Bethany House compilations. Jeanie teaches workshops geared toward helping new writers, and is working on a Christian-slanted YA fantasy novel. Connect with her at jeaniejacobson.com
Jeanie Jacobson

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