You’re a writer. You write. However, chances are that although you’ll happily write about everything from celebrity gossip to garden snails, you’re far from comfortable writing about yourself.
That’s fine. Most writers are clueless about bios, profiles and blurbs, until they’re forced to write them. I avoided it for years. My book editors in my early years as a writer got their marketing people to write them for me.
Eventually an editor asked me for a bio.
Yes, “huh.” Classy, and I’m a copywriter. Lesson learned: it’s much, much easier to write about, and promote, other people, than it is to do the same thing for yourself.
How to Write About Yourself — Write a Bio
(I’ve published this material previously, but it’s worth revisiting it.)
If you want to sell your writing – your articles, books, copywriting skills – you need a bio. So let’s get the fundamentals out of the way first. What’s a bio?
A “bio” is short for biography. But don’t be misled. You’re not writing a complete autobiography, your bio just covers relevant information. Therefore, as a writing services provider, no matter what you write, you’ll have several bios, tailored to specific purposes.
You’ll have a bio on your Web site, a short bio you attach to materials you’re sending out, bios for news releases, and a mini-bio you’ll use as a signature on your emails and forum posts.
Here are your bios’ essentials:
1. Your name and business name if you have one (tip: use your name as your business name).
2. Your contact details, including your phone number and Web site address.
3. Information about you that’s relevant to a specific audience. Why you’re the perfect person to write _________, or why you have experience that’s relevant to __________. A bio is always written with its audience in mind, so you’ll have several bios, and when applying for a writing job, or introducing yourself and your writing to someone, you’ll craft a specific bio that’s relevant. Bios are never “one size fits all”, they’re always tailored to an audience.
4. All bios are written in the third person. For example: “Jenny Smith’s writing career began when…” NOT: “My writing career began when…”
5. Your bio must be factual. Don’t fabricate, ever.
Interesting Bios Get Read: Strings of Information Don’t
Warning: bios are not resumes or CVs, as you’d create for a job application. The first rule of any bio you write is: BE INTERESTING.
For a quick education on what makes a good bio, wander down to your local bookshop, and browse the fiction and nonfiction shelves. Look for the blurbs on the back covers or on the dust jackets telling you about the authors. These bios have been carefully crafted, usually by the authors, to interest the book’s audience.
How to Write a Great Bio
Your ability to write good bios will improve with time. When you first start, just write everything about yourself that you can think of that’s relevant to your writing career, in the third person. Aim for at least a couple of pages.
Just write – don’t think. With my writing students, I ask them to write a bio quickly, in 20 minutes, in free writing style, without taking their fingers from the keyboard – just writing anything that comes to mind.
You can try that too. It prevents you being overly self-conscious. It may help if you create a mind map, or a cluster diagram, with relevant highlights of your writing career to date before you start. If you’re very young, relevant highlights could just be that you’ve always written stories, or that you’re beginning a freelance career.
Your bios, and your ability to write a bio quickly, is a wonderful skill to have. Practice it, and you’ll be in the top one per cent of writers who treat their writing in a professional manner.
Acting like a professional gets you hired. It also gets your books sold. Enjoy writing bios – they’re a wonderful tool.
Market your skills in crafting bios and blurbs — you’ll get clients
Here’s the thing. Writing bios and blurbs is easy once you get the hang of it. I offer a bio and blurb service to my clients. You can too.
So… practice. 🙂
Every writer needs copywriting skills: get a free report — Copywriting Confidential: How To Become A Freelance Copywriter.
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