query letters, proposals, flyers, websites, conference programs, catalogue blurbs, by-lines, media introductions, etc., etc. They also need tweaking often to target the recipient, as well as updating regularly.
Bios are not resumés, instead they reassure the reader that you are a competent writer and worth publishing, and promote you and your work. Long bios are usually written in narrative style and in third person; short ones need to be in first or third, depending on the use. A long one will be no more than a page, and a short one can be a paragraph or even just one sentence. All must be relevant to your writing career and the subject of your work.
Here's a primer on how to gather the info you'll need, and how to make a start to write both:
Begin with your one page bio (about 500 words) as it easier to write.
Make lists of your relevant credentials, special skills, awards and accomplishments, memberships, publishing history, and promotional experience. Look at many examples of other writers' bios and note what works and what doesn't. Then start writing as you bear in mind who will be reading it. Use facts to promote yourself rather than lots of adjectives and adverbs, though a few judiciously placed can be effective. Brag a little but be 100% truthful. Now begin to tighten it up, cut out, and rewrite. Show the draft bio to your published colleagues and ask for their comments. Rewrite and rewrite again. Then get someone else to edit it. Finally, comes the question of whether to include a picture on a long bio – writers don't have to, but in this visual, connected world many do. I recommend including a photo once you have some publishing successes to your name. But make it a professional image, not a family snapshot.
Also remember that many uses also require your bio to include the means to contact you. Julie can be reached at....
Check out these bios, all different:
- www.gramediting.com/about.htm (Joyce Gram, editor)
- http://loispeterson.blog.com/who-she/ (Lois Peterson, children's author, writing instructor)
- http://www.beaconlit.com/#!aboutjulie/c1wfv (Me)
More details at The Long and Short of Writing Your Bio.
|A bio for my photography|