The Ins and Outs of the Author Bio

People do judge a book by its cover. You have completed your masterpiece and just need to send it to the magical world of publishing. You have probably gone through it again and again, what next? The all important author bio still hangs over your head, like the proverbial Damocles’ sword.

The Ins and Outs of the Author Bio

Your manuscript is not complete in itself till you send it along with an impressive author bio. If you already have several publications to your credit, you would probably have a copy of your author bio and just have to update it and send it along. But, on the other hand, if this is your first manuscript to be published, you need to grasp all the tricks of the trade to come up with a mind blowing author bio.

Where Do You Need an Author Bio?

An author Bio is becoming increasingly important these days, especially in the world of freelance writers. They are needed by several businessmen and professionals as well. For instance, if you are an author, a business owner or even a speaker or company personnel, you might need an author bio. The author bio in these cases is quite different from a resume. This bio tells a story about you and provides the reader with a summary of your work history. Though a resume also provides background details, the presentation is different in an author bio. Author bios are actually just short introductions for those who have written a post and if you are a regular blog poster or guest blogging, it might help divert traffic to your blog.

  1. If you have a website, you may want an author bio, which will be interesting for your site visitors.
  2. If you are a public speaker or someone who is about to speak at a conference, you might be asked to introduce you and you will have to offer an author bio for people to know more about you or for a press release.
  3. You might have a business and might like to let others know about you on Facebook or Twitter or other social networking sites, such as MySpace. These are informal places where the gathering is informal; here, you will need to write an informal author bio.
  4. In case you are applying for a scholarship or for some program at an institution, you need to write a good author bio, as this works very effectively in an application.

What are the Benefits of an Author Bio?

Writing an author bio can be one of the most essential aspects for a freelance writer. It is important and beneficial in a number of ways.

  1. It might be one of the important things that enable your article to be accepted by an editor. This is especially so if you can make it impressive and create a high quality author bio presenting yourself in the best possible light. If you incorporate all the right components in it, it can prove to be the best marketing tool you could employ.
  2. It helps to provide references of your work in a short and succinct way. In one quick glance, the website owner or any other platform can quickly become familiar with your name and your previous experience along with your important links and other interests. By providing a list of all your works in a chronological order, you can provide interesting information to the reader.
  3. An author bio can also provide you with a means of linking your other work to the biography. You can provide links to any other website that can promote your business or service. Thus, an author bio can provide you with a bigger Internet marketing campaign, as these can benefit your SEO campaigns. You can link to any one page or to different sites, according to the author guidelines. Many blogs that ask freelancers to write for them do not like the bio to look like a spam or trash, so you should try to look more professional and only use the links that you have been allowed according to the particular blog or site guidelines.
  4. You can reveal your personality in your author bio, as it communicates the kind of person you really are. This is done in a way similar to how a business card is able to introduce you. Readers might remember more about you if they are presented with an author bio. Your personal information, such as your pets, the number of children you have, your marital status and so on could provide the perfect means of relating and connecting with the audience or readers.
  5. Another additional benefit of an author bio is that the readers can have an idea of what to expect from your writings. The tone and content of the bio could present a preview to your writings. If, for instance, there is a lot of humor and satire in your author bio, the reader or the editor can get an idea about your kind of writing and be sure that there will be humor in it. It creates a kind of positive expectation in the reader.

Linking Social Media Links to your Author bio

Traditionally, the author bio is seen at the bottom of the post, but in an extended author bio, you can also add social media links to the bio. You can also select the social media profile links to the pages, such as from Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Digg, AIM and other profile links. You might have written great content and rightly proud of it. But how do you enhance your profile in the author bio? The answer lines in promoting your profiles in the social media sites where you have shared your content. There are many plugins that are available allowing you to customize them and enabling you to add several social icons that they support, such as those mentioned above. It is great to write excellent content but you can really set yourself apart from others in a niche market, by promoting your social preferences. This can get you more followers from those who follow the link. You can also set yourself up as an authority in the particular niche.

Writing an Effective Author Bio – Seven Steps

This could be really fun once you get down to it.

  • First and foremost, identify the purpose for which you are writing the bio and try to keep in view the people or audience who are going to read it. If you are writing an author bio for a web page, you can make it semi formal. You could also add a bit of humor along with professional and personal details. You can describe your work and any new projects that you are working on.
  • Keep the information narrow. You may have plenty of interesting anecdotes to relate to your audience, but this is not the appropriate place to narrate all of them. You can mention past writing accomplishments. A few extraneous details are, however, allowed.
  • It would be better to choose the third person to write your author bio. This makes the author bio sound more objective, as though someone else has written about you. However, if you want to make it sound friendlier and more personal, you could use the first person.
  • You will have to start by mentioning your name and assume that the people reading your bio have no idea about who you are. Here, you can add what you are known for, what you do for a living. Be upfront on all these details and leave nothing to the imagination of your readers. State all this information in the first few lines of your bio. You can mention your accomplishments, but remember that this is not a resume and only include those that are relevant to the particular purpose or niche, and only if you have the necessary space. Don’t, however, stuff it with too many URLs or it will give the appearance of a link spammer. Of course, you can include links to your website or your blog, such as Twitter or Facebook page. Spread these links throughout the biography, rather than just listing them at the end.
  • Put in some human or personal traits. This helps readers to connect with you in a more intimate way. For instance, you could say, ‘when not glued to the computer screen, he usually potters around in the garden or watches his favorite soap on television.’
  • Don’t forget to include your contact information at the end. You can also include your email address. Keep the bio limited to about 250 words, or you might end up making it boring.
  • You will surely need to proofread and revise the entire work and see whether there is any information that you have inadvertently left out. Keep your author bio up to date by revising it once in a while. In this way, you can use it again and again.

Author Bios – Some Eminent Examples

I can share a few interesting examples of author bios that could give you an idea of making your own bio more interesting and impressive. Descriptions should be straightforward without any spin or hyperbole. Mention any awards or any other prestigious publications that you had but there is no need of excessive use of adjectives. A writer needs to maintain some amount of dignity in his author bios, so just state your case simple but effectively. You will need to tweak it a little every now and then in order to include any other successes that you may have had in your career.

‘Tom Jasper is an enthusiastic blogger who loves to talk about the latest technology. He is also Editor of his own blog – Creativetinkering – through which he shares some arresting and fascinating insights into the world of technology. He has gleaned a lot of information from his forays in the Internet.’

The author of the above post is Samuel Jackson.

Samuel Jackson is 31 years old and an experienced blogger as well as freelance writer. He spends a lot of time working on a wide range of topics. In his free time, he is a tennis enthusiast. He also likes to generally hang around with his pals and listening to music. Do send him an email or feel free to contact him at excitingworld@yahoo.com’

‘James Cook is the founder and the principal editor of FiveStages. He is also known as a great web developer and specializes in writing about and developing web designs, such as HTML and JavaScript. He has exceptional book writing talents. Contact him on FiveStages@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter.’

‘Denise Adams has been working on challenging write-ups for the past six years. She provides services for ghost editing and ghost writing. She has an excellent educational background (give details of education and your experience). You can have ample evidence of the nature of her writings at freelance.com and freedesk.com (provide links where your work can be seen). She is also adept at preparing resumes for those looking to change their careers. Learn more about the services offered by her at Education.com (give your website or blog id).’

‘Jane Mathew writes the most impressive articles for SEO. If your business wants see its pages ranking high in Google search engines, you can contact her on (give your email address or your blog site address). Her articles are extremely focused and are the perfect example of a fine balancing act between an entertaining read and a fulfillment of SEO needs. Grow your business by visiting her blog at (give your blog or website address)’

‘If the space is too short, try this one: Jane Mathew offers services of SEO articles, eBook and content writing along with ghostwriting and services for resumes through her website (give contact id of your website or blog)’

‘Sara Lee has been a health writer as well as a columnist in leading newspapers and journals (give names and details). She is from New York and lives in the suburbs. Her first novel was (give the name of the novel) which was termed as the most auspicious debut by newspapers. Emotional, riveting and engrossing were the other terms used for her writing.’

‘Katy Simpson was raised in Utah and graduated in the year 2002 from (mention the school). She then entered the State University (mention name) that very year and majored in English (the subject). She serendipitously stumbled into a course in freelance writing. She found she enjoys the challenge of creativity and has a great attention for details. She is the author of (give names of books) and the forthcoming (give details of any forthcoming publication). She also maintains a Facebook page in order to network with her close friends as well as her numerous fans and readers, with whom she shares her love for writing and other interests at (give blog or website address).’

‘A successful writer and freelancer, Christy Colins’ articles are published in (give names of magazines or website links). She frequently contributes to blogs, websites and magazines. Additionally, she is also the main editor of her blog (give your blog id). Her articles and write-ups continue to be accepted on a nationwide basis. She also offers several presentations and workshops for students and those interested at (give blog or website address). She has tight writing skills due to her news reporting background. She has just the right words you need.’

‘If you have no publishing credits, you can just write about organizations that you are a member of. For instance, Sarah Mackenzie is an accomplished writer and journalist. She has to her credit several writings at (mention blogs or websites where your posts appear on a regular basis). She is also the member of ACFW and SCBWI. In her spare time, she tries her hand at cooking (she’s a bit of a gourmet) and also reads science fiction. She is also an amateur photographer. Catch some of her wildlife photographs at (mention your blog or site) and follows politics obsessively. She has two lovely daughters, who are also writers in their own right.’

What You Should Avoid

There are some things that an author bio should steer clear of. Sites like Twitter allow the author an opportunity to list one link with the bio. Here’s where most authors cross the line. Don’t stuff the bio with several links, or you might just come off as a link spammer. Such tactics will scream the word ‘desperate amateur’. Another thing, don’t put your day job in your bio. I once did that stating that I was a marketing professional. You wouldn’t believe it but I got an email saying “Who cares if you are a marketing professional”. Of course, it was rude, but your day job truly has nothing to do with your writing, and should be mentioned only if it is related to the subject matter. Sometimes, less is more and you don’t need to literally list out all your activities, articles and contributions.

Conclusion

An author bio is a written account of the author narrating events and other details of his professional or even personal life. It is actually just an introduction about a writer and appears at the end of a post in a blog or website. It also helps the author to get more traffic to his blog or website, as he can post links in his author bio. This should, however, be done discreetly and not look like link spamming. You need to sell yourself as an author and as a writer; you should always remember that you are your own product. You need to come up with a bio that will increase your chances of publishing more articles and write-ups. There are several steps to be followed in writing an effective and impressive author bio, such as giving a proper introduction, links, personal information. It can actually be an advertisement for your work and create the right expectations in the reader.

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3 Comments

  1. Good points Jay.

    I think you do have to be careful about adding links since many sites limit how many personal links you can include.

    Your examples are great!

  2. Author bios are good for connecting up to your social sites especially Google Plus to show an image next to your google search results. Thanks

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