ACWC Writers Blog

THE BIO – THE FRAGRANCE OF WHO YOU ARE
Saturday, September 3, 2016 by by Cindy Sproles

Your bio is the fragrance of who you are. So how do you smell?

Learning to write a solid and appropriate bio takes practice and there are a few rules that must apply.

Depending on who is doing the teaching, you’ll find there are at least three types of bios.  They’re all graced with unique names, but regardless of how you look at them, they’re still the same.  Bios are the essence of who you are and learning when and where pertinent information is to be used is important.

We’ll divide bios into three groups.

A Working Bio
A Professional Bio
A Simple Bio

THE WORKING BIO

A working bio is what you will see tacked to blogs and interviews. It’s relaxed but not silly. It’s informative but not “personal”. It’s not overdone and doesn’t list every work you’ve ever written. Oddly enough, the more seasoned a writer becomes, the less attention they pay to the accolades and the shorter their bios become. As a new writer, we sometimes feel we have to prove ourselves when truthfully, you don’t. The reader really isn’t impressed by long lists of published works. They are interested in the person. Simple and true. When you write your bio, keep this in mind. You don’t have to work to impress. Just tell the reader who you are. They’re already reading what you’ve written because they enjoy it. Let them know “you.” Readers are not interested in your life history, how you became a writer, or the knocks it took to get you there, so let them get to know the person behind the work.

Write your working bio with your primary work in the forefront. List what you currently do. Add a touch of credentialing so the reader sees you are qualified and then briefly share something personal – a hobby, your family, or something you enjoy. Make yourself real to the reader, not pasted up. Your working bio should be 50-75 words and you can go to 100 but remember, what you say needs to be pertinent to what the readers see. These bios are more relaxed and friendly.

The first rule of thumb for any bio is to understand they are ALWAYS written in 3rd person.
Jane Doe is a writer, living in New Jersey. She is the editor for Children’s Wordfest and is published in numerous magazines and blogs.

Photo courtesy jorgensundberg.net

Photo courtesy jorgensundberg.net

Bios are not written in 1st person.

My name is Jane Doe and I am a writer. I live in New Jersey and I am the editor for Children’s Wordfest. I’ve been published in Soul Magazine, Hearts Blooming Magazine, Christian Debut, Focus on the Family, CBN, Toys-r-Us, and Glee Kids Books.

Just an FYI: Readers do not need to know your children’s names, their ages, and when they were potty trained. Nor do they care how many pets you care for, their names, and/or antics. This is labeled as too much information. Simply stating: Jane is married and has 4 children is enough.

The Professional Bio

The professional bio is a different animal. This bio is generally found inside proposals, on more prestigious or academic works. The professional bio is used when credentialing is important. For example, publishers and academia will want to see your experience to get a grasp of your knowledge and experience. Inside a proposal, publishers will look at a professional bio to see what type of outreach a writer has (otherwise known as platform). What groups or individuals does this writer know or take part in who might be interested in their work.

In the professional bio you will want to list areas your work is published and where, however, you do not want to over do it. A professional bio can be much longer depending on what it’s use is. For high level jobs a very in-depth bio may be necessary. These bios can be up two pages – again, depending on what it’s required us is. For example:

Jane Doe is an author and speaker. She has her PhD in Physical Sciences and teaches at Northern State University. Jane has written for Science Today, Modern Uses of Physical Science, and in the New England Journal of Science. Her work focuses toward developing elementary textbooks and training science teachers to effectively apply physical sciences to everyday life. Jane lives with her family in Northern Maine. Her studies and teaching are utilized in teacher conferences across the nation.

From this bio, the readers see Jane is accomplished in her work and she is well-known. We see Jane’s professional work life and it’s clear and concise.

The Simple Bio

The simple bio is just that. Simple. Often called a tag bio, it’s a one or two line bio that sums the author up concisely. This bio is frequently found at the bottom of short magazine or newspaper articles. Like a synopsis, most authors would rather write a full novel over writing a simple bio or synopsis. It’s because it must be short and to the point, yet offer the important and necessary information.

For example:
Jane Doe is an author and nationally known speaker. Her work in the Physical Sciences is renowned and used internationally.

Now that you understand what a bio is – write one of each. Store these in files to be updated as your writing career progresses.

Photo courtesy jorgensundberg.net


Previous Posts

Assignment 6 - Creative Non-Fiction
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Assignment 5 - Don't Waste Your Conference Experience
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

January 31, Assignment 4 - Bring Your Characters to Life
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

January 24, Assignment Four - Time to Shoot the Weasel Words
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Assignment 3 - The Role of Speaker Tags and Beats
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Assignment 2 (2 of 2) Week of January 10
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

January 10, Assignment 2 (1 of 2 assignments)
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Assignment 1 - ACWC January 5 - Let's Start with a Bio
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Assignment 8 & 9 - Titles & Sentences - Nancy Lohr
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Assignment 7 - What in the World is a One Sheet - Andrea Merrell
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

February 1 - Assignments 5 & 6 - Linda Glaz
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Sensory Perception Enhances Your Writing - Assignment 4
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Don't Write Your Bio - Write WHY ME? - Assignment 3
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

How to Make the Most of Your Conference Experience - Assignment 2
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Appropriate Emails - [email protected] - Assignment 1
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

How Not to Get an Agent - Assignment 7
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

January 27 Assignment 5 -Storytelling Your Life Lessons
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

It's Not What You Know; It's Who You Know - Assignment 4
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Stay on Track with a Writing Schedule - Assignment 3
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Assignment 2 - Finding Speaker Topics
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

IMAGERY–WHEN THIS IS LIKE THAT
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Asheville Christian Writers Conference Privacy Policy
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

2018 Writers Charge
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Last Chance - Assignment 7
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

An Adjective Safari - Assignment 6
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Get in the Mood to Write - Assignment 5
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Getting Rid of “I” Disease - Assignment 3
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

Curb Your Adverb Addiction - Assignment 2
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

WHO ARE YOU? - Writing Your Bio
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

WRITING IN A PICKLE
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

THE NaNoWriMo CHALLENGE
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

BRINGING YOUR CHARACTERS TO LIFE
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

DON’T LET SPEAKER BEATS RUIN YOUR MANUSCRIPT
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

HOW TO CRAFT GREAT DIALOGUE
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

AVOID REPETITION AND WRITE TIGHT
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

THE QUOTATION QUOTA – ASSIGNMENT 2
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

ELIMINATE THE EXCLAMATION POINTS – ASSIGNMENT 1
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

WRITING ADVICE FROM MARK TWAIN: WRITE WITHOUT PAY UNTIL SOMEBODY OFFERS TO PAY
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

WHEN THE STORY STALLS IN THE MIDDLE
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

WHO REALLY SELLS YOUR BOOKS ?
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR 15-MINUTE APPOINTMENTS
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

ARRRGH! ANOTHER REJECTION – CINDY SPROLES
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

FROZEN IN PLACE – ICEY SELF-TALK TO FREEZE YOUR WRITING
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

THE BIO – THE FRAGRANCE OF WHO YOU ARE
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

THE PAIN OF UNSOLICITED
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

REDUNDANCY: AN EXCESSIVE, OPPRESSIVE, PERVASIVE DISEASE
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

7 THINGS TO DO NOW TO BE READY WHEN WRITING INSPIRATION STRIKES – EDIE MELSON
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR 15-MINUTE CONFERENCE APPOINTMENTS
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

WHY SHOULD I ATTEND THE ASHEVILLE CHRISTIAN WRITERS’ CONFERENCE?
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

YOU NEED A PLATFORM – LIVING A STORY- ASSIGNMENT 3
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

THE ONE SHEET
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016

OVER-EDIT?
by Cindy Sproles
9/3/2016