So, you’ve finished the next great American novel. Or the next great American top-ten listicle. Now it’s time to talk about the next step: writing your author bio.
While we writers love nothing more than to talk about ourselves and our accomplishments, there is a fine art to writing the perfect author bio. It’s more than just mentioning you like walks on the beach and teacup chihuahuas. While that might work for dating apps, with your author bio you’re not (usually) trying to pick up a date, but you are trying to lend some credibility to the story, article, or essay you’ve written.
So, here’s some advice on what you absolutely shouldn’t do with your bio.
- Don’t humblebrag.
I know, that’s practically what a writer’s bio is for, right? But no, this isn’t the place for humility. Don’t try to couch your accomplishments in false modesty, like, “She wishes she was a successful lawyer, but she is only a prize-winning blogger.”
Just brag, people! At least, about the stuff that’s relevant to the piece. If you have a slew of credentials on your topic, or your writing in general has won awards and recognition, show that off without pretending it’s no big deal. It’s a big deal. And your readers want to know you have some credentials to talk about.
- Don’t be vague or mysterious for no reason.
Note: I said “for no reason.” If you are, say, a mystery writer, this is the perfect time to be mysterious!
- Don’t be too detailed.
Look, if you are really hitting the big time in your field, maybe you’ll acquire a stalker or two. Do you really want to list your home address and favorite taco place? And would anyone short of a stalker even want to know those things?When crafting a writer bio, don't be vague and mysterious for no reason. Unless you're a mystery writer; this is the perfect time to be mysterious. #humor Click To Tweet
- Don’t be boring.
If your life is boring (and chances are, if you’ve decided you want to be a writer, it largely consists of staring at your computer), just stick to the facts. You went to such and such school, earned such and such degree, own a cat or five. No one really wants to know how much Netflix you watch or about that reoccuring dream you have—not even your mom.
- Don’t be too precious.
Look, we get it, we love watching British TV too, but don’t let precious Britishisms sneak into your bio (unless, perhaps, that is what you’re writing about). And don’t try to be coy or overly cute. You aren’t flirting with the readers. Once again: this isn’t a dating app.
So, what exactly should you include in your bio? Here are some helpful tips to get you started:
- If you have pets, mention them.
Everyone loves pets. Even axolotls. Just don’t list their names and personality traits (see Don’t be too boring above).A well-crafted author bio should make you sound both professional and definitely not like a crazy person who lives hunched over the keyboard in their pajamas. #humor Click To Tweet
- If you have kids, mention that too.
Most everyone also loves kids. And being a parent is a big accomplishment and shows you have patience, fortitude, and a life outside of writing. Just don’t list their social security numbers, bedtime rituals, and all the names of their imaginary friends (see Don’t be too detailed above).
- Praise your significant other.
People want to know if you have a stable relationship. It allows them to fantasize about someday having one themselves. Feel free to mention your significant other’s name—and you win serious points with them if you mention how supportive and loving they are. (Note: This does not apply to exes. Don’t use your bio to get revenge or try to win back past lovers.)
- Mention your hobbies!
Especially ones that may be relevant to your work. If you write about gardening, for instance, mention that you keep a lovely patch of nightshade behind your house. Your hobbies may just lend more personality and humanize you to your audience. Do you cook? Paint? Play an instrument? Participate in a sport? Make tiny personalized dolls of your loved ones? Mention those things! Except that last one—that’s terrifying. Don’t mention terrifying hobbies.
- List your accolades and prior work.
(See Don’t humblebrag above.) Be proud of what you’ve done and accomplished. Unless they are things you simply can’t take pride in. For example, publishing a piece to your personal blog that even your best friend didn’t read may not be the best thing to include in your bio.
Hopefully, you now have an idea of how to write the perfect bio to make you sound both professional and definitely not like a crazy person who sits in their pajamas all day, hunched over a keyboard.
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About the Author
Karly is definitely not a crazy person who sits in her pajamas all day hunched over a keyboard.