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Workshop Your Author Bio
Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 2:39 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

I'd love to get a conversation going where we talk about what makes for a great author bio. Here on Book Country, you input your bio into your member profile as well as on your book details page (under "About the Author").


Some qs to start us off:


What makes for a good author bio? What tone? How long should they be? First person or third person? How often should you update? Should you mention your day job? Your family? Where you are from?


Go ahead and post your own. I will start us off and you guys can tell me what I can do to make my author bio better.


Lucy Silag is the author of the Beautiful Americans trilogy of novels for young adults. She's also the director of Book Country, Penguin Random House's online writing community. She lives in New York City.

Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 2:57 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Hi, Lucy


Your bio sounds fine to me! Short and to the point. I'd omit 'of novels', though. That confused me and I had to reread the sentence to get it. My bio is:


Amber J. Wolfe lives in Michigan with her biological family, where she spends much of her time on the computer either working on someday-to-be published novels or browsing the internet for FAQs on how to be a better writer. She won a Future Author award in High-School--she's still wondering how that happened--and likes nothing better than to be sequestered in a quiet place reading juicy novels or writing her own.


I'm not published, so that's my bio for now. I think it works.


How long should bios be? No longer than 100 words, in my opinion. Any longer and it gets too bulky.


What makes for a good author bio? I'd say: Info on previous publications, a little bit about the author as a person, and something interesting about said author to entice readers to them. I believe third person is the most used theme for author bios. It's very rare for me to come across a first person author bio.


I'd update every time I have a serious publication. I wouldn't mention short stories unless 1), that's all I write, and 2), if it got critical acclaim.


Yes, you can mention your day job, where you live, etc. One sentence wouldn't hurt. If where you're from/your day job/your family is what qualifies you to write what you do, then all the more reason to mention it!



--edited by Amber J. Wolfe on 9/29/2015, 2:59 PM--

Lucy Silag - Book Country Director
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 3:03 PM
Joined: 6/7/2013
Posts: 1359

Amber, good point about the "of novels"!


I love your bio. But why is high school capitalized and connected with a dash? Your high school has fancier punctuation than mine did.


What about on Book Country? Do you think that on the profile page people should talk about themselves in the third person or first?

Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 3:14 PM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Huh. Good point about the capitalization and the dash. I'll go fix that right now . . .


Ah, the things our writer eyes miss.


As for on Book Country, I think writers can go either way--third person or first. I feel that third person is more professional, but that's just me.

DJ Lutz
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2015 5:02 PM
Joined: 4/27/2011
Posts: 130

I have a few versions of my bio. For BC, I decided first person would be more appropriate since it was for my profile and people would be interacting with me, the person. I write with a slightly humorous bent so my bio is similar in tone. My blog is my personal space so that bio is much more involved (in other words - lengthy.)It is also in first person, for the same reasoning mentioned above.


 For queries that ask for it, and for the short story that actually made it into a book, a third person and extremely short bio was required. Something like:


"DJ Lutz is the author of the Winnie Kepler culinary mystery series. He is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and the Hampton Roads Writers of Virginia Beach, Virgina. DJ and his wife live in Cape Charles, Virginia, located at the tip of the Delmarva Peninsula."


Short, sweet, and fits well into small, online database fields. Presents the product, the professional affiliations, and ends with a personal note.



Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2015 6:27 PM
Joined: 3/13/2014
Posts: 27

Why do you mention "biological" family? Just curious.
Amber J. Wolfe
Posted: Friday, October 2, 2015 12:34 AM
Joined: 7/24/2014
Posts: 539

Hi, hmjmdeleon


I put down 'biological' before family to let people know it's the family that birthed me, not a family I made for myself--husband, children, etc.


Did it confuse you? I can easily omit it.