Monday, January 21, 2013

Advice on Writing an Author Bio from Rachelle Gardner

Writers: Are you having trouble putting together a short, concise bio for your book proposal? I hate to admit that it’s one of the greatest challenges I’ve had in recent years when preparing to pitch. How do you capsulize everything you are as a writer, and still tell enough about yourself to interest prospective editors or agents?

A while back, my agent Rachelle Gardner (Books & Such Literary Agency) put together a list of tips on this subject that I’ve found extremely helpful. With Rachelle’s permission, I’m going to share them with you now.
  • Write your bio in first person for query letters, third person for most other purposes including proposals, book jackets, article bylines.
  • Make it professional but you also need to convey personality and writing style. Don’t try too hard to be funny, but include something that makes you seem like a real person.
  • What gives you credibility? What makes you interesting? What helps people connect with you? (When you’re on Twitter, Facebook or your blog, what kinds of posts seem to get the most comments?) These are things you can briefly include.
  • If your book centers on something specific—the Civil War, for example—are you a member of a Civil War society? Have you published any articles in historical journals? Include that.
  • Try not to include too much “resumé” type information–education, job history, etc. because it tends to be boring. Only include what’s relevant to the book you’re pitching.
  • As you write a bio, consider carefully the purpose of the bio – who is the audience? Is it agents and editors? Is it your blog readers? Tailor it to this audience.
Rachelle also suggests reading the author bios in a couple of dozen books, paying close attention to the things you like and don’t like. I've done that a time or two when updating my bio. 

An additional tip that I can offer is to find the rhythm of your voice and use it in your biographical text. For instance, when writing my bio for the promotional material for a lighthearted devotional called Delight Yourself in the Lord...Even on Bad Hair Days, I added one short sentence that displayed the spirit of my writing: Sandra D. Bricker states that she hasn't seen a good hair day in more than twenty years.

Rachelle also encourages authors to compose several bios of varied lengths and save them to an author file so that they’re handy when needed. Speaking from experience, I can tell you this is a really helpful suggestion!

For additional information about nearly anything you can imagine in regard to the publishing industry, Rachelle’s blog (named multiple years by Writer’s Digest in their list of 101 Best Websites for Writers) is a wonderful source. 

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Sandra D. Bricker is a best-selling and award-winning author of laugh-out-loud romantic comedy for the Christian market. Her most popular series (that started with Always the Baker Never the Bride) will conclude this spring with Always the Baker FINALLY the Bride, which is now available for pre-order at Amazon and Christianbook.


Heather Day Gilbert said...

Rachelle had a great idea about having the varied-length bios. Sometimes you need something shorter for guest blogposts, etc. And love your hair day comment in your bio, Sandra! Fun!

Maryann Miller said...

Very helpful post. I like the suggestion to tailor the style to fit where the bio is going. I have several variations of a bio that I use depending on if it is for writing or something else.

Paola said...

Thanks Rachelle,
I have taken so many points from here. thanks for these information. i have also learned about screenwriting, screenplay, movies, independent film, film industry, film festivals. ;)

Also you can find this here -