One Writer’s Journey

April 17, 2017

Author’s Bio: Three Tips for Combining Business + Fun

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 3:45 am
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I think it may have had something to do with my mood when I got the message.  The e-sports book is heading into the final stages of production and they needed a bio now.

At the best of times, I loathe writing my bio.  Loathe.  In this case, I had 3 – 4 sentences.  For Abdo, I tend to have 50 words.  I need to say something about my body of work and my life and relate it all to the book in question whether that be the Ancient Maya, Trench Warfare or the Zika Virus.

But they needed something so I gave it my best. E-sports.  That, I reasoned, is computers. Computers are science . . . right?  So I could mention both of those in my bio.  But how to wrap it up?  I needed to relate the book to my life and I needed to find something about it all that would appeal to my reader.

I decided to have a little fun with it and eventually I sent them this:

“Sue Bradford Edwards is a Missouri nonfiction author who writes about science, culture and history.   Her books about science and computers include Women in Science and Hidden Human Computers: The Black Women of NASA. When she isn’t working, she games with her teen son although she’s not nearly as good as he is.”

This is the first time they’ve ever called my bio “perfect.” I’d love to say that I’ve discovered the perfect formula, but I think that I big part of it is that this was something I could approach using my own voice — educated and cheeky.  Here are three things to remember when you have to write your next bio:

  1. Go with details that relate to the book.  If you’ve written a book about sports, discuss earning your letter in track and field. If you’ve written history, discuss your love of history in general or that particular time period.
  2. Don’t forget to mention your other books.  You may not be able to include them all, but go with something recent and/or something that relates to this book.
  3. Include a kid friendly fact whenever possible.  I game which worked well for this book.  You could mention that you share your office space with your cat or a cockatoo.  Maybe you were an inventor when you were ten.

Writing your bio may not be fun, but customizing a bio for each book gives you the opportunity to create something that is a “perfect” match.



August 14, 2015

Bio: How to Write Your Author’s Bio

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:30 am
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authors bioRecently, I got a message from one of my students.  “Help!  I have to send in an author’s bio.  What to include?”

Step #1 is understanding what it is.  An author’s bio is a marketing tool.  It is a way to convince someone who is already reading your work to read more.  See, no pressure?

Once you understand that, here three tips to get you started.

Consider the piece it accompanies.  When my bio accompanies educational writing, I talk about my work in educational writing.  For my book, The Ancient Maya, I wrote about my background in anthropology.  For Black Lives Matter, I talked about living next to Ferguson.  Whether your bio accompanies an essay in an anthology or an educational book, you need to customize is for this particular piece.  Come up with other publications or something in your background that pairs well with this piece of writing. If this is an online piece, I make sure that I include a link to something else.

This isn’t just a reading list.  When you write your bio, give them more than just a list of your other sales.  Yes, you want them to read your work but you also need to include other information about you.  I’ve seen writers include information on their families, their pets and where they live.  Hobbies, other jobs and favorite foods are also fair game depending on what piece of work the bio accompanies.

Include something quirky.  Especially if this bio accompanies a piece of writing for children or teens, include something quirky or fun.  For a book on horses, I might tell them that I once wrote a piece on horse poop.  For the Maya book, I could include working on archaeological dig as a teenager.  Writing a book about careers?  Include some of your more interesting professions.  When one writer I know sells a piece of horror, he includes the fact that he was a gravedigger.

Write it in the third person.  In my case, I always start “Sue Bradford Edwards lives/writes/is …”  It takes a little getting used to but at this point I actually find it easier to write my bio in third person.  It sounds less braggy.

It might talk more than one try to get it right but once you have some idea what to include there is no reason to let your bio intimidate you.



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