Five Weak Words Authors Should Avoid Using In Bios

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Five Weak Words Authors Should Avoid Using In Bios

Your author bio is everywhere, so don’t ruin your author image by using overused, trite and hackneyed vocabulary

Choosing powerful words in your author bio to send the right message is vitally important in building your author platform and reputation.

However, making the mistake of following the crowd and using worn out clichés and habitually collocated adjectives and adverbs is a big mistake.

Included in my short list are words (and a prefix) that you may think, honestly tell the world about you, but in fact, they can be misconstrued. There are always better words to use, which carry a more convincing message.

There are too many weak words to list in one blog post, but below are my five killer weak words that can only do damage to your author bio, and therefore your reputation.


1. Currently

This is an adverb that I have noticed appearing in many author bios in recent months.

Firstly, it’s extremely weak, and secondly, the word has the sense of only being now and very temporary.

So by stating that you are “currently an ebook author”, makes it sound as if it’s all a passing phase, and that you are not serious at all.

This is one word that should never be used in an author bio.

Why not simply say, “ebook author” and drop the redundant adverb.


2. Ex

This prefix always sounds like you are a failure, which is not what you want readers to think. Ex-FBI Agent, ex-banker or ex-journalist all sound as if you were hopeless at what you did and that you were fired.

By using ex, you are probably trying to portray experience, so why not use that word instead? Experienced FBI agent, experienced banker or experienced journalist are all still true, but they send a much more positive impression.


3. Aspiring

Ouch! If I see this adjective in an author bio one more time, I think I’ll puke.

It smacks of being unimaginative, boring and having no idea at all about what message you are trying to send to potential readers, other than that you use very weak vocabulary.

Inspiring, aspiring, budding and inspirational? Why not respiring, perspiring or tiring? Use some imagination, and avoid joining the “couldn’t be bothered looking for a better word” bunch.


4. Dreamer

Writer and Dreamer. These three words will have you joining the extremely long list of authors, who love using tired old clichés because they are too lazy to use an ounce of imagination.

Potential readers are not silly, so they will probably expect the same lazy use of tired clichés in your writing. Go on, be daring and try something new and original. Writer on the edge? Daredevil writer? Writer and an absolute wonder with clever words?


5. Retired

There are a lot of people who are discovering the pleasure of writing and self-publishing in their retirement. But you really don’t have to tell the world the whole truth.

Retired sounds old, bored and having nothing else to do. Drop this word, and like ex above, use words that send a message of experience.

Retired policeman? Why not say, versed in the criminal mind? A retired banker? Perhaps, a battle-scarred financial expert.

As I said at the beginning of this post, there are so many tired, overused and redundant words that can ruin an author bio.

All it takes is a little imagination to write a powerful bio that will help you connect with readers.

So, get out your thesaurus, check some well-known authors’ bios and get to work. It will only take half an hour to make a huge difference to how you are perceived as an author.

Be you, but above all, be original.


More reading: Fail Again, Fail Better? Does It Mean You Will Fail Worse?


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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

7 thoughts on “Five Weak Words Authors Should Avoid Using In Bios

  • I just whacked “aspiring” from ,my tagline on FB and Twitter.

    I think the basic concept is this. You either are a writer or you are not. People are binary. Keep it simple.

    Aspiring implies you are trying to be, but are not quite there.

    I don’t want to read something from somebody trying to be, I want to read something by a writer.

  • The adverb currently drives me nuts. Always totally redundant and unnecessary.

  • I do understand this though.
    Why use “Currently living” when living does just fine?
    Why use aspiring, when you should act like you are a writer. You may not be a professional one yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t write your profile like one. You have made me think about my own professional summary and I am going to rewrite it. Thank you!

  • Question:
    Why should I look for any other word but Aspiring, when aspiring tells me everything I ever need to know about what a person is trying to do?

  • Oh dear, I use ‘ex’ and retired. I thought I was demonstrating my experience and my age group as the books I write often include instances from my working life and probably do not appeal to under 35s (except for the last one, which might act as a contrast with how relationships are today)
    Now I can sit down and rewrite my bio as suggested!

  • This is so true… I have nothing against Twitter and Pinterest users that use words like “writer and dreamer” or “wannabe novelist” but it is something that catches my eye. Awesome post!


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