Being an author or writer should mean that by profession, it endows one with imagination, creativity, inventiveness and above all, grammatical and orthographical accuracy.
This may be true of the stories that are written, and then well-edited before publication. But sadly, it is rarely true of author bios on the Internet and social media.
So many author bios I see are the antithesis of these literary qualities. It’s the use of very tired phrases that becomes so boring.
Most use unimaginative and tired clichés, such as inspirational author, debut author, author of book title, published author, I am an author, author of books, budding author, award-winning author and the worst of them all, which is usually a little stretch of the truth, USA and international bestselling author.
Then there are the bios that try to cover all bases in one hit
Author, writer, novelist, poet, editor, proofreader and publisher.
Quite a list of skills for one person.
At least, there are no tired cliches. But the self-published author would probably be much more accurate and informative.
One rule I follow to the letter on the Internet and social media is that I never follow an account or blog that has been written by a writter, an authour, a novilist or an aspired author.
Nor will I follow an author of two book, or one books, a playrite or those who think that free lance writer is three words and not two.
Surprisingly, these little errors keep me from following far too many, who lose all credibility immediately, and really should learn to use a spell-checker or dictionary before embarrassing themselves in public.
Very often, these silly typos occur because the bio was written in haste, directly into an online text box. Never, never, never do this.
Always write your bio in a word processor, check it meticulously, save it, and then copy and paste it online once you are absolutely sure it is perfect.
Short and sweet
A short bio is something that causes many writers great difficulty, but it is much easier to write if you think first about the primary reason for writing it.
It is to catch attention very quickly and encourage people, in those few short words and seconds, that you are interesting enough to investigate further.
One example of a great little bio is Neil Gaiman on Twitter.
..will eventually grow up and get a real job. Until then, will keep making things up and writing them down.
Another one that I like is Mark Coker. Especially the squirrel part.
Founder of Smashwords, an ebook distributor. Also angel investor, gardener, hiker, battler of squirrels, dreamer, doer, co-author of Boob Tube.
Lastly, a clever bio by Peter Welmerink, which caught my attention and had me following immediately.
Battling crimes against Quality by day, writer by night. Family man. Lunatic with a non-stop imagination.
All three of these bios have one common quality. They attract attention and interest in just the couple of seconds it takes to read them.
At the same time, they are informative and make it quite clear what they do, without the need to use tired old clichés or a list of bragging rights.
One other similarity is that none of them uses the verb to be. Now there’s a writing tip perhaps!
Make people curious by writing just a few words that are constructed with the sole intent of attracting their interest and they will be following you and discovering your books soon enough.
Is it time to revisit your author bio and use your imagination, creativity and inventiveness this time around?
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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