"Required reading" for today's smart writer.

"Required reading" for today's smart writer.
Information & inspiration to hone your craft and increase your cash...Since 2009

Monday, April 30, 2012

5 Ways to Get More Bang From Your Bio!

It’s a small word with a big role.
Still, many writers underestimate its importance.
When created properly, a Bio can be an effective tool to enhance your writing image.
It should be considered the equivalent of a resume: it speaks volumes about your level of professionalism, accomplishments, and what you have to offer.
Not to mention, Bios, at their best, help to distinguish you from scores of other writers and bloggers, and gain attention from busy editors.

In fact, did you know that sometimes readers actually examine your Bio before deciding whether or not to fully read your material and heed your advice?

With this in mind, here’s how to make the most of yours:

1. Start by addressing the 5 basic questions of journalism:
who, what, when, where, why. Don’t make readers play 20 questions.
Approach it like you would an interview.

2. Make it brief but substantive.
Too much information, and you run the risk of being boring and braggadacious,(is that a word?). Too little and it fails to elicit enough interest.
Be sure to write tight, but highlight the most important aspects of your career.

3. Tailor the Bio to the cause and the publication.
For example, I have a different Bio for articles that I write for business publications than I do for pieces I pen for relationship columns. And an entirely different one for Blog gigs. And you should too.

4. Make it interesting.
Share something that’s unusual or contradictory in nature.
Like, say for instance, if you’re a writer who hated English in college. Or you‘re a man who writes primarily on female issues like pregnancy or shopping. Pretend like you’re a contestant on Jeopardy; seek to appeal to your audience quickly.

5. Add humor as part of the success equation.
Humor helps to make you more memorable, when applicable. And it also shows creativity and passion.

To sum it up, here's a useful acronym to keep in mind:


Thoughts? How do you beef up your BIO?

Image: Stock photo


  1. Great advice, as usual, Jen. I have a differen't take on the topic.

    I wrote an abbreviated bio for an anthology, and someone called to interview me because my poem was so appealing and my bio so sparse. The person was very interested in knowing more about me as a writer, and did an upcoming feature about me for an impressive website. Brevity instead of bragging paid off.

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 1, 2012 at 8:53 AM

      Smart strategy, Linda. Thanks for sharing this...and congrats!

  2. Thanks for this post Jennifer,

    It really has been very helpful,
    and I already actually made some improvements
    to my About Page.

    For what the - What - I do is concerned, now I tell more about what a visitor can expect from visiting my Blog, and that they can find Answers to Questions. (with also a link to a Practical FAQ-Page.)

    Maybe the intro is a little 'Over the Top' than again I do also have - besides 'Writing Vibes' - also still some 'Music Business Vibes' in me :)

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 1, 2012 at 8:55 AM


      Glad you found this useful. I appreciate your feedback. Thanks much.

  3. I love it that you mentioned humor - one of my favorite aspects of someone's bio when they choose to use it. And, yes, bragga ... you know, is a word. =0)

    1. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 1, 2012 at 8:56 AM

      Hi Susan,

      Good to hear from you today. And thanks for clearing that up. :-)

  4. Jennifer:
    I recently had to include a BIO with a submission. The site I submitted to gave me some guidelines to include. Thanks for pointing out our need for different BIO information based on the type of work we are submitting.

    1. quietspirit,

      Glad this was useful. Thanks for adding to the mix here. :-)

  5. Love this! I was writing a bio recently and drew a blank; I don't think it ended up being all that clever. Will remember this in the future. And yes, I think that braggadacious is a word, at least in blogland, anyway. :)

  6. Jennifer Brown BanksMay 1, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    Hey Karen,

    Practice makes perfect; keep at it! Your Bio should be as great as you are. :-)