When you submit stories, poems and articles to print publications, most will ask for a short autobiography. This brief statement shares your credentials, education, past publications and other qualifications. If you've never been published before, it might be challenging to come up with things to list in your bio. However, as a first-time author, you can write an attention-catching autobiography by discussing relevant educational and work experience, as well as joining professional organizations.
Knowing the conventions of a bio can save you time and extra drafts. Generally, bios for first-time writers run between 25 and 50 words, or two to three well-composed sentences, and are written in third-person. While they initially inform editors about your background, bios are often used to promote your work upon publication. A good sample bio might read, "Bob Peters teaches third grade in Columbus, Ohio. He enjoys writing historical fiction, poetry and participates in Civil War reenactments."
Even if you haven't been published, you might have more experience as a writer than you think. You bio can be as basic as stating your work's genre; if you are submitting a short story to a magazine, you can say you're a fiction writer. According to the Kansas Writers Association, you can also discuss experiences related to your specific project. If your work was inspired by time in the military, you might begin the bio, "Sarah Smith's five years in the Marines prepared her to write military fiction."
If you aren't published, getting involved with the writing world can be a great way to get credentials for your bio. Author Rachelle Gardner suggests joining a professional writing association, such as the American Society of Journalists and Authors. Attending a writer's conference like the Association of Writers and Publishers can also be a valuable experience as well as something to include on your bio. By participating in writing-related groups and events, you can also make professional connections, such as other writers and editors who can lead you to publishing opportunities.
Mentioning where you attended school and your area of study can also add information to your bio. A degree in a writing-related field is obviously relevant, but even if you studied another subject, it still adds insight into your experiences with language. For example, "Fred Jones studied computer science at Ohio University and writes poetry" says something about the author's area of interest. If your writing focuses on your educational field, your degree can also demonstrate your academic knowledge. For example, if you write articles about World War II, you might mention that you have a degree in European history.
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