Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to write an writers bio

You have written and edited your story or poem. The competition comes and goes, but you miss the deadline date. Why? 

While running a writing group I have often seen people miss a deadline and I have put it down to lack of confidence. And sometimes that's true. However, over the years I have realised it's because some people don't have the basics ready and waiting on file.

If you don't have a bio and head shot DO IT NOW. I cannot stress how important it is for a writer to have this on file. It doesn't even need to be a good bio. The point is when a deadline looms it is easier to edit a couple of paragraphs than to write something from scratch.

Make a list of everything you do in the writing community and keep a note of it. You will forget. 

'No,' I hear you say. 'I'm proud of getting into that poetry anthology. And when I won third prize for a flash fiction competition I was so pleased I danced a jig.'

Yeah right! Write a list. Weeks turns to months. Months turns to years. And at 10:30 at night, an hour and half before the midnight email deadline, when you are looking at a blank page trying to write a bio, YOU WILL FORGET.

Have a brief bio and an author headshot photo (in jpg format) ready before you even start to look at where you can send submissions. If you look at any of the pages on websites you will see that everything more or less follows the same format.
The Bio (in the third person) should include: 
a) where you are from
b) a short list of publications in which your work has previously appeared
c) any books you have published
d) any awards you have won or been short-listed for
e) any other literary credits (editing work, writing schools attended, etc.)
f) any additional  information 

Next big sigh is the headshot. I hate having my photo taken to. Suck it up, and just do it. If you have a phobia of technology find a teenager. They will happily take a picture of you on their phone, crop it, remove red eye and send it to you in a jpg format for you to keep on file. You can find lots of teenagers outside shops at seven thirty at night who will perform this service for a Mars bar.

There is no excuse for you not to have these basics ready.

That includes people who are now saying, 'but I haven't had anything published.'

We all started that way.

You enjoy writing - that's the first line of your bio done for you. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to start? You get the idea.

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