Page Up Ep #16: Advice for Writing Author Bios that Rock
A well-crafted bio is essential for every author and expert and there is a simple formula to follow to make sure your bio has all the right elements. But don’t skip out on the mindset work required to FEEL as awesome about your bio as it reads.
In this episode you will learn:
- The big grammatical mistake many people make when writing their bio
- How to write a bio that really connects with your readers and gets them curious about hiring you
- The essential elements that need to go into any bio
- What to LEAVE out of your bio so you don’t alienate your readers talk them out of connecting with you
- A secret extra Law of Attraction hack you can use with your bio to boost your career and sales.
Featured on the Show:
My bio – Short and Long versions/ 3rd person – Angela Bio June 2015-3
Listen To The Show:
Full Episode Transcript:
You’re listening to page up with Dr. Angela Lauria Episode 16 advice for writing author BIOS rock.
Welcome to page up a podcast for authors and transformation, featuring advice on the basic fundamentals of selecting a book topic and overcoming writer’s block to advance techniques for publishing and marketing nonfiction books. Now, get ready to press page up on your book with your host, best selling author and publisher, Dr. Angela Lauria.
All right, everybody. Are you ready to get serious about your author bio? I have to tell you, this one surprises me. I thought BIOS were super straightforward. I never thought anyone would have questions about this. And this is one of the things that our authors get hung up on. We asked for BIOS right at the end of the process. I’m thinking it’s going to take them five minutes to grab a file from their computer button. know it’s days and days of nagging and hounding What should I put in my bio? So I sat down to prepare for this podcast because I wondered, why is this so easy for me? I don’t know, I’ve always just thrown BIOS together. And I haven’t really thought too much about it. But I know for a lot of people, especially people who have diverse careers or lots of interest, it becomes sort of an identity issue. Like, who am I who do I want to be in this bio?
So step number two from the difference process is to identify your voice. So the first thing I want you to know is, if your book is a love letter to one person, which is what I suggest, then your bio needs to reflect who you are in that relationship. So if you won the Nobel Prize in Physics, and your goal is To be a raw food nutrition coach, you don’t need to mention the whole physics thing. You may have some amazing accolades, which is fantastic. But those do not need to go into the bio, what needs to go into the bio is what you want your relationship with them to be. So let’s just start right there before you write your bio, make sure you know who you are in relation to your ideal reader. And all of the questions and all of the steps I’m about to walk you through. I want it filtered through that lens. Okay, so that’s the first thing I’m not going to come back to that. But I want you to remember you could write the best bio in the world. For your career as a flight attendant, that is probably not relevant to your book unless your book is a you know, tips from a flight attendant, you know, tips on how to fly and not have jet lag or something from a flight attendant. So does that make sense? Awesome. All right.
Next thing I want you to think about is that you’re going to need a couple versions of your BIOS. So I have four versions I’m going to tell you about. I have a short version, which is 50 words, that goes at the end of my newsletter. It goes in a lot of the databases that have a short field for that and anywhere, like if I’m not usually for speech introductions, but anywhere that I’m copy pasting it into a form for like an application. A lot of times I’ll use that short form like an application to speak or be on someone’s podcast, that sort of thing. Okay, the second version that I do is a long version, that’s 250 words. And so, that one with the 250 words that I call my long bio, now,
I like these in third person. So basically my bio is Angela has been helping life coaches, birth books, whatever it says. Angela has been helping authors birth books since 1994, something like that. Um, so I talk about myself in third person. I’ve noticed a lot of people like a first person bio, so you may want four versions instead of two. You may want a short and a long first person In a short and a long third person. And the reason why I say that is, if you like the feel of First Person, great, but there are going to be some places where you want. Like, let’s say you’re speaking at a TELUS summit, and everybody has third person BIOS, you’re gonna want yours to be in line with that. So just keep that in mind at least two versions, maybe four. Awesome.
Alright, so the next part of writing a bio is just to make a list of the things that you might want to include in terms of accomplishments. So for instance, you can think about degrees. That’s an obvious one. Obviously, if you’ve already written a book, you want to write that down. Just make a list for now Don’t worry about structuring it. Even if you haven’t finished your book, I might say author of The forthcoming. So you might want to have a working title at least that you can change. Have you been in the press? So I would list any places where you’ve been quoted in the media. You can think about places where you’ve spoken and one thing to think about is on the stage where you spoke, who was the most famous speaker, as you can say, has been featured with and then name that famous speaker that you were shared the stage with you if you have any awards, so for instance, I was voted the empowerment Coach of the Year by the coach Coaching Academy of North America. So I think that one goes in my long bio anyway, certifications, that would be relevant. And then I like to think of some metrics. So at one point I had in my bio has interviewed over 100 authors who have made a difference, something like that. So you can think about some metrics, you know, has generated. This one is going to go in my bio, I’m going to do a little law of attraction with you guys right now, has generated over a million dollars in royalties for authors who she has published. That, as many of you may know, is my 2020 goal. So by 2020, I want to have paid out a million dollars in royalties, and that will be in my bio. This is a great law of attraction exercise. By the way, if you just want to write your bio for five years from now, do that too. That’s a separate podcast, but that’s pretty I just got all excited about that. I’m going to write my bio. Oh my goodness, I can’t wait to do that now. Okay. Anyway, back to this If there is any one of the things in my bio, because I don’t do a lot of press, but my clients are seen in, you know, bride magazine, oh, MSNBC Inc, CNN, the Daily Mirror of God, my my clients are kind of seen in lots of major media. And so one of the things that I would recommend is what are some of the accomplishments your clients have had? So that’s another idea.
Okay, so when you make that list, you can call that brags or accomplishments. And the next list of things that you can include are just any personal things that you might want to include. This can be a short list. So I mentioned that I live in Washington DC because it’s the best city in the world. So other people Note that, um, I love my town, I list my child and my cat. Mostly my cat is in there for humor, which we’re going to talk about in a minute. Although I am a big fan of my cat. Um, so any other client related accomplishments that you might want to put in your demographics. Mike has worked for three fortune 500 companies or has taken five startups public or I just had one and then it went out of my head.
But yeah, anything in terms of demographics related to where you’ve worked. Okay. Those are the things you’re going to need. The next thing that you’re going to do is you’re going to put them together, starting with these braggs. So put those braggs into an order and think about your ideal reader. And what order might kind of make them most excited going with that what’s in it for them principle. So start with the achievements that will give them the most confidence in you. So usually, for me, that’s the results of my clients, has published over 100 authors in 14 months and got them to bestseller status that would be at the beginning. Then we might go into the certifications, and then we might go into your awards or your publications. Okay, if you wrote a book, another book that’s on a similar topic, I would put it near the front of your bio So it might say, Michelle is an author and an expert, whose book, um, how to be happier. went to number one on the Amazon charts within hours of its release. And then you can go into the next bio, I think she’s helped over, you know, 100 people be happier with her 90 day with her signature 90 day program. She’s certified by the ICF, Coaches Association, whatever you’re certified by, and has degrees from, you know, Harvard and the University of Michigan. Okay, so start off with the book, if it’s related to your program.
Now, if you, like my book before this one was about using theatre for social change. Which isn’t really relevant to exactly what I do. I mean, of course, it helps me, but it’s not exactly relevant. So in that case, I would put it at the end. So if you, you know, we’re the co author and, you know, a book about I don’t know, raising ostriches, and it’s really not totally spot on, I put it at the end. Unless you’re helping people raise ostriches. I don’t know what the hell but there you go. Okay. Then at the end. At the end, you’ll add those demographics. So Angela lives in Washington DC with her child and their dog. Okay. Um, I try and interspersed pronouns and the name. So I might start with Angela is a best selling author and publisher, and then the next sentence might start, she has helped over 100 People publish their book. And then I might say in 1999, Angela received her degree from whatever I actually didn’t receive a degree in 1999. In 2000, she received her master’s degree from the George Washington University in communications. And in 2005, she received a PhD from the European graduate school. So I’m using she there. So just going back and forth between the pronoun and the name. Also, sometimes I get stuck a little bit on should I be Dr. Lauria, or should I be Angela and so just make that can make that decision and be consistent. I use Angela I think Dr. can be intimidating. But and I and Ms. Lauria would be a lie. So that feels weird. So I just go with Angela but just again, thinking about your ideal reader, what would make them you know, if you are a medical doctor and you have medical issues, In your book, I would use you know, Dr. Smith, my PhD is in philosophy so it seems a little pretentious to me to get all into the doctor this doctor that space. Okay, um, if you have any awards, you can put them there as well. Making sure you’re consistently keeping your bio updated. So if your bio says is the author of the forthcoming book, you know how to be happy, and then your book comes out, make sure you update that. Okay? And really look at other BIOS that you might like, you know, look at other BIOS for inspiration really, that’s a big thing that I do with our clients. We share. We share the bios of other clients and like a template form, but, I mean, the truth is there are lots of author BIOS out there. So, just find, find BIOS that you like and go through 20 or 30 BIOS and pull out the things that interest you that you might want to include in your bio.
The one thing I will recommend is to get your personality in there. So if you can include a joke or two, you know, I say Angela lives in Washington DC with her son and the world’s hungry his cat, I do actually believe my cat is the world’s hungriest cat. If you meet him, you can judge for yourself, but I’m pretty sure that’s the case. But really, it’s just in there for a little bit of color. So if you can make a joke, and I mean, look, that’s not the funniest joke in the world, right? But if you could make a joke and keep it light hearted, do that, but just do it once. Don’t write a comedy bio. Even if you have a funny book, you could be a little funnier, but really people just want to know, what do you do? You know, where do you live? What do you do? What’s your specialty? What are your credentials, and you know, you can be clever, but don’t kill the bio by trying to write a Madlib I would make sure at the end you include a website and probably your social media handles, so include those as well.
Um, and like I said, the primary two versions I would have are in third person. So if you do like that version I would keep that separately, maybe to put on your website if your whole website is in the AI format. But most speaking engagements or TELUS summits or things you’ll be invited to participate in, they really need your bio and third person, so even if that’s hard for you, write it in first person and then switch it over. Make sure your voice matches the voice in the flap copy. So we know it’s you. Right? We know.
We know that it’s, you know, the same author, we have that same vibe. A lot of people add near the end, you know, something like, well, when she’s not writing books, you’ll find her, you know, in her garden growing the world’s biggest pumpkin. You know, whatever it is you do outside of writing. So that’s another place to put. But again, keep this small, it’s just one or two interests to write one or two things when she isn’t, you know, doing actual writing or working with clients or whatever, she’s whatever. So those are really the highlights you want to include the name of your book, any past books you want. Want to include major accomplishments, awards press anything from your work history that might be relevant but not if it’s not your location. So your hometown or where you live now, maybe a little bit about your family, your education, maybe a comment or two. That’s funny about a hobby or what you’re doing when you’re not writing. And anything else again, in that connection category, you might add, like, for instance, somebody bio said split that I worked on set splits their time between Washington DC and Dublin, Ireland. So if there’s another location or some travel reference that you might want to connect with people, that’s another way to do it. And then finally, the link to your website, Facebook, Twitter or whatever other social media that you participate in. So that’s really it. There’s no need to be fancy. I will include my bio in the show notes.
So if you head over to the Author Incubator, the Author Incubator slash what episode Are we on here today, are we on episode 16. So the Author Incubator comm slash 16. I will include my long and short bio so that you can see them. And just one other side note for you guys, make sure you have professional photos done. I have to tell you, I see so many terrible photos with people’s BIOS. It is well worth the investment to get a professional photo to go with your bio. So I’m not going to include mine. You can see them all over the website. I’m sick of looking at pictures of me. Um, but I will include my bio, so you can use that as a template. Hopefully these instructions will help you to put a bio together. And what I’d love you to do is create your bio and post it in the comments. So everyone else can see it and they can learn from you and make sure you include links to yourself in social media and on your website so we can all follow you. So that’s it for this episode of page up, head on over to the Author Incubator comm slash 16 for the show notes, and if you haven’t already, check out book journeys radio, you can subscribe to it in iTunes, just search for book journeys. Or you can go right to my homepage at the Author Incubator and there is a link at the bottom of the page for book journeys. On book journeys, I interview authors about their experience of making a difference with their book and so tune into those interviews. Review shows and subscribe to that podcast as well. We’d love to catch you over there. We do those every Thursday, these come out every Tuesday, so you can get a double shot twice a week of me.
Hopefully, I will be over my cold the next time we talk, but I really appreciate you being here.
And I’m really, really super excited to read your BIOS. So definitely post them over in the show notes and we will talk to you guys soon. We’ll be back here next week, changing the world one book at a time.
This has been another episode of Page Up, where we help nonfiction authors write a book that makes the difference. If you like the show today, be sure to tell a friend and leave us a review on iTunes. Check out houses to show book Johnny’s also on iTunes. And don’t forget to sign up for our mailing list at WWW dot the author incubator.com where you can learn more about how you can get