You’ve just finished your masterpiece and are about to send it off to that magical world, The Land Of The Publishing Industry. You have done your homework and have edited it with a fine-tooth comb. Now what?
You must prepare an author bio to knock the editor’s socks off. Your manuscript cannot stand alone. Along with an impressive cover letter and query, your manuscript must include an author bio.
As an already established author, you’ve probably saved your bio in a file updating it as you go. As an unpublished author, it’s hard to know the exact way to go about doing this. I’ll show you the tricks of the trade to send off an impressive bio even if you’ve never been published before.
ALWAYS WRITE IN THIRD PERSON
To begin your bio, always remember to write in third person. Many professional authors, I for one, know that this is the correct way to write your bio. This makes it more presentable to the publisher. It also allows your readers to distance themselves and not be intimidated.
YOUR OPENING SENTENCE
This is where you sell yourself to the editor. Your opening line is your introduction, the first thing the editor notices. This line can make you or break you.
I start out by stating, “Dorothy Thompson is a freelancer, online journal editor, e-book author…” State your name and who you are. Never mention your personal life, just your professional titles.
If you write, “Hi! I’m Jane Doe and a housewife from Minneapolis,” you are already looked upon as unprofessional. No editor wants to hear this. They simply do not care.
No credentials? No problem. There are ways for even a first-time writer to wing it. Let’s say you’ve written a poem about your dog that perhaps saved a drowning boy’s life. First of all, you’re already a freelancer because you’re sending this article to a publisher. Second, you are a poet because this is a poem. Now, you can say, “Jane Doe is a freelance writer and poet.” Sounds better, doesn’t it?
JOIN WRITING CRITIQUE GROUPS
Are you a member of a writing group, online or otherwise? If not, join today! This is very important for a first-time writer with no bylines. An editor will take notice if you are a member of a writing or critique group, as this tells them you have an interest in perfecting your craft.
There are several places online to find a writing group. One good place to look is Yahoo!. Go to Yahoo! Groups and look for Entertainment & Arts. Look under “books,” then “writing.” Peruse the groups, as there are literally over a thousand groups listed here. Join as many as you want. Be careful on the amount of groups you sign up for, for it will take up much of your email space.
Another plus in an editor’s eyes is your affiliation with writers’ organizations. Where to find them? One way is to go to one of your writer’s groups and ask. Many writers in these groups are already associated with several organizations and they can give you advice on which ones to join.
Another way to find out is to put “writer organizations” in search. I went to Yahoo! and put writer organizations in search and this is what I found. At the time of this writing, Yahoo! included 23 categories and 298 Web sites for writer organizations. They included:
- Writers Guild of America
- Society of Children’s Book Writers And Illustrators
- Writers Center
- National Writers Union
- American Society of Journalists and Authors
- Romance Writers of America
Most have yearly fees so be prepared for that. This should not defray you. One particular writer organization I know is so well respected by editors and publishers that that one byline is all you need for an instant passport to publication.
An unpublished author has to always remember that you are your own product. You have got to sell yourself. By following the above suggestions, I can guarantee you will come up with an author bio that will knock the editor’s socks off and up your chances of becoming a published author.
Dorothy Thompson is the author of No More Gooseberry Pie!, a children’s ebook. She has also been inducted into the Children’s Ebook Hall Of Fame.