by Joan Stewart
Why is it that some writers can describe themselves, their personalities, their likes and dislikes, and promote their expertise, in such a compelling way that you’re dying to know more about them?
And they do it all in only two or three sentences?
I’m referring to what’s known as the author resource box, the short 50 to 100-word paragraph that you write at the end of articles and blog posts, and on your social media profiles. Digital publishing practically requires that you have one.
So why not make it as compelling as possible?
I’ve been collecting dozens of these mini-profiles over the years and sharing them with clients who use me as a writing coach. Many of them struggle when it’s time to write about themselves.
I thought it would be fun to share some of the best ones with you, too, so you can see how easy it is to make yourself sound interesting. Authors, I’ve discovered, write some of the most boring bios.
What Makes a Sizzling Mini-Bio
1. No boring stats
The best bios include quirky trivia about the writer–things you’d never expect to see. Good writers don’t clutter up this precious space with information such as the types of college degrees they earned, and all previous jobs held. Leave that for LinkedIn.
Here’s an author resource box from Meredith Duran, an historical romance novelist:
If you want to know more about her, you can click through to her website.
2. Don’t feel restricted to writing complete sentences
Some writers start with a series of two-or three-word phrases that describe them, like this one from Amanda Hocking, the paranormal romance young-adult fiction author who sold more than $2 million in ebooks in one year.
Notice that at the end of the author resource box, she uses complete sentences to let readers know about her books.
3. Look at your Twitter bio for inspiration
With a limit of only 160 characters, many of us have managed to create some interesting Twitter profiles in a tiny amount of space.
Here’s a good example of a Twitter profile from Pia Mara Finkell that could also double as an author resource box. She’s a communications executive who has more than a decade of experience in public relations, marketing, social media and sales promotion in the wine, craft beer, spirits and gourmet food sectors.
4. Tell us about your pet
Pet’s names are right at home in author resource boxes. Here’s a good example of how Marquita Herald, an author and publisher, piggybacks her hobbies and interests onto her professional credentials, and slips in the name of her dog, Lucy.
5. Break the rules and have fun
Remember what I mentioned earlier about not feeling obligated to write complete sentences? Corey Eridon, lead editor for HubSpot’s blog, uses complete sentences but doesn’t feel obligated to finish them:
6. Do you drink, smoke or swear?
Tell us about your vices. That’s what Steve Olenski did in this author bio at the MarketingProfs website.
Naomi Dunford, who writes for Copyblogger, did it too:
7. What’s on your Bucket List?
Skydiving is on mine, despite the fact that I hate going over tall bridges and refuse to look down. For Jenny Patterson, a social media intern at Magazines.com, she’s on the prowl in Nashville, hoping to spot Dolly Parton, her idol.
Here’s how she wove that into her author bio:
8. Paint a picture
That’s what Zach Swinehart, an author and self-described geek, did:
Zach Swinehart is a geeky 21-year-old entrepreneur that is (surprisingly) devoid of glasses, acne, and suspenders – or whatever it is that geeky people are supposed to look like. Three years ago, he dropped out of college to start his website design business, and has since served over 100 clients, and has authored two books on the subjects of website design, and finding local geeks. He’s led seminars that taught beginners how to use computers, in addition to coaching many clients individually. He thoroughly enjoys teaching, and is excited to show you how to create an evergreen autoresponder series!
9. Show us how much you really know
In the article Three Grammar Rules You Can (and Should) Break for Copyblogger, writer Michelle Pierce used the perfect author resource box that tied into the article. Keep this in mind as you write for various blogs. You can use different mini-bios, depending on the topic of the blog.
Now, It’s Your Turn
Go back and read your own author bio. Try using one tip from my list, or a combination of tips, and see if you can write a three-sentence summary of yourself that sizzles. Don’t try to squeeze 20 pounds of content into a 10-ounce bag. Keep it simple. And keep it fun.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.