Learn to Craft a Perfect Author Bio

Writing an Author Biography
21 October 2009 Post Author:
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If you’re writing on your own travel blog, you already know that you should have an Author Biography.

Most commonly used on your ‘About’ page, it’s what fills the reader in on who you are, what makes you an authority on your travel niche, and any accomplishments that you’d like to impress them with.

If you’re writing for any publication other than your own travel blog, you’ll need to provide them with a Author Bio, which is ideally just a one to two paragraph promotional blurb about you, a much shorter version of your About page from your site.

Think of it this way – put everything you think is important for someone else to know about you (note the word ‘important’ – given the focus of your travel blog or travel niche, it may or may not be important for someone to know that you had a dog named Boo when you where a child) into your About Page. Strive for professionalism.

It’s important to remember that your Author Bio is a brand-building tool.

NOW imagine that someone has told you to strike out all but 150 words. What you’re left with should be a good foundation for your Author Bio that you’ll use for other sites and publications.

You must drill down what’s most important about you in one or two clear and concise paragraphs. This can be intimidating to some travel writers. It’s important to remember that a travel writer’s Author Bio is a brand-building tool. When people visit your website, or one that you have written a guest article for, they’ll get a sense of who you are personally and professionally. Your Author Bio will summarize your entire travel writing career in a few lines.

Step-by-Step Author Bio Writing

  • Create three Author Bios. Write a one sentence Bio, 100 word Bio, and 250 word Bio. Note: pay attention to the number of characters in addition to the number of words. Which version to submit is usually dictated by the publication’s editorial guidelines and how much space they devote to an Author Bio;
  • Write in the third person. This may be tricky for a travel writer who is also a travel blogger because blogs are usually written in the first or second person. Here’s an example of an appropriate author bio: “Jane Doe is a travel writer specializing in the Italian travel market since 2002.” Inappropriate author bio: “I am a travel writer for Italian Travel Magazine.”
  • Begin with your name. The first thing readers want to know is who you are. When you meet someone for the first time you usually say, “…Hello, my name is.” Keep this in mind when you write your Bio;
  • State what your focus is in the first sentence. Don’t wait until the end to say that you’re a travel writer or what your travel niche is. Remember the inverted pyramid: put the most important details first! Most people on the internet rarely read past the first sentence;
  • Mention your most important accomplishments. If you have impressive credentials, such as publication in well-known travel magazines, be sure to list them first – if not, use your educational credentials, such as a degree if it’s relevant;
  • Contact information. People need to know how to reach you. Put your contact information in the last sentence. Use a professional email address, never a personal one;
  • It’s OK to use humor, sometimes. Have a version of your Author Bio that incorporates something that is funny about yourself, but send this one ONLY if it’s appropriate for the publication;
  • Always check other Author’s Bios for the publication you’re writing for – this will give you a sense for what the publication considers important and appropriate. It’s acceptable to ‘tailor’ your Bio to fit the needs of a publication, but do strive for consistency;
  • Ask for feedback. Have a friend or family member read your Bio and ask for their feedback. Does it state who you are and what you do in a clear and concise manner?;
  • Keep your Author Bio current. You’ll be moving forward in your career and your Author Bio should be kept up-to-date to reflect what you’re doing now.

Travel writers who are not comfortable with writing their Bio could consider hiring a marking or PR copywriter to help them. Hiring a writer who is skilled in writing promotional materials for others can save you time and frustration, and it can also result in a Bio that really shines. For a well written, professional Bio, make sure you give all of the details about your travel writing career. An Author Bio can be short and still say a lot about you!

~Rebecca

Is your Author Bio as good as it could be for you?

8 Responses to “Learn to Craft a Perfect Author Bio”

  1. Thanks Rebecca! I just reworked my LinkedIn profile using some of your suggestions. As you say, a bio should always be a work in progress!

  2. Rebecca
    Twitter:
    says:

    Jennifer,

    Thanks for the comments I think our bios will always be a work in progress because we’ll grow as writers. Thanks for the reminder about LinkedIn. I need to go back and revise my bio!

  3. Dave and Deb
    Twitter:
    says:

    I hate my bio. I am going to put these tips to work tomorrow and tweak mine. I wrote it awhile ago and haven’t looked at it since. Terrible of me. Thanks again for reminding me to keep up with all of the important things!

  4. Rebecca
    Twitter:
    says:

    Dave and Deb,

    I just revised mine on LinkedIn and will probably revise it again. For me writing a bio is a challenge. I may find someone else to write it. Maybe I’ll ask my screenwriting coach about it.

  5. Mary Beth
    Twitter:
    says:

    This advice also applies to the “About” section in blogs. Make it snappy, professional, and interesting. Like I know! I find it’s very hard to see one’s accomplishments objectively. There is some guiding principle in me that says, “For God’s sake, whatever you do, don’t brag.”
    http://mybeautifulnewyork.wordpress.com/
    I’m a true New Yorker in love with the real New York City.
    .-= Mary Beth´s last blog post: Butterflies and Stars =-.

    • I see that on a lot of blogs – most have either way too little information about the author of the blog, or way too much, and when it’s way to much usually it’s also way too personal.

      I understand what you mean about feeling like you’re bragging – a lot of us were taught that it’s not socially acceptable to “toot our own horns”….but in business that’s exactly what we need to do. But with marketing savvy, a little restrain, and brevity.

      This is where it’s well worth hiring a copywriter who specializes in marketing and PR – they should spend a little time getting to know you, and then can craft a perfect set of bios – short and medium for most other publications, and a longer one for your own blog.

  6. Thx for this nice post.

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dave&Deb Travel Duo, Ray Metzen and MsTravelingPants, Jennifer Raezer. Jennifer Raezer said: @Bee_Empowered Just implemented ur great tips! RT @TravelWriting Travel Writers: Learn How to Craft a Perfect Author Bio http://bit.ly/WM0Py [...]

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