Monday, May 23, 2011

Who We Are—the All-Important Bio

Twitter bio

I came across an interesting post the other day by Michael Margolis called The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King.

In the story’s lead-in, the writer states:

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative – you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you – and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles. Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Margolis also gives a list of questions that can help you to formulate your bio in story format.

How many bios/taglines do you need? Probably more kinds than you think.

Blog: I’ll admit that the bio, or “About Me” is the first thing I look for on a blog—before anything else. That’s because blogging is about developing relationships and I want to know just some really basic information first. What do you write? What’s your name (and a pen name is okay—lots of anonymity online)? A picture can help readers identify with you, or, barring that, a book cover or an avatar that you feel expresses a little about who you are. It’s nice to also see one additional bit of information about the writer—are they a parent? Devoted dog owner? Avid filmgoer? Wine aficionado?

Email signature: I’ve mentioned before that this is a great way to tell your friends and family you’re a writer. Your email signature could have your blog link under it, and a link to a book or article that you’ve written. I have a different one for my personal email than I do for my writing-related account.

Twitter bio: Obviously, this one is tricky because of the space limitation. I play with my bio on Twitter from time to time. You can see it above. I’m basically saying what I write (and the name of the different series), giving my purpose on Twitter (tweeting interesting writing links), and then providing my blog address for anyone who’s interested.

Short bio: There are many times that I need a short bio. There are book catalogs for different organizations that ask for short bios and short book descriptions. Panels and conferences want a short bio. If I’ve written an article for a print magazine (which sometimes I still do, to keep my hand in it), they always want just a line. So it’s good to think up a very abbreviated way to tell who you are and where folks can find out more about you.

An adaptable base bio—a basic bio that can be adapted. Mine is a few paragraphs that I can take bits and pieces from, depending on the situation. I have one that’s sort of cute and funny when I’m writing humorous guest posts or if I’m talking about fun topics on a panel. I have one that’s very businesslike and professional sounding if I’m speaking in a more formal setting or on a more serious topic.

Facebook: Facebook just turns your basic info into a bio for you. Mine says where I work (which are the publishing houses I write for), where I went to school, and where I live. I’ve been meaning to dabble with my FB bio a bit—it would be easy to change your occupation to “writes traditional mysteries,” etc., if you wanted to showcase that info on your FB profile page instead of what your day job is.

Guest post bio/tagline: If you’re guest posting, there’s probably something that you’re trying to accomplish. Wanting to expand your blog readership? Promote a new book? For my upcoming blog tour, I mention my new release first (with a buy link hyperlinked to the book’s name….this is the main purpose for my tour), and the name I’m writing the series under (Riley Adams). Then I mention the other series I write. Then I mention my blog, the Writer’s Knowledge Base, and my Twitter handle (and I hyperlink those things, so they’re live links). Then I figure everyone has all the basics—and can click links to find out the rest. (And it’s shorter than it sounds…I think short works better.)

Have you got different bios for different occasions or different social media? Have any tips for writing bios or thoughts on what information you’re hoping to discover when you’re reading someone’s?


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