A writer’s profile or bio is very important to the writer’s success. This is how you tell others about yourself and in many cases, it’s how you establish yourself as an expert in the topic you are writing about.
While a writer should be able to put together a crafted paragraph or two about himself, this is an area that far too many fail in. One step to writing a skilled writer profile is to learn what should not go in yours.
Inappropriate praise- Do not call yourself a success even if you are writing in the 3rd person. (Ex. Lisa has been writing about dogs for five years and she is a huge success.) We all measure success differently. Instead, you might list some related achievements and allow your reader to determine for himself if he considers you to be successful. Also avoid “award-winning” unless you have in fact, won awards for your writing, in which case, you should state the specific award.
Grammar and spelling errors- Nothing creates the look of an amateur more than a writer’s profile full of spelling and grammatical errors. While the occasional typo happens to the best of us every now and then, taking the time to edit and proofread can prevent this.
Your life story- Your profile should be a snippet of who you are as a writer. It might include your interests, qualifications, awards, recommendations, and things that make you unique. It should not include your entire life story. It should not include anything that is not directly related to your writing.
“My mom says my writing is great.”- This one is self-explanatory, folks. That’s cool if your mom is your biggest fan but your writer’s profile is not the best place to profess this. Buy mom some flowers to thank her for her support.
Your writing goals- Some might argue with me on this one but I don’t find it professional to list your writing goals in your profile. (Ex. Sara has never been published but she hopes one day an editor will like her submission.) There are some ways to make this successful (ex. Sue has been featured in many local news publications and dreams of one day writing for The New Yorker.) but in general, it should just be avoided.
One of my biggest personal peeves is a writer profile that reads “So-and-so hopes to one day be paid for his writing.” When you announce to everyone that you are already writing for free, how do you expect potential publishers/clients to take you seriously and want to pay you?
Your profile is the first impression that people get from you. Whether it is your reader, a potential client or a fellow writer, you want to be sure that you are sending the right message. It never hurts to update your profile a minimum of once per year. You will change; your credentials and experiences may change as well. An updated profile will give the best impression of you possible.