How to Write Your Best Bio Ever – Part 1

Ta-da! You’ve finished your book, CD, work of art, or service package and it’s out there, market-ready and rarin’ to go.

Now you need to tell people who you are and why they will want to read your book, buy your art, download your music, take your workshop, or trust your expertise.

Communicating who you are and reasons to know you better is one of the basic building blocks of establishing yourself as a leader in your field (and only leaders attract followers). But how do you write about yourself without sounding like you’re bragging—or worse, like you’re making yourself out to be someone or something you’re not? Writing about ourselves often takes us through a minefield of self-doubt and insecurity. Do you love your bio every time you read it, or do you cringe and skip to the end as quickly as possible?

Here’s the first part of a multi-part post to show you how to write a bio that will become a cornerstone of your promotional campaign AND make you feel all yummy inside every time you read it.

Step one is simply committing to paper ALL the salient details of your life without editing or questioning whether any specific detail will be kept or discarded. Start with the basics: birth family and circumstances; significant geography (places you’ve lived in or that have influenced you); education; professional training; hobbies (not related to the service/skill/book/artwork you are promoting); spouse, kids, pets….whew!

Get it ALL down but don’t get bogged down by precision. Why? Because all of those who, what, when, where and how details are simply scaffolding (note: “why” is excluded for now). These loud facts about you can drown out the subtle (and usually more significant) details that make you someone the rest of us want to know better. Loud facts have a habit of jumping out in front when we sit down to write about ourselves. They are significant in the big picture of who we are but when crafting a bio, these up-front details often obscure what is most singular or outstanding about who we are in relation to our creative work or service—what makes us stand out is what draws others in.

Once you have committed all the noisy details to paper, pause and take a slow, deep breath. Let it out with a big loud whoosh! There. It’s done. The facts are duly recorded and they won’t need to clamour for page space anymore (which does not necessarily mean they will be included in your bio; only that they will now sit in the background with their hands neatly folded). With the mind chatter of “who I am” under control, you can tune in to quieter truths about the talents and life experiences that compel others to want to learn more about you and what you offer.

The next step is conducting the interview—not so easy when the subject is you, but once you have the basic building blocks of a great interview, even interviewing yourself can be an illuminating experience.

Join us January 14 for a list of not-so-ordinary interview questions to help you build an information grid as the underpinning of your best bio ever.

9 Responses to How to Write Your Best Bio Ever – Part 1
  1. Michelle Vandepas
    January 5, 2013 | 12:07 am

    Ack! can’t you write it for me? LOL.. I actually keep getting stuck on mine. I’ll be looking forward to part II

  2. Christine Cowley
    January 5, 2013 | 5:05 pm

    Ha, ha! Write an author’s life & times, you’ll inspire them for a day. Teach them how to craft a great bio and the rewards could last a lifetime! Stay tuned Michelle. It’ll be fun!

  3. Retha Groenewald
    January 9, 2013 | 11:22 am

    I am totally fascinated and cannot wait for the 14th.

    • Christine Cowley
      January 9, 2013 | 1:34 pm

      Get your tape recorder ready, Retha. It’s gonna be fun!

  4. Doreen Pendgracs
    January 9, 2013 | 2:11 pm

    Great tips, Christine.

    I think that writing the bio can be difficult for introverted people, as they don’t like to draw attention to themselves and feel like it might be boasting to write down their accomplishments.

    It comes easier for us extroverts! We like to talk to anyone who will listen. :-)

    • Christine Cowley
      January 9, 2013 | 4:14 pm

      And we can learn from you! Thanks for stopping by, Doreen.

  5. Tammie
    January 9, 2013 | 11:11 pm

    Hi Christine
    How timely a post was the “How to Write Your Best Bio Ever’! I have been struggling with finishing a book a started a while ago because I didn’t know how on earth to proceed. It is a biography but will definately read like a fiction because it cronicles the psychic events of a lifetime. I am NOT what I would call a ‘Writer’ and thought I needed a ghost writer to take my work and polish it up for me. After Googling what it would cost I let a huge block grow on my shoulders and stopped trying to finish my book.

    Just on a whim I asked a friend of mine if she knew of a ghost writer I could talk to and she copied a friend of hers who told me that I actually didn’t need one since I was actually writing the draft and that a developmental editor sounded like what I needed. Oh my goodness – there is hope for me yet. I feel as if a spark has re-ignighted and all sorts of Writers tips are jumping out at me.

    If you know any good editors that would fit this type of genre would you mind sending me a name so I can get more information?

    All my best for a wonderful, successful 2013 for you!!!!!


    • Christine Cowley
      January 10, 2013 | 12:13 am

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience of “being in the flow”, Tammie. Don’t you LOVE when that happens?!

      Just to clarify, this particular series of blog posts is mainly for people who want to write a short description of themselves and their work to use as part of marketing their company, product or services. But even if you are working on a full-length biography, this Friday’s exercise (no spoilers here!) and the instructions that will follow in subsequent posts will serve as an awesome kick-start for you, and will probably help you to map out a big-picture view of what to include and what to leave out in your full-length manuscript. So by all means, Tammie, jump in and share your feedback. I’ll try to pass on some of what I’ve learned in 30+ years of writing, editing and publishing. Please feel free to contact me directly at christine@the gift legacy for extra help along the way.

  6. […] and the mechanics of writing your best bio. Missed Part 1, 2 and 3? Read Write Your Best Bio Ever Part 1, Part 2  and Part […]

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