That Thing You’re Writing Is Awesome…Now for Your Bio

Posted on: in [ General ]


Imagine a picture of someone writing

It’s the New Year, a time to reinvent yourself, and what better way to start than with your author bio (that thing typically appearing at the end of an article)? Even if you haven’t written anything yet, let’s get your bio out of the way. That way, when your awesome work makes its way into the world, you don’t have to go through the flop-sweat-second-guess-who-am-I cycle of introspection that ends with you slamming your head against the keyboard and sending whatever appears. (I’d read that bio, by the way.)

To get you started, here are some “fun” guidelines to help avoid breaking your keyboard/head. Just remember—don’t stress about it.

  1. Write in the third person

When I was in high school (circa early 00s), it became fashionable to refer to oneself in this manner. It was obnoxious. I hate it. But Lathan has resigned himself to comply with this particular set of standards and practices.

  1. Establish your credibility

Tell your reader when you started doing the thing you do or started in a certain industry. Pro tip: Extend the shelf-life of your bio by saying, “I’ve been in education since 2010” instead of, “I’ve been in education for 8 years.” (To those in a post-2018 world reading this, congratulations on your time travel, and thank you for proving my point.) The goal here is to prove you know what you’re talking about.

  1. Be personal(ish)

Consider the type of content you’ll be contributing, along with your brand. If the internet has taught me anything, it’s that people love coffee and cats. So, it’s probably okay to mention your affinity for coffee or cats. Take me, for example. I’m a poet who works in marketing. People expect a certain level of quirkiness from me, some might even say “fun.” So, I’m going to let that come through in my bio.

  1. Keep it short

There is absolutely no need to consult the “For My Biographer” box. Your author bio can barely even be considered the highlights. “Wait a minute, Lathan,” you might say, “what about that bio I read at the end of Every Person’s book?” Well, your bio’s length should be proportionate to the length of your work. In the case of an article, I’d shoot for under 75.

  1. Include a call to action

If you’ve kept the reader’s attention all the way to the end of the article and they’re reading your bio, then you’re a wizard and have earned the right to tell them what to do. Comment, connect, send money, etc…Include links to help them get there. If you don’t want them to interact with you in any way, tell them to wash their hands. It will help us all out.

For example

Here’s a “fun” one...

Lathan crafts copy with the care of a poet—because he is one. He has an MFA in Poetry, five years of hotel management experience, and a twin brother. If you let him, Lathan will annoy you with fun facts and his fervor for Oxford commas. Annoy him on LinkedIn.  

Ignore the dire state of my page. Here are the takeaways—1) it’s in the third person, 2) it establishes credibility, 3) it’s personal, 4) it’s short at just 50 words, and 5) there’s a call to action (which doubles as motivation for me to work on the LinkedIn profile).

If you want to keep it a little more formal…  

Lathan started work as a copywriter in 2017 after completing a graduate degree in poetry. Before that, he worked as an assistant general manager for a hotel. In addition to cultivating his own writing skills, Lathan is passionate about helping others put their thoughts to page. See his thoughts on LinkedIn.

Personally, I think I’ll go with the first one.