Writing an author biography

An author bio provides a quick and concise overview of you and your writing, so it's an essential part of your toolkit.

You're likely to need one when you submit to an agent, publish a story in a magazine or even receive an award, so it's well worth taking the time to craft a good one. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Write in the third person

Even though you're the one writing this bio, it's best written in third person so that it can easily be displayed (or read out) elsewhere. It also makes your bio sound more professional – and even more trustworthy. So rather than, ‘I’ve published stories in…’ go for ‘Adora Book has published stories…’

Skip your extended life story

It’s great to start with a little bit of context – where you’re from, where you live, what other jobs you do – but the most important thing here is to talk about yourself as a writer. Keep your background brief, one or two lines at most, then get into details about what you’ve been up to, writing wise. Don’t be worried if you’re just starting out, just put the focus on how much you enjoy writing in the space you’ll later be listing your publications.

Don’t be shy about your achievements

This is a place for you to let people know what you’ve been up to – so don’t let yourself be shy. List publications, prizes and projects and anything you’ve been doing that potential readers or publishers might be interested in.

Update your biography often

Be sure to come back to your bio every once in a while, so you can update your writing achievements and take out anything that isn't relevant anymore.

Go for long, short and shorter

There is no catch-all standard length for a bio. Be sure to write an extended version, around 150 words, a shorter one, 100 words, and an even shorter one, 50 words. That way, you should have something to fit the bill no matter what.

Add your own spin or hook

The best bios make readers want to find out more about the writer, so think about what makes you unique and add it in. Maybe you once had a job as a horse tamer or you’ve broken the world knitting record. That said, one or two hooks are enough – don’t be tempted to overdo it. 

Only add information you're comfortable with

Never include any information that you might one day come to regret sharing - you’re entitled to privacy! If you’d rather not disclose where you live, how many children you have or whether you are married you can be vague: for example, instead of saying ‘She lives in Thurso with two daughters’ you could write ‘She lives with her family in the north of Scotland’.

Avoid accidentally dating your copy

Try not to use phrases that could quickly become outdated. For example, try 'In 2019, she visited Cove Park' rather than 'she recently paid a visit to Cove Park'.

Include any online profiles

If you've got a Twitter profile, a website or somewhere else people can find you online, be sure to add the details at the end of your bio.