The Writer's Bio

5:35 PM Wednesday, May 5, 2010

I have been trying to submit several flash fiction stories to literary magazines around the country only to be stopped by one thing: I didn't have an author's bio.

This was difficult for me considering that my creative writing is yet to be published (and as much as I like my "publish post" button, I don't think any editors/publishers will count it).  So what do I write about myself?

Here is some of the advice I collected around the internet (in no particular order):

  1. Always use the first person.  This is not a resume or a cover letter for a job. Using third person (she/he) makes you seem more professional and gives the reader a more objective view of you, even if it was written by you. 
  2. Talk about your education. What education, degrees, or training have you had. It isn't important if you have writing training. Maybe you have medical training and have included that in your story. Listing that training in your bio will give you credibility.
  3. Show your intent.  Are you writing novels? Are you interested in flash fiction, short stories, or poetry? Give the reader an idea of who you are by showing them what you are doing.
  4. State your strengths.  If you are unpublished, it's not necessary to state that. Think positive and tell them what you are, not what you aren't.  For example, even unpublished authors are freelancers; if you write poetry, then you're a poet; etc. 
  5. Give them something personal. Tell them where you are from, or where you are currently living.  Maybe mention your family if it brings credibility or value to the story. This makes you seem personable, and in its own little way, credible. But be careful of being too personal. Stating that you are a stay at home mom of 3 boys and a girl may make you seem unprofessional.
These are the tips I used in my own bio though there are plenty of them to go around. When in doubt, go to your bookshelf and read the author bio's on some of your favorite books.  For an example to you, here is what I came up with for myself:

Julie Beddoes is a freelance writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Born in Dubuque, Iowa, she received her BA in English, Business, and Behavioral Sciences from NYIT – Ellis College in 2005. Now residing with her family in Columbus, Ohio, she has written technical and business documents for various companies while writing short stories and flash fiction. Currently, her focus is completing her first novel, while writing flash fiction for literary publications.

As always, I appreciate your input! 


  1. I always struggle trying to think up a bio, especially with no publication credits under my name. This is very helpful!

    T.S. Bazelli

  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.Alena


  3. Nice to you coming out of the shadows, Alena, and welcome! Thank you both for you comments. I did make one change as I was laying in bed last night and realized that not all literary mediums "magazines," so I changed it to read "publications." I think that is a better statement. You agree?


  4. I didn't even notice :) but yes!

    T.S. Bazelli

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