I'm publishing a story in an anthology, and the publisher asked for a hundred-word bio. I can find examples of this for businessmen, but I haven't found an example for a writer. What sorts of things should it include?
In 1992, after living in downtown Toronto, a city of nearly three million, for thirteen years, I moved with two large cats, one small psychotic cat, and my partner out to a rented house in the middle of nowhere. In the years since, we've purchased the house, buried two of the original cats, replaced them with three more felines and, unintentionally, acquired a Chihuahua. You're probably wondering how two reasonably intelligent adults can unintentionally acquire a Chihuahua. Please don't ask.
Authors generally say where they're from or where they're currently based and then list publications their work has been in. Sometimes they mention why they write, what their hobbies are, an interesting experience they once had, their formal education, or something about their household (like spouse or pets).
After finding a manual typewriter in the basement of a friend’s house, Michael inserted a blank piece of paper and typed: It was a dark and stormy night. He was just eight years old and mimicking Snoopy. Since then he found inspiration in the writings of Stephen King, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeck just to name a few. Michael has written twenty-three novels, published nine, and has been translated into fifteen foreign languages. His works have appeared on more than eighty-five “best of” or “most anticipated” lists including those compiled by Library Journal, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and Audible.com.
I've sometimes wondered why author bios are written in 3rd person. Is it because they were originally not written by the authors, but rather by editors/publicists, do you guys think? That would make sense to me. I can't think it's because publication makes us all spontaneously all speak like rock stars.
On the other hand, that would be funny. Just in chat. Just for about 5 minutes one day.
Lowan said so.
think of "your brand," what kind of strength you want people to see about your writing and you. Some writers do need to use jokes there; some build on their love of horror by quoting their favorites or giving a philosophy of how to scare people.
One place to start is: what's the most tangible thing you've done in real life that has anything to do with what you write about? Worked in a morgue, met Stephen King for two seconds in Odd Place X? (More horror examples.) That's a foundation other writers can't claim, and maybe you can build the rest around it.
Re main credits: to show you're a professional. If this is your first publication, note that so others can be jealous.
Re residence: to let local bookstores and libraries know so they can carry/buy the book in support of a local author and, if your contribution to the anthology is major, possibly to support an event.
Re other works: to let editors trolling the credits for potential authors know that you're not a one-off and you have something they might be interested in.
Re social media: to build a following and to give the editors above a means by which to contact you.
Don't think of your bio as your bio, and here I disagree with Michael. Who cares if you own a cat or love your kids? Unless your job is ridiculously interesting or obviously informs your work (ex. the story about's codebreaking and the author works for the NSA), it's irrelevant. All that has to be interesting is your story. Your bio is your business card. And if you only have hundred words, make them count.
I would add, I'm torn on including colleges in bios for stories and pitch letters. While that might create a connection with potential editors, I find it pretentious if someone went to a top-tier school and unimpressive if they didn't, however proud a person might be to have attended. If an alma mater plays a role in a story, it would make sense to note it unless it makes one of your characters seem like a stand-in for yourself. As a compromise, I would save alma maters for submissions to a specific person who went there him or herself. Same's true for fraternity or sorority affiliations. If this were a book, though, I would include school affiliations because then you might be able to get it in the school store and get mentioned in the alumni magazine.
I really don't think someone is going to do a local author event based on seeing you are from the area.