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29: Tips for Writing a Strong Author Biography
Episode 2919th April 2022 • Writing Pursuits • Kathrese McKee
00:00:00 00:20:56

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Your author biography is your business card, your elevator pitch, and your introduction rolled into one. Taking the time to craft a strong author bio will help you establish a consistent image across your books and across the internet.

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Transcripts

Kathrese:

I know it's called an author biography, but it isn't a

Kathrese:

biography. How long should your author bio be? What should you

Kathrese:

include in what should you leave out? Once you have it? Where

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should you use it? How can you use an author biography before

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you even have a book? Answers to these questions in more on

Kathrese:

episode 29 of writing pursuits? Welcome to the writing pursuits

Kathrese:

podcast where authors like you discuss writing craft, author,

Kathrese:

life and book marketing strategies. I'm your host

Kathrese:

Kathrese McKee. I own writing pursuits and write and produce

Kathrese:

the weekly newsletter writing proceeds tips for authors. In

Kathrese:

addition, I am a speculative fiction author. Writing pursuits

Kathrese:

is for authors who drink too much coffee, endure judgemental

Kathrese:

looks from their furry writing companions, and struggle for

Kathrese:

words. If you are a writer, sinking, encouragement,

Kathrese:

information and inspiration, this podcast is for you. Let's

Kathrese:

get to it. Hey, writing pursuits, authors. Welcome back

Kathrese:

to the podcast. To those of you who are new, I want to extend a

Kathrese:

special welcome, please leave a comment a star rating and follow

Kathrese:

the show to help others find writing pursuits. The internet

Kathrese:

has been out at my house, and I have discovered a few of my

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resources, like my intro and outro are available only in the

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cloud. So no fancy stuff today. It's just you, me and the mic.

Kathrese:

So thank you for listening. Your Author biography is your

Kathrese:

business card, your elevator pitch and your introduction

Kathrese:

rolled into one. Taking the time to craft a strong author bio

Kathrese:

will help you establish a consistent image across your

Kathrese:

books and across the internet. I know it's called an author

Kathrese:

biography, but it isn't a biography. Not really. So none

Kathrese:

of this Elsa author was born in Houston, Texas in 1949, the

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fourth of five kids, her family moved to Washington DC when she

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was six. Elsa was a twirler at Monument High School and enjoyed

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her moment in the spotlight at the New Year's Day Parade in New

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York City. When she was a senior, she met her husband Gary

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during her sophomore year at St somebody's College, and so on.

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They'll write your future Wikipedia biography. Stick with

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high level detail and strive to make a reader connection.

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Instead, the first thing you need to do is understand the

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purpose of an author biography. For nonfiction author

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biographies, the author bio is about establishing credentials

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and authority. Lead with your credentials. If you don't have

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the fancy credentials after your name, and you are approaching

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your topic from life experience. How do you know what you were

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talking about? You need to communicate that are you a

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cancer survivor? Did you lose 50 pounds and keep it off? How are

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you uniquely suited to discuss your topic? Make your abilities

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and expertise clear. I chose the following example from among the

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current Amazon nonfiction bestsellers. This author

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biography is from the Author Central page for reference. It

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is 121 words long. Elaine Rebelo LCSW is the author of The Best

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Selling baby sign language made easy. The Complete Guide to baby

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sign language and my first book of baby signs. Her latest book

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is baby sign language songs and games, which includes 65 fun and

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easy language building activities to help teach little

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ones signed. She is the founder of tiny signs and award winning

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baby sign language program as a licensed social worker. Elaine

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worked for many years with families in the Boston area.

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Elaine began studying American Sign Language in 2006 after her

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first baby was born, and was amazed by all she had to say she

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lives with her husband and two children in Massachusetts. You

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can find Elaine online at Tiny signs.com Instagram at Tiny

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signs. Let's dissect Elaine rebels author bio. First,

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she states her name and follows it with her professional

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credential LC S W, which stands for licensed clinical social

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worker. Then she lists her other books and their purpose to teach

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little ones signs. She is co founder of tiny signs. She

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mentions her years of experience in the field and ends on a

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personal note. Finally, she mentioned her website In her

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main social media profile, she has chosen a corporate

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identifier of tiny signs for her company website and Instagram

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account. Okay, now for someone who doesn't have any letters

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after her name, but has had some success in her space. Let's

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study Jin fishes author bio Jin fish, creator of the blog keto

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in the city, and international best selling cookbook author is

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passionate about offering simple solutions for following the

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ketogenic lifestyle. She has a single working mother, who has

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battled autoimmune disorders for 20 years, and has turned to the

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kitchen to find simple, delicious ways to make the

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ketogenic diet work for her busy lifestyle. With a loyal

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Instagram following at her page at Quito in the city, her

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growing YouTube channel Quito in the city, and hundreds of 1000s

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of visitors through her blog. Kitty Quito in the city.com. Jen

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is one of the top influencers in the ketogenic space. She is not

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a nutritionist or trained chef, just a determined mom who

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searched high and low for a way of eating that would reduce the

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inflammation caused by her autoimmune disorders, and allow

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her to feel like the very best version of herself. She lives

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with her daughter in Hermosa Beach, California website Quito

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in the city.com. Forward slash blog Jin's author bio is 159

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words long. The bio begins with her name and something she has

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done to establish authority in her space, a well known blog

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among keto diet fans, she mentions her why her personal

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struggle with autoimmune issues. This fact may help readers feel

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connected. She mentions her Instagram account and her

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YouTube channel appropriately named Quito in the city. This

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establishes her accessibility and her brand. Notice how she

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mentions she is not a nutritionist, or a trained chef.

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This builds rapport with her readers who are not

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nutritionists or train chefs either. Her lack of formal

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credentials, actually empowers potential readers to pick up her

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book and give the recipes a try. She ends on a personal note and

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includes the link to her website. Both authors establish

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their credibility in different ways. Both make an implied

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promise of success to anyone who reads their author biography

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well done for fiction biographies, the author BIOS

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intended to establish rapport and connections with your

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reader. Go light on awards if you mentioned them at all. Your

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bio must fit your brand, your identity and your genre. Study

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the best selling authors in your genre, not their achievements,

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but the way they connect with the readers by naming common

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interests, weird characteristics and making a promise. I know I

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know. Stephen King's biography is a litany of successes, but

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I'm just gonna say it's very boring. Much better is the

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author bio for James L. RW Bart, which is 122 words long. James

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L. Rubert, is 28 years old, but lives trapped inside an older

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man's body. He thinks he's still young enough to water ski like a

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madman and dirt bike with his two grown sons and loves to send

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readers on mind bending spiritual journeys, though

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remember months after they finish one of his stories. He's

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the best selling Christie Hall of Fame Carol inspy and RT book

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reviews, award winning author of 10 novels, co author of the time

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traveling detective series, the true lives of friend Brent

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stone, co owner of the Rube art writing Academy and an audio

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book NARRATOR He lives with his amazing wife in a small town in

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eastern Washington. more at www James L. rubert.com. And on

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Facebook at www facebook.com. Forward slash James L remark.

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Let's take a closer look. James leads with humor. That bit about

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the 28 year old living in an older man's body. It was great.

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He mentioned two high impact sports waterskiing and dirt

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biking. This establishes his brand for high adventure. He

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promises mind bending spiritual journeys that are memorable.

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Then he fills his audience in on his credentials, his awards, his

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past work and his writing Academy. He ends on a personal

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note and finally he mentioned his website in a way to medium

Kathrese:

on social media now seems like a good moment to break away remind

Kathrese:

you the writing pursuits is run by three smokey, who've been

Kathrese:

trusted by fiction authors and 2014 to take their writing to a

Kathrese:

new level of excellence. To three says a three story method,

Kathrese:

certified editor who specializes in story diagnostics, coaching

Kathrese:

in line editing to help you prepare your story for the

Kathrese:

journey ahead. For more information, go to writing

Kathrese:

pursuits.com. The link is in the show notes. Sometimes I forget

Kathrese:

to mention my editing services. So thank you for your patience.

Kathrese:

Let's go over a few tips for writing a strong author

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biography. One, figure out what makes you unique. also figure

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out the promise you are making to your readers. Right in third

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person, this is a hard and fast tradition. Don't stand out for

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the wrong reason. Three, don't be shy. Use your first and last

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name or your pin name immediately to three smokey blah

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blah. For try to fashion one line that sums you up Think of

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it like the tagline of a book from the examples we went

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through earlier. I think Jin Jin fish did the best job Jen fish

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creator of the blog keto and the city, and international best

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selling cookbook author is passionate about offering simple

Kathrese:

solutions for following the ketogenic lifestyle. That's a

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great one line, summit up high level bio, you need to try to

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fashion that one line that sums you up. Think of it like the

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tagline of a book, it's going to be short, sweet. Every line it's

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going to every word is going to count, make it something that

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you could offer to somebody or at least a variation of it. So

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they would know who you were, if you just met them. Now add two

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to three more sentences for total of 150 words or less, keep

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it tight. Do not be satisfied by your first attempt, create at

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least 10 versions. And you'll be amazed by the results. Six,

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you're not going to write one author bio you're going to write

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for make one long bio up to 300 words for your about page on

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your website, may as well have it one medium bio of about 200

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words, your normal bio of about 150 words or less. And your

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short short bio your one liner, you know it can be two lines,

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just make it short. All right. So I would suggest that you go

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in reverse order, right, you're very short one first add to it

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to make the normal one, that's when you're going to work the

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hardest on then the stuff that you really, really want it to be

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in that one, add it to the next bigger one. And then you know

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you can get a little bit verbose, verbose on your about

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page. Someone if they get to your about page, they're really

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interested in you. So that's fine. Seven, be completely

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honest, fabricated awards, honors, experience levels,

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titles, achievements, those if you fabricate those things that

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will come back to haunt you. readers want authenticity, and

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they will turn on you like a shark frenzy. If you get caught

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in a lie, and you will you will get caught in a lie. If you make

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stuff up for your MIO, just don't do it. Eight. Hire a

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professional photographer to create your headshot. Nine if

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you have a series or previous novel, go ahead and mention it.

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10 always include your website URL if you have one. Failing

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that, or your favorite tag for social media. So if you have an

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Instagram account, and you don't have website mentioned your

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Instagram thing where people can find you and make a connection

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11 Leave out high school accomplishments. Can I get an

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amen on that? For nonfiction it is probably desirable to mention

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your highest degree level in whatever field for fiction

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mentioned degrees or positions only if it bears on the genre

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you write. Here's a fictional example. Billy writer MD was

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the executive director and chief medical examiner for murder

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County for 27 years, adding the weight of his experience and

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know how to his who've done it. That makes perfect sense. You

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mentioned he's an Emmy because he writes who done it. So if

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your professional background has something to do with your

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fiction, that's a great way to use it. 12 An author bio needs

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to be evaluated periodically to see if it can be updated and

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improved. And first, the author bio seems like a set it and

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forget it piece of material. But things change. Readers change,

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we change. So put your bio evaluation on your annual list

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of tasks. Also, your author headshot, the one you paid for

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will need to change no matter how attached you get to the one

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from 20 years ago. Okay, where does an author bio go your

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author Biography whether you are still aspiring or fully fledged

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is one of the more useful pieces of material you can create.

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Before you have a book. Before you have a book, you need to

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stake out your social media territory. For a name like mine,

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Kathrese. McKee, this hasn't been a problem. But Jane Doe has

Kathrese:

a problem. There's already an author by that name, or at least

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there is an author who has claimed Jane Doe as their

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identity. So the next Jane Doe has a problem. Let's make

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believe Jane Doe stands for any fairly common name. On the

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surface their author name seems unique, but on closer

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examination, it isn't. So as soon as you have committed to

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being an author, for real this time, claim your name or

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standard variation like author Jane Doe, or Jane Z doe, on

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every major social platform. Search for your desired user ID

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on every platform before you make your decision. Also, search

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Google, Amazon, Kobo, and anywhere else you can think of

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if you already have Jane Doe 3.14159265359 on one platform,

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and Jane Doe, the math nerd on another, it's time to find a

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standard. Okay, I know that was a math joke. Sorry, everybody.

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Try. It is not always possible to secure a standard identifier.

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But try it's kind of like a handle like the tiny signs or

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kedo. In the city or James L remark. You want to try to be

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standard across platforms. Because it's part of your

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branding, create a profile with your headshot, author, name, and

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bio on every major social platform, you do not need to be

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active on every platform. But stick out your identity claim

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your handle, eventually you want to point to your website from

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everywhere. When you have your book, stake out. Maybe YouTube,

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Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, you can go on

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Goodreads as a reader in it's okay to use a different reader

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profile while you learn about the platform. Same is true for

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BookBub you can go on there as a reader and you don't have to

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have the same reader profile as your author profile will

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eventually be and I don't think you can claim to be an author

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without a book.

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That's a good way to learn the the platform before it becomes a

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necessity in your writing life. Snapchat Tik Tok anyplace you

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might eventually be on social media. That's a great way to tie

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it down. It's also a great way to keep someone else from

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snagging your your identity, not like your personal information,

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but your brand. If you if you can save your name, or a

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variation of your name, or your brand, whatever you're going to

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call it, then it's good to do it before someone else has that

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bright idea or someone else with a similar name comes along and

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snags it and keeps you from it. All right. Do you understand I

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hope that's that's clear. If you have a reader magnet, then you

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can use your bio and your photo and whatever else in a page in

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your reader magnet. Your newsletter service provider

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MailChimp, mailer light, and so on will want a version of your

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bio. And they'll want that kind of information, you can use your

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picture there to your landing page for your reader magnet. You

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don't need a website at first, but take advantage of the

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landing page. Nearly every service provider enables you to

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create and then if you want to offer your reader magnet through

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book funnel, then you'll need your bio there too. So it

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becomes very useful when you have a book. Of course your via

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will appear in the eBook or on the back cover of your print

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book or on the cover of your audio book. Also, you need to

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update the profiles you have and add a few more. If your book is

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on Amazon. Be sure to set up your Author Central page with

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your bio and claim your book. Create your author profile on

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Goodreads and BookBub. Finally, and use your bio and claim your

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book. If your book is going wide set up a profile on books to

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read and Kobo Barnes and Noble and everywhere your books are

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going to be sold. Set up a basic website with a homepage and your

Kathrese:

about page and a newsletter signup form to deliver your

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reader magnet. I promise you don't have to blog if you don't

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want to. In their future. Remember you will need to keep

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your author bio updated. Put a yearly task in your calendar

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like I said before to read it through and decide if it needs

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to be updated this year. Thank you for joining me today if you

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have questions about writing or needed story diagnostic, please

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go to writing for suits.com That's all I have for today

Kathrese:

until next time keep writing my friends keep writing

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