Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Who Me? Tips for Writing a Bio

If you are on online you need a bio and probably more than one. Here are some hints to help you shine.

More than one bio? What?
I know, right! You thought one would be good enough. But guess what? Different bios are needed for different occasions. The good news is once you have them written, you can plug them in online in your various sites and networks and tweak them as needed.

You need a long bio of 200 words of more - use it on your website or where more information about your career is needed, such as a press release.

A short bio - under 100 or better yet 75 words - use this one for online portfolios or professional membership sites.

And then a 'sum me up' in one sentence bio - best used for bi-lines and your twitter or facebook account.

Who are you?
Before we get any farther, make sure your real name is easily found on all your accounts like twitter, your blogger bio and even your Etsy profile if you have a shop. As a blog writer, it helps me when I feature artists if I can call them by their real name.

1st person or 3rd?
Since people want a personal connection to the artist or writer when they looking at a blog, facebook or twitter I say 1st person is nice and friendly.

On your website - that's a toss - 1st person sounds friendly and direct, 3rd sounds more professional - but you can go either way.

Listing on a portfolio site or member listing/profile for professional organizations?? I'd go with 3rd person.

No matter what point of view - keep your bio professional, on topic and well edited!

What to include?
Relevant information to your career only - if illustrating or writing isn't your day job this can be tricky. Include your day job only if it's relevant to your creative career or ties in to show an area of expertise that you also write about or illustrate.

Things to include about your creative career would be your education, experience, awards and memberships. I would also say to sum up what you like to write or illustrate.

More bio writing tips here and here.

A Long and Short Example:
Long - Children's book illustrator Heather Powers has illustrated for the educational, magazine and picture book markets. Heather's work focuses on quirky characters, multi-cultural themes and crafts. She is currently under contract writing her first jewelry design book.

She has a BFA from Kendall College of Art & Design where she studied printmaking and painting. Heather was awarded the Tomie dePaola Portfolio Award in 2008. She has been a regional advisor for the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators for the last 4 years.

Books illustrated by Heather include Story Game for Perfection Learning and Conor's Gift, published by Yeowon Media.

Short - I'm a children's book illustrator, SCBWI regional advisor and bead artist by day.

And one final word when it comes to writing a bio - if in doubt, search it out - just check out other artists' or writers' bios to see what they have included. Always search up - find bios of creative professionals who are a few steps ahead of you on the career ladder for the best examples!

1 comment:

  1. Great tips, Heather! It reminds me that mine could probably use a little updating.