Power Pack Your Short Bio for Agent Queries

Power Pack Your Short Bio

“Power Pack Your Short Bio for Agent Queries” by Joan Y. Edwards

Sandra Warren, one of my loyal followers asked me to write a blog about what to put in the bio section of a query letter to a literary agent. It could also be used for the bio inside a cover letter to an editor.

Heather Hummel at Huffington Post advises you to read your bio aloud after you write them. Wonderful advice.

Chuck Sambuchino says a bio is more important for a non-fiction work.

Editors and Agents want to know your personal credentials. Why are you qualified to write this book? Give facts to support the sentence: I am the best person to write this book.

Make your 3 sentence bio sound professional. Write it in the first person. Use only three or four sentences. Cover the three power areas listed below: 

1. Personal Interest and Experience

I am the best person to write this book.

Tell why you wrote this book. Tell about your personal interests and experience in this particular field related to the subject of the manuscript or article you are submitting.

Your book is about biking: Tell about your interest in biking and places you biked. Don’t tell about where you’ve traveled by boat or by airplane. It’s not related to biking.
If your book is about a certain community, tell how you know about this community. If you lived there, mention that.

2. Expertise 

I qualify to write this book because I have expert skills and knowledge in this subject that I attained through extensive research, experience, education, or occupation. 

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a particular field…to become an expert. If you study for 8 hours each day, your 10,000 hours would be up in 1,250 days or about 3.5 years. So I believe if you study a subject for 3.5 years, you probably know a great deal about it.

Explain your skills and knowledge of the subject of your  manuscript. Tell your main job, training, education, degree, published article, short story, or novel related to the subject.

If it’s about business marketing, mentioning a Master’s Degree in Business is a great idea.
If your book is about teaching and you’ve never taught or taken classes, why would people want to read what you’ve written?

3. Formal Awards and Other Achievements

 The best reason I qualify to write this book.

Showcase your formal achievements related to the subject of your manuscript. If  you have many achievements, highlight your best accomplishment.

Ginny Wiehardt gives samples from published and unpublished writers.  Nancy, a university instructor helped students improve  their 3 sentence bios in her class. I found these helpful. 
I found 18 resources to help you study the short bio to include to power pack your bio in your query to a prospective agent.
If you put the subject of your book and your draft 3 sentence bio, I’ll be glad to give you ideas to improve your bio in my reply. Other readers may give you their opinions, too, if you like.

Resources

  1. Ann R. Allen. “How to Write and Author Bio When You Don’t Feel Like an Author Yet:” http://annerallen.com/2012/09/how-to-write-author-bio-when-you-don/
  2. Ben Carter. “Can 10,000 Hours of Practice Make You an Expert?” http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26384712
  3. Ben Sobieck.  “What Should a Short Bio Contain?” http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/dealing-with-editors/what-should-a-short-bio-include
  4. Chuck Sambuchino. Writers Digest. “What Should You Write in the Bio Paragraph in a Query Letter?” http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/what-should-you-write-in-the-bio-paragraph-of-a-query-letter
  5. Chuck Sambuchino. “What to Write in the “Bio” Section Of Your Query Letter”
    http://writerunboxed.com/2013/05/27/may-2013/
  6. Fiction Desk. “Ten Tips for Writing an Author Bio:” http://www.thefictiondesk.com/blog/tips-for-writing-an-author-bio/
  7. Ginny Wiehardt. “Samples of Short Bios for a Cover Letter (Literary Journal) – The Balance:” https://www.thebalance.com/sample-short-bios-for-literary-journals-1277413 
  8. Heather Hummel. “10 Tips on How to Write a Bio:” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/heather-hummel/10-tips-on-how-to-write-a-bio_b_4908716.html
  9. Joan Y. Edwards.”Components of a Good Query Letter:” https://www.joanyedwards.com/2011/04/17/components-of-a-good-query-letter/
  10. Joan Y. Edwards. “Will Your Query Letter Sell Your Manuscript?” https://www.joanyedwards.com/2013/10/30/will-your-query-letter-sell-your-manuscript/
  11. Loolwa Khazzoom. “4 Steps to Writing a Professional Bio That Gets You Noticed:” https://www.huffingtonpost.com/loolwa-khazzoom/4-steps-to-writing-a-professional-bio_b_4131309.html
  12. Peter Economy. “3 Simple Steps to Becoming an Expert in Anything:” https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/3-simple-steps-to-becoming-an-expert-in-anything.html
  13. QQAdmin1. Writers Digest. “What Should You Include in Your Bio for Agents?” http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/questions-and-quandaries/dealing-with-editors/what-should-you-include-in-your-bio-for-agents 
  14. Scott Berkum. “How to Write a Good Bio:” http://scottberkun.com/2013/how-to-write-a-good-bio/
  15. Writers Relief Staff. “The Dos And Don’ts of Writing Your Author Bio: Query Letter And Cover Letter Tips:” http://writersrelief.com/blog/2010/07/your-professional-bio-query-letter-and-cover-letter-tips-for-writers/
  16. Writers Relief Staff. “5 Tips on Writing an Amazing Author Bio If You’re Not Well-Published:” http://writersrelief.com/blog/2016/09/5-tips-writing-amazing-author-bio/

Thank you for reading my blog. Feel free to ask questions. I’ll be glad to help you find the answers!

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Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2018 Joan Y. Edwards
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8 thoughts on “Power Pack Your Short Bio for Agent Queries”

  1. Powerful, informative and helpful post. Joan Y. Edwards you never cease to teach and inspire me. I’m so glad I subscribe to your blog!
    Joan Reid

    1. Dear Joan Reid,
      Thank you for writing. I am very honored that you subscribe to my blog. I am glad that you find information to inspire you here. You also inspire me!
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

  2. Thanks Joan (and Sandra too for asking this question.) I’ll file it away for when I need it! (hopefully sooner rather than later). Carol

    1. Dear Carol,
      Thank you for writing. Sandra Warren had a great idea. You’re welcome for my writing the post. I hope the information helps you land a great agent which you deserve!
      Never Give Up
      Joan

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thank you very much for writing. Sandra Warren asked a great question. I hope I answered it so that many will truly benefit. Thanks for encouraging me.
      Never Give Up
      Joan

  3. Who would have thought there would be 18 resources for writing a short bio? You took my suggestion and ran with it. Thanks for the wealth of information, Joan. It’s just another example of why your blog has had over 500,000 views!

    1. Dear Sandra,
      Thank you for writing. Thanks for asking me to write about short bios. You’re right. Who would have thought there were 18 resources for writing short bios. I hope my blog post and these others help you power pack your short bio for your queries!
      Never Give Up
      Joan

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