How to Write Your Author Bio
When you’re starting out as a nurse writer, you may feel writing your LOI is the most difficult thing you’ve done. Then, a client eventually says YES!, and you might feel that writing your first assignment is the most difficult thing you’ve done.
And then an anchor client hires you to write for them on a monthly basis – YIPPEE! – and they casually add, “Send us a brief bio for your author page.” Author page! Imagine that. Your name, photo, and bio enshrined on the client’s website for all to see.
At that point, surely you will feel that your author bio is the most difficult thing you’ve been asked to write. Don’t feel alone. Even seasoned veterans like me find it challenging to write their own bio. What the heck do you say in it? How do you walk the line between self-promotion and self-aggrandizement? Let me share some do’s and don’ts to help you construct a great author bio.
1. Do obtain the specs
Being told to write a “brief” author bio doesn’t really cut it. You need a word count. Are you playing with 35 words or 150? Many clients would consider both of those “brief.”
2. Do self-promote
You definitely can and should include at least a link to your website. Spell it out in the text, if you can’t place an actual link. Links like this provide valuable search juice to elevate your site in the search rankings. Google, in particular, loves to see high-value sites linking to yours. It’s a kind of social proof. And if you’ve recently published a book, for example, you could highlight that, as well.
3. Do include your biggest accomplishments
Many content clients have no problem with your naming other brands in your bio. If you’ve been fortunate enough to work with major brands like WebMD or Healthgrades, put that in your author bio. And publications (on the journalism side) usually find this acceptable, too. Many a freelance writer has used a line like: “His/Her/Their work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Health magazine, and other major publications.”
4. Don’t be self-aggrandizing
Remember that your author bio is actually a branding piece for your business. You want to come across as professional, accomplished, and likeable – not arrogant. So consider every word contained in your bio and place each one carefully.
5. Don’t treat your bio like a resume
Your author bio shouldn’t include every single aspect of your professional resume. Pick and choose the most important elements: nursing licensure, clients, awards, etc., and highlight those.
6. Do include some personal information
It’s perfectly fine to include a line or two about where you live or what you like to do outside work. Prospective clients may “bond” with you based on a personal tidbit, such as the particular type of breed your dog is.
7. Do revise your bio periodically
Your author bio should be a “living document” on your computer that you revise and update periodically. You also can customize it to suit the particular client or publication that requested it. Pick and choose the types of accomplishments and clients that make the most sense to include in the bio for the specific outlet that will be publishing it. For example, if you’re providing an author bio for a gig that involves regularly blogging about kidney health, then highlight your writing experience/clients in this area and leave out the ones related to heart health.
Creating an author bio can feel daunting, but then again it’s not something that will make or break your career. Have fun with it and do the best you can!