Evolution of a Short Author Bio II

An author’s bio can change quite a bit over an author’s career. Mine sure has. The more writerly accomplishments I accumulate, the more my bio changes, and over the past couple years I’ve added some important things to my resume. Before I get into the new bio, let’s look at the old one, which I wrote back in early 2018.

Aeryn Rudel is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington. His second novel, Aftershock, was recently published by Privateer Press. Aeryn occasionally offers dubious advice on the subjects of writing and rejection (mostly rejection) on his blog at www.rejectomancy.com.

Pretty straightforward, and I kept it short and sweet and under 50 words. My new bio is longer, but it includes the same elements it always has:

  • Basic details
  • Accomplishments
  • Where to go/buy

Basic Details

The who, what, and where. Like I’ve said in these posts before, I think you should keep potentially sensitive data out of your bio. I’m comfortable letting folks know which city I live in, but your geographic location isn’t really a necessary detail.

Here are my basic details in 2018:

Aeryn Rudel is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington.

And, well, that still hasn’t changed much.

Aeryn Rudel is a writer from Seattle, Washington.

I’ve been using the term freelance, but I’m going to stop. It doesn’t really add anything other than “I want to get paid,” which is, I hope, obvious. 🙂

Accomplishments

This is the section of the bio that tends to change the most for me. As my list of publications grows, there’s a lot more I can add to this section (without going crazy), as you’ll see below.

My accomplishments looked like this in 2018:

His second novel, Aftershock, was recently published by Privateer Press.

Here’s what I’ve been going with recently:

He is the author of the Acts of War novels published by Privateer Press, and his short fiction has appeared in The ArcanistOn Spec, and Pseudopod, among others.

So, yeah, I’ve changed this quite a bit. First, since I finished the third book in the Acts of War series, I just list the series name rather than individual titles. I now also include a sample of my short fiction publications. I think this is a good showing of what I’ve accomplished over the last four or five years.

In the last two years, I’ve gained active membership in writing organizations like the SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). I don’t generally include those in my bio because I figure it’s going to be read more by readers of speculative fiction rather than writers or editors of same. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not against putting these memberships in a bio. They ARE significant accomplishments. I just like to put them in places I think they’re more likely to be noticed by folks familiar with those organizations. As with everything on this blog, this another of my sometimes dubious opinions, and I’m happy to be educated by folks with other thoughts on the issue. 

Where to Go/Buy

It’s important to give folks a link to click in your bio, a place to go where they can find out more about you and your work, and maybe even read or buy some. That can be a website, social media profiles, or even a direct link to Amazon. Lots of options.

In 2018, my where to go/buy looks like this:

Aeryn occasionally offers dubious advice on the subjects of writing and rejection (mostly rejection) on his blog at www.rejectomancy.com.

Here’s what it looks like now:

He occasionally offers dubious advice on writing and rejection (mostly rejection) at www.rejectomancy.com or on Twitter @Aeryn_Rudel.

The biggest change here is that I now add my Twitter handle. The reason for this is simple. I actually find Twitter pretty useful for the promotion of my writing, and I’m more active there than any other social media platform.

The Finished Bio

Okay, now the final product.

Here’s 2018:

Aeryn Rudel is a freelance writer from Seattle, Washington. His second novel, Aftershock, was recently published by Privateer Press. Aeryn occasionally offers dubious advice on the subjects of writing and rejection (mostly rejection) on his blog at www.rejectomancy.com.

And here’s 2020:

Aeryn Rudel is a writer from Seattle, Washington. He is the author of the Acts of War novels published by Privateer Press, and his short fiction has appeared in The Arcanist, On Spec, and Pseudopod, among others. He occasionally offers dubious advice on writing and rejection (mostly rejection) at www.rejectomancy.com or on Twitter @Aeryn_Rudel.

My 2018 bio is 38 words long, and my 2020 bio is 55 words. I used to keep my bios under 50 words, but I’ve changed my stance on that. Often times, when a bio is requested, the guidelines are ” a single paragraph” or “no more than three sentences” or “under 100 words.” My new bio fits all those guidelines, and it’s still pretty concise. Of course, if a publisher does want a bio under 50 words, it’s super easy to trim it down.

Increasingly, I’m getting requests for bios in the 75- to 100-word range. In that case, I like to have a little fun with it, like this:

Aeryn Rudel is a writer from Seattle, Washington. He is the author of the Acts of War novels published by Privateer Press, and his short fiction has appeared in The Arcanist, On Spec, and Pseudopod, among others. Aeryn is a notorious dinosaur nerd, a baseball fanatic, and knows far more about swords than is healthy or socially acceptable. He occasionally offers dubious advice on the subjects of writing and rejection (mostly rejection) at www.rejectomancy.com or Twitter @Aeryn_Rudel.

This bio contains all the important bits from the shorter bio, just with some embellishments. It’s a fun, and, yeah, goofy way to tell folks a little more about myself. I tinker with this version a lot, trying to find even more groan-worthy ways to call attention to my nerdery. 🙂


And there you have it. The new and improved author bio. What are your thoughts on bios? Tell me about it in the comments.

5 Comments on “Evolution of a Short Author Bio II

  1. Is there a specific reason you refer to yourself as a writer in the first sentence of your bio and an author later? And then back to writing later in the long bio?

    Can I be bold and suggest two tweaks?

    Instead of ‘novels published by Privateer Press, and his short fiction…’ use a semi-colon ‘novels published by Privateer Press; his short fiction…’. This saves you a word and 4 characters. It also discreetly shows that you know how to use a semi-colon.

    And, in the long bio, how about replacing the brackets around ‘(mostly rejection)’ with dashes to emphasise the topic?

  2. Well done as usual, Aeryn. Will have to steal (“lovingly borrow”?) some of your suggestions here. Thank you!

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