Stumped on your bio?
You’re not alone.
I’m posting some pointers this week on writing queries, focusing on some of the questions I get most from my clients and other authors. Today, I’m talking about biographies. You MUST have a bio (it goes after your comp titles and before your signature) in your query. I see them left out all the time, and I think it’s because most querying authors are new to writing, so they think that if they aren’t a bestseller, Agent X doesn’t need to hear anything about them. SO not true! Bios tell Agent X about the human being behind the query. They want to know that you’re a real-life person, whom they can see themselves working with and maybe even someone they can relate to (even better).
What if I’m a newbie author, and this is my first book?
Still, authors ask me:
“But I don’t have any writing credits. What on earth can I possibly say?”
If I had a dime for every time a client said this, I’d be able to retire early. The answer is simple.
Just talk about you. Briefly. Tell them what state you live in, what you do for a living, and as much info about your family (if applicable) as you feel comfortable sharing. Check out the example in the bio below.
“I live in Kentucky with my two daughters, and extremely intelligent Aussie, and a very fat cat. I work as a paralegal by day, and I edit novels by night. It’s a dream life.”
Notice the author mentioned nothing about writing experience. And they even added a little wit to the bio. Even better! This not only tells Agent X enough info to get a glimpse into this author’s life outside of writing, but it lets Agent X know she is relatable, likeable, and even a bit on the funny side. Extra points!
Simply show a bit of your personality and what makes you unique and special.
Can I say anything else in my bio?
Why, yes. Yes, you can. If you can in any way identify with Agent X, even better. You can say something like this:
“I read in your profile that you are an avid golfer. I play 9 rounds every chance I get, if I’m not at home writing.”
Or something like that.
This shows Agent X that you did your due diligence and read their profile and website before querying them. And your query will stand out from the other mechanical, non-personal emails they get by the hundreds daily. But there’s a big BUT to this tip – do not, under any circumstances, say anything that comes of stalkerish. Do not say:
“I looked you up online, and I see that you live only 10 miles from my grandma!”
How can I really impress Agent X?
The icing on the proverbial cake would be if you could in any way relate your book to something important in your life. What do I mean by that? I mean that Agent X loves to see that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re qualified to write this book. It’s not make or break if you can’t do this. It’s not always easy. But if you CAN manage to connect your life to your book, then do so. Try something like:
“Like the protagonist in this book, I grew up the daughter of a firefighter, so writing her experiences and her feelings toward her father came naturally to me.”
“I spent ten years in the Air Force, so I used much of my experience to create a believable setting and characters.”
If you can do this, you gain credibility in Agent X’s eyes, and they will take you seriously. Plenty of people can write books on many different topics, but if you’ve lived through the same experiences as your character(s), it tells Agent X that you are writing with true passion and knowledge, and that your book will be better than any other on that topic.
How do I say goodbye to Agent X?
This topic isn’t quite big enough for its own post, so I’m throwing it in here.
It’s really quite simple. After your biography paragraph, simple hit “enter” twice, and type the following:
“Thank you for your time and consideration.”
Nothing more, nothing less. So often, I see authors trying to ramble on in the closing paragraph in hopes that they can take one last chance to convince Agent X to request their manuscript. Don’t say that you can’t wait to hear from them, or that you look forward to their reply. This will sound mean, but it’s true. SOME agents find those kinds of statements to be presumptuous. As if you’re saying, “I know you can’t resist, and I know for certain you’re going to reply to me.” You could kill the happy mood Agent X is in after reading your killer query with the amazing bio. Just thank them and sign your name.
Do I need to give Agent X all my info under my signature?
Include only your social media handles and website under your signature. You don’t need to put your email. Duh. They already have that. And you don’t want to put your address and phone number because: A) they will never need your address, and B) they don’t want your phone number until/unless they ask for your book. Then, include that info in the top righthand corner of your title page.
I hope this post has been helpful. As always, if there’s anything I did not cover, or if you have any other questions for the #queryguru, contact us and ask. You’re never bothering us.
And don’t forget that we offer query editing services for only $100 for UNLIMITED revisions until we get your query spic and span and ready for sending to Agent X! No other query editor I know offers such a low rate, and NO ONE offers unlimited revisions! Simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
That’s what we’re here for.
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