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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, June 07, 2018

A Little Lesson on Writing Bios from Dr. Bob Rich

I am always unsure about the level of communication I'm achieving when I talk about biographies--in my books or with my clients.  I often say "bio or credit line."  I mean, biography could mean anything from a full book to a twenty-five word pitch at the end of an Op-Ed piece in The New York Times!  Because bios (or credits) are so important to the marketing of a book, I include information on them in every one of my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books.  Still, when I saw this from Author Dr. Bob Rich, I fell in love. He both stretches the idea of bios and limits them.  His input on bios as fact or fiction is something I doubt many writers have considered.  So, enjoy!








Dr. Bob Rich's Take on Writing a Bio That Inspires

The Bio

As a writer, you may be asked to provide 'a bio'. It goes on the back of the paperback or the dust jacket of the hardcover, and is part of your e-book. It is needed when you win in a writing competition. Your book may be reviewed, or you may review someone else's. Publish an article, essay, poem or story in a magazine or newspaper, and they will want a bio.

More prosaically, you should have one on your website, or when joining an email list.

A bio is short. Usually 50 to 200 words are specified. The shorter a piece of writing, the harder it is, so producing a bio is often a form of torture.

What is a bio anyway?

It is a prose snippet designed to induce people to read your writing. You are not in court, required to state the Truth, All the Truth and Nothing But the Truth. You are writing something with the theme 'Me!' in order to get people to read your books, stories, essays, poems, whatever.

Above all, a bio is A SAMPLE OF YOUR WRITING. Therefore, it should not consist of stodge.
    Joanie Smith lives with her husband, Bill, son, Jason, and daughter, Cindy. She has a Dalmatian named Spot. Joanie has written a romantic suspense that every reader so far has loved, and she would love to have it published.
If a publisher of romantic suspense happened to stumble across this, would she instantly dash off an email to Joanie, demanding to see the manuscript? Not on the basis of this sample of Joanie's writing.

All right, let's try again.
    Joanie Smith often has to deal with evil kidnappers, torturers of children, drug-crazed psychopaths. She helps young women to rescue the poor victims against all the odds. These girls start as naïve and apparently with few resources, but Joanie coaches them, and helps them to find tough, attractive allies who inevitably fall in love with them.
    Well... this is what she does when she is inside her computer. The rest of her life is none of your business.
Isn't that more fun? Or how about:
    Joanie Smith has always wanted to write. She remembers, as an ovum hidden within her Mom, watching this crowd of pointy things coming at her. She chose the one that most looked like a pen, and gave him all her love. But, typical male, he didn't hold any ink.
    That's why Joanie prefers to write on a computer.
    She is a full time writer, making up stories while helping her husband to run their business, and while he helps her, reluctantly, to run their household. She is the author of twenty-seven romantic suspense novels, though twenty-six have not been recorded yet. The one completed book is eagerly waiting for a discerning publisher. Being only twenty-two, Joanie is happy to wait for this, as much as six months, before she pickets the Publishing Industry.
Should a bio be true? I don't see why. Read this:







Bob Rich is from a different galaxy. He looks like a huge maggot with six suction-capped feet, a great gaping mouth with cilia around it, and no eyes or ears. He doesn't need those because he reads electromagnetic patterns like those thoughts generate.






Not wanting to shock humans, he hides within a Terran body, and travels through Earth's history. Currently he is studying the most bizarre period of all time: the early 21st Century.






One excursion took him 1500 years into the future. His report from there is in the award-winning book Sleeper, Awake.






Another trip was to 700 BC, where he met the Ehvelen, his favorite humans. Their stories are at http://bobswriting.com/series.html reported within an adventure series.






Bob's most dangerous expedition was to the years surrounding the Second World War, in Hungary. This resulted in the multiple-award-winning Anikó: The stranger who loved me






Another series of Bob's time travels is recorded in Ascending Spiral.






Recently, he visited the mid-18th Century, where he met a wonderful Aboriginal girl. Her story is Guardian Angel.






Look him up at http://bobswriting.com, but only if you have the time to enjoy a few hours of reading.







Note that this bio is exactly 200 words long.

This bio is true in the same way that Joanie's second and third bios are true. But is it good writing? Does it make you want to read more? I hope so.

MORE ABOUT THE GUEST BLOGGER

Bio from Dr. Rich: Dr Bob Rich is a professional grandfather. Because he wants his millions of grandchildren to survive, and have a world worth surviving in, he is a passionate environmental and humanitarian campaigner. Unfortunately, he has no sense of humor whatever, as you will see at his blog Bobbing Aroundhttps://bobrich18.wordpress.com

A little extra from me because one of the beauties of blogs is we don't waste paper when when we include a little more! 

Dr Bob Rich's website is http://bobswriting.com. Be has an eclectic newsletter called
Bobbing Around http://wp.me/P3Xihq-1. He tells you about what he considers his best book at http://bobswriting.com/guardian.html.  And his two favorite mottoes are: 
Commit random acts of kindness and Live simply so you may simply live.  

MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER



Howard-Johnson is the author of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. She is also a marketing consultant, editor, and author of the multi award-winning HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers including the award-winning second editions of The Frugal Book Promoter (where she talks more about choosing and the advantages of winning contests and how to use those honors)  and The Frugal Editor. Her latest is in the series is  How to Get Great Book Reviews Frugally and Ethically. Learn more on her Amazon profile page, http://bit.ly/CarolynsAmznProfileGreat Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers is one of her booklets--perfect for inexpensive gift giving--and, another booklet, The Great First Impression Book Proposal helps writers who want to be traditionally published. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including one she encourages authors to read because it will help them convince retailers to host their workshops, presentations, and signings. It is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. In addition to this blog, she helps writers extend the exposure of their favorite reviews at TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com. She also blogs at all things editing--grammar, formatting and more--at The Frugal, Smart, and Tuned-In Editor (http://TheFrugalEditor.blogspot.com )