About Me pages fill some fiction writers with dread. And yet, a good About Me page is essential to connecting with readers, winning new fans, and even impressing agents, editors, and publishers.
The problem is, many of us are introverted artists. We scrawl fiction in our lonely writers’ caves, where the sign at the door says something like “Writer At Work. KEEP OUT,” or maybe a more literary “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Except for a lucky few, we’re not gifted marketers who love promoting ourselves. How do you create the perfect bio when talking up your talents isn’t your forté?
7 Steps to Writing a Perfect About Me Page
Let’s make this simple. We’ve laid out a step-by-step system to banish the inevitable I-Don’t-Know-What-to-Say Syndrome that sets in when you try to write about yourself.
STEP 1 – Create a quick timeline
Jot down a quick timeline of your progression as a writer. What or who inspired you and made you say “I want to write!” for the very first time? How did you start on the path to learning? Did you acquire any relevant degrees or credentials? What milestones have you achieved?
STEP 2 – Organize your timeline
Take a moment to figure out how you’ll organize your timeline. It might make sense to work chronologically. Or maybe there’s a pivotal moment or accomplishment you want to highlight first.
STEP 3 – Brainstorm.
Now that you’ve got your timeline let’s start fleshing it out and making it personal. At the top of a blank page, write this question:
“Who is [Your Name], the writer?”
Now, freewrite for ten minutes about your writer’s evolution. In this step, you’re trying to get your thoughts down in raw form. Don’t worry if they’re a messy jumble.
Think about the elements in your timeline and how those events and experiences informed and shaped your voice. What makes you unique? What struggles have you faced and how have you overcome them? Write fast, dig deep, and be honest.
STEP 4 – Take note of your audience
Write down a few things about the types of people who will visit your site. What will prompt them to visit your page? What will they be hoping to find when they get there? Think not only of your existing friends, family, and readers but people visiting your page in a professional capacity, like agents or editors.
STEP 5 – Describe yourself in one sentence.
Give yourself time to think about it. Tighten up the sentence to remove filler words and make sure it speaks with perfect clarity. Keep it short and powerful—this is your lede, so don’t bury it! For example:
“Johnny Jones is the author of five urban fantasy novels, including two New York Times Bestsellers.”
STEP 6 – Draft your About Me page.
You’ve gone from blank page to backbone! Now that there are plenty of ideas swimming around in your head, it’s time to get them all down in a rough draft.
STEP 7 – Edit.
Make sure you thoroughly proofread and edit your draft. It’s the piece of text that represents your public image, so it should be flawless. Consider having a friend look over your draft to help you make sure it’s pristine.
How to Write Your About Me Page – Do’s and Dont’s
- Keep your word count reasonable. Your About Me page is a quick summary, not a memoir. Aim for a length between 250 and 500 words. If you want to go into more detail, do that on another page. Include a link to your longer bio on your official About Me page.
- Include your writing credentials. If you have relevant publications, degrees or education, awards, volunteer work, or memberships, be sure to include them. Stick to the highlights—this is an About Me page, not a resumé.
- Write like you talk … within reason. Use a conversational tone, as though you’re talking to a new friend who’s shown interest in learning more about your writing passion. Just remember that writing conversationally doesn’t give you carte blanche. Eliminate filler words and keep your text crisp and clean.
- Include a call-to-action. How do you want to keep in touch with your readers and prospective readers? Encourage your visitors to interact with you by ending with a call-to-action. Invite them to follow your social media accounts. Ask them to subscribe to your blog updates mailing list. Link them to your “Contact Me” page and urge them to reach out with questions, comments, or opportunities.
- Show yourself. If you have a good, professional headshot, let readers connect your words with a face. Resist the urge to use your favourite selfie unless it looks like a pro photographer took it.
- Don’t include too much. Everything about your life as a writer is meaningful to you, but it may not be relevant to your reader. Ultimately, your About Me page is for them, not you. Carefully weigh what to leave in and what to leave out. If your bio page is drifting beyond the 500-word mark, do some prioritizing.
- Don’t just offer a list of facts. Let your readers know that there’s a real human behind the pages. Tell the story of your journey. Show people who you are, and let them know what you believe.
- Don’t lose sight of the tone of your writing. Do you write mysteries with a twist of sardonic humour? Are you a regency romance novelist? Your unique writer’s voice doesn’t end the minute you start writing an About Me page.
- Don’t get too personal. When it comes to personal details, a little goes a long way. Limit the things you share to a few anecdotes that your readers will find relatable.
Writing your About Me page doesn’t have to be a chore. Speak naturally about yourself and your experiences. Include only the highlights and a few fascinating personal details. Write with strength and clarity. Soon you’ll have a bio you can be proud of.