Your Best Side
©Mary Cook - All Rights Reserved
“It warms you twice,” said the man mopping
sweat from his brow while chopping wood. And that’s how you need to think of your bio. The
credentials you use to sell your work to one editor can be scaled down and tailored to
sell more of your work to other editors.
Do you always show your best profile, or do
you hide it behind a curtain of hair? When you ’ re asked to provide a biographical note to
accompany your work, you need to list your greatest successes as well as your main writing
Using the third person:
An additional snippet of personal information
may sometimes give you an edge, as long as it bears some relation to the piece on submission, however tenuous. I
was once called up by the editor of an animal magazine, asking me to write an article on beekeeping. She
’ d picked up on my love of bees from the brief
resume I ’
d supplied. The result was a
lucrative commission which suited my interests and abilities exactly.
Accentuate the Positive
Highlight the more prestigious assignments
ve completed, not the trials
and tribulations you suffered on the way.
If you ’ re submitting a piece that has already been
rejected by other editors, no one need know except you. Modesty is one thing, but telling all and sundry where
ve failed quite
Best Foot Forward
If you want to be all things to all editors,
you need to show them you' re as versatile as a Swiss Army knife. When
you combine several roles, such as writer, editor and translator or journalist, copywriter and proof reader, make
sure the facet you want to emphasize appears at the top of the list.
Don’t be a Loser
You may not have won any major prizes, but
re not a loser if you
’ ve gained runners-up prizes and
“honourable mentions”. Not everyone gets that far, so put that in your bio and smoke it!
When you ’ re setting out your writing credentials for
the world to see, make sure you take a good look at them yourself. Perhaps this is a good time to re-evaluate your
writing career; to build on successes or fill in gaps in your field of expertise. It’s a vital opportunity to lay down plans for your bio of the
The (very) Small Ads
If an editor invites you to provide links
to your blog, webpage or books for sale, think long and hard. You ’ re getting the opportunity to advertise for
free, so decide exactly what it is you want to promote.
Ask yourself if your blog does you enough
favours in the way it displays your writing. In terms of making sales it may be more effective to provide a link to
the relevant page on your publisher ’ s website.
You may have as few as 50 to100 words to make an impression, so make them
Use language as economically as possible, cutting out any words which may hide the view of your
With your best profile on display, chances are
ll catch the eye of an
editor who will be willing to show you the colour of his money.
About the Author:
Mary Cook is a UK-based
writer whose main topics are the writing craft, humour and horror. Her articles, poems and fiction have
appeared in numerous publications, both in print and online. Publications which have used her work include:
Weekly, Writing World,
Forum, Writelink and Funds
for Writers. Her poetry collection, Collywobblers: Perverse Verse for Guys and
Ghouls, is available at