Your Best Side
©Mary Cook - All Rights Reserved



“It warms you twice,” said the man mopping sweat from his brow while chopping wood. And thats 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 interests.


Using the third person:

  • Tell them who you are.
  • Tell them what you can do/have done.
  • Tell them what services you offer/what you have for sale.


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 you 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 you ve failed quite another.



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.


Dont be a Loser

You may not have won any major prizes, but you 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!


Take Stock

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 future.


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.


Be Economical

You may have as few as 50 to100 words to make an impression, so make them count.


Use language as economically as possible, cutting out any words which may hide the view of your stunning silhouette.


With your best profile on display, chances are you 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: Writers Weekly, Writing World, Writers Forum, Writelink and Funds for Writers. Her poetry collection, Collywobblers: Perverse Verse for Guys and Ghouls, is available at






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