People love reading fun facts, like these, about their favorite authors:
- Stephen King said that if he had the chance to live his life all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing, except he’d want to appear in an advertisement for American Express.
- English novelist Evelyn Waugh’s first wife was also named Evelyn. They quickly became known as “He-Evelyn” and “She-Evelyn.”
- Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, lived next door to Mark Twain.
- When writing the sex scenes for 50 Shades of Grey, author E.L. James listened to a playlist that included Bruce Springsteen, the Black Eyed Peas, Frank Sinatra, Kings of Leon and Britney Spears.
- John Steinbeck used 300 pencils to write East of Eden.
Nothing dresses up an author’s media kit faster than a list of “5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me.”
Why fun facts? Because most author bios are more potent than sleeping pills. Fun facts practically beg journalists and bloggers to add them to articles they’re writing about you.
How to Use Your Fun Facts
You can weave fun facts into your bio, but I recommend you offer them on a separate page in your online media kit and link to them from the bio, so they stand out.
Some facts can be short enough to be tweets. Others can be paired with whimsical stock photos and shared on social media. How about creating an entire Pinterest board of fun facts about you?
Radio and TV talk show hosts can steal fun facts and turn them into questions for interviews. Be sure to take them with you to the studio when doing interviews.
You can use relevant fun facts when pitching journalists.
They’re also ice-breakers when someone who doesn’t know you reads your media kit and wants to contact you.
One of my fun facts is about a valuable possession that sits in my office: a 1:18 die cast model of my first car, a 1963 white Chevy Nova affectionately nicknamed “The White Tornado.”
“Your car reminded me of my first car, a 1965 blue Ford Fairlane,” one reader wrote, and we starting exchanging emails.
You’ll find so many uses for fun facts that you’ll wonder how your marketing campaign existed without them.
The Sex Temple: Now THAT’S Fun
One of the challenges of fun facts, especially if you’re building a list of five or 10, is making sure each one is indeed quirky or unusual enough to be interesting. Here’s an example.
Dr. Laurie Weiss, author of the book Letting It Go: Relieve Anxiety and Toxic Stress In Just a Few Minutes Using Only Words (Rapid Relief With Logosynthesis), created a media kit for her book using my Quick & Easy Media Kit Templates. She scheduled a consulting session and asked me to review all the materials in her kit and coach her on how to improve them.
At age 77, Laurie has done a lot over the years. Here are her “5 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Me.” See if you can guess which one I told her to delete and replace with something fun:
- I was on television for the first time in 1947 when I sat in the top row in the Peanut Gallery on “The Howdy Doody Show.”
- I studied with a Lakota shaman for 7 years.
- I am fascinated by elephants. I’ve been blessed by several of them in India and have been tasted by a baby elephant in Thailand.
- I went indoor skydiving for the first time at age 67 and zip lining for the first time at age 75.
- I wish I had had these tools during the 5 years I spent earning my Ph.D. while working full time, going through menopause, and helping my parents complete their lives.
Did the Howdy Doody fun fact hook you and make you keep reading, like it did me? I breezed through them all, fascinated. But the list ended with a thud. That last fact looks out of place. Her reference to “these tools” puzzled me. (What tools?)
I knew from reading her bio that Laurie and her husband have traveled to more than a dozen countries. So I asked her to pinpoint the most interesting thing she can remember seeing or doing.
“I spent an afternoon at the sex temple at Khajiraho and learned more possible sex positions than I can possibly remember,” she said.
She nailed it! That’s her new fifth fun fact.
Fun Facts About Other Writers
Stephanie Sammons, author of Linked to Influence:
“I grew up in Plano, Texas… and was the high school mascot (yes, I wore the wildcat suit.)”
Elizabeth Cottrell, freelance writer:
“In my distant past, I did leprosy research with armadillos.”
Author and bio expert Nancy Juetten:
“My biggest indulgence is driving my grocery cart down the aisles at Whole Foods and putting amazing and delicious things into my basket without looking at the price– -a rare pleasure!”
Joel Friedlander, who publishes this blog:
“I can recite the entire Greek alphabet.”
My favorite fun fact:
More than a half century later, I still know all the words to the song played on Talent Roundup Day each Friday on “The Mickey Mouse Club” TV show from the 1950s.
Now, It’s Your Turn
If you’re having trouble coming up with your own fun facts, use this handy cheat sheet to spark ideas:
Can you share a quirky fact about your hobby?
Which animal was your favorite pet?
What’s the oddest piece of clothing you own?
What’s the most interesting place you have visited in your travels?
What do you fear most?
What’s your guilty pleasure?
When you’re playing music, what group will you dance to even if you’re alone?
What’s the most unusual thing in the top drawer of your desk?
What was your childhood nickname?
What was your favorite toy when you were a kid, and do you still have it?
What do you collect?
Who is your hero?
What was the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to you?
If you weren’t doing the job you’re doing now, what job would you want?
What was the make and model of your first car, and did it have a name?
Now, start making your own list. And don’t forget to share one of your fun facts in the Comments below.