By Joan Stewart
Some people collect antique china. Others keep a stash of comic books from their childhood.
I collect author resources boxes.
Why? Because the ones most authors write are more potent than Ambien. And every time I see one that makes me smile, I grab a screenshot for safekeeping.
A resource box is the super-short bio, usually 50 to 100 words, at the end of articles and guest blog posts you’ve written. Sometimes they include a link to a website. Sometimes they’re only one sentence. That means you must make the best use of every character in a tiny amount of real estate.
Why so short? Because if you’re writing a guest blog post or an article for a magazine, the blogger and magazine editor each have their own “rules” on how short it must be. If you’re not sure, ask!
Here are seven author resource boxes that caught my attention. Not all of them are from authors who have written books. But every one of them will spark your creativity.
1. Use snark to demonstrate your expertise.
That’s what Michelle Pierce of Aqua Vita Creative did in this summary of her job description. Because she works for a creative agency, her author resource box had better sizzle. This one does. I love the phrase “the entire Internet.”
When I went to her company’s website, I found another updated summary of what she does on the “About” page. All employees’ mini-profiles follow this same format.
2. Start with surprising personal details and transition seamlessly to your job.
How many authors would reveal that they don’t drink, smoke or use drugs? Steve Olenski, co-author of the book StumbleUpon for Dummies, shared those details to explain how he gets high from his work—and a pizza.
3. You don’t need a complete sentence.
Write one-, two- and three-word phrases to describe yourself. Take a cue from Amanda Hocking, the paranormal romance young-adult fiction author who sold more than $2 million in ebooks in one year. At the end of her author resource box, she switches to complete sentences to let readers know about her books.
4. Make a copywriting faux pas to make a point, and if the topic fits.
Look at the clever way Corey Eridon, lead editor for HubSpot’s blog, stops in the middle of a word. The sentence, of course, is about brevity.
5. Start and end your bio with a clever sentence.
Then, sandwich information about your book or business in between. That’s what journalist John Romano did. I like the Bruce Springsteen mention at the end.
6. Paint a picture.
Zach Swinehart, author of The Geek Guidebook: How to Find Local Geeks to Solve Your Tech Problems for Pennies on the Dollar, tells readers what he is not and paints a picture with this bio:
7. Explain who inspired you.
USA Today bestselling author Meredith Duran “blames” Anne Boleyn and gives readers a taste of her writing which, I assume, includes happy endings.
Now, Try Your Own
Go back and read your own author bio. Try using one tip from my list, or a combination of tips, and see if you can write a three-sentence summary of yourself that sizzles.
Keep it simple. And keep it fun.