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What Should a "Short Bio" Include?

Categories: Dealing with Editors, Formatting.

Q: I have an article being published in a magazine and the editor e-mailed me asking for a short bio. This is my first time being published. How long is “short” and what should I include? —Robert K.

A: Congratulations on your first publication! Typically a short bio consists of one to two sentences (preferably one) that will go at the end of your article. Include your name, website or blog (if you have one), what you do for a living, anything of value about your writing career (any books you’ve published or awards you’ve won) or why you’re qualified to write that article. Notice that at the end of every Questions & Quandaries column I have a bio that reads: Brian A. Klems is the online community editor of WD. Short, simple and explains my qualifications.

OK, that was a cheap example because I work for the magazine, which made it easy. Let’s say that instead of writing an article for WD, I submitted one to Parents magazine about raising two girls. They’ve accepted my awesome article (why wouldn’t they?) and asked for a bio. Because the bio with my WD title doesn’t necessarily qualify me to write a piece about parenting, I’d rewrite it to include what does qualify me: Brian A. Klems is a writer, editor and father of two. You can follow his parenting musings and advice on his website, TheLifeOfDad.com.

Some people choose to be cutesy in their bio and that’s OK, so long as the article it accompanies is humorous or cutesy too. Otherwise, stick to the formula above. You’ll make a lot of editors happy that way.

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