I recently came across and tweeted about a post I found on the site, Where Writers Win, entitled Six Tips to Crafting a Better Author Bio: Write a Life Story Worth Reading. One quote from the writer, Steve Piacente, really struck home. The quote was, “It always baffles me when writers creative enough to craft a 300-page novel spin the story of their lives into a batch of boring paragraphs that do little to explain who they really are or entice readers to check out their books.” Huh. Well, gosh, this is me exactly. My bio on Amazon and other book sites is so BORING it puts me to sleep!!! That quote definitely got me to keep reading. Steve’s six steps made some sense so I thought, what if I applied those steps to myself? What would I come up with?
What I currently had posted on Amazon, Goodreads, B&N, etc. was the following snoozefest:
Kellie Larsen Murphy is a freelance writer who has worked in both the banking and publishing industries. In recent years, she has written on a variety of subjects and been featured frequently in several mid-Atlantic magazines. Her debut novel, A Guilty Mind, is the first in a series featuring Detective Michael Cancini. The second in the series, Stay of Execution, will be available in 2013. Kellie lives in Richmond, Virginia, with her husband, four children, and two dogs. She would be happy to hear from readers through her website, www.kellielarsenmurphy.com.
Yes, it needs work so, applying each of Steve’s steps (listed below), I attempted to make it better.
Step 1. Consider what was going on when the stork landed at your parents’ house and weave in some history.
Born in the sixties, I missed the whole Woodstock experience but it is through the music and books of those decades that I learned to appreciate the written word. To this day, a good lyric will always draw me in.
Step 2. Briefly explain what fired your writing gene.
I have always loved reading. I will never forget being a teenager and staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning to finish a book by Stephen King only to realize on the last page – I am fricking alone in the dark reading a scary book! Am I crazy? I was (I can’t even watch scary movies today) but that love of books has never gone away.
Step 3. Just as when you write fiction, provide details that move the action forward:
Although we moved often when I was a child, we settled in Virginia where I attended the College of William and Mary. I turned that education into a ten-year career in finance until the first of my four children was born.
Step 4. Be conversational, open and personable.
The children brought exhaustion and joy, and more exhaustion (and lots more joy), but also the opportunity to take my love of writing from a hobby and turn it into a full-time endeavor.
Step 5. Now it’s time to circle back to writing fiction:
While I worked at the craft of writing fiction, I began building my freelance career, writing on a variety of subjects for several mid-Atlantic magazines. While this is still important to me today, I am thrilled to share my first published novel, A GUILTY MIND, a psychological suspense that explores the themes of guilt and redemption.
Step 6. – Give a glimpse of your private life, but don’t go overboard.
When I’m not chasing kids or our two large, hairy dogs, I might be found at the keyboard writing my next article, short story, or psychological suspense. Or I might be having a glass of wine with my husband. It’s all good.
Now, here’s where I add my own step. I recommend putting it all together, reading it out loud, and lopping where lopping needs to happen and tweaking where necessary. I’ll spare you seeing my editing work, but here’s what I came up with:
Kellie Larsen Murphy is a freelance writer and author who has always loved reading. She will never forget being a teenager and staying up until 3 or 4 in the morning to finish a book by Stephen King only to realize on the last page – “I am sitting here alone in the dark and reading a scary book! Am I crazy?” She was and can’t even watch scary movies today, but that love of books has never gone away. After attending the College of William and Mary, she pursued a ten-year career in finance until the first of her four children was born. The children brought exhaustion and joy, and more exhaustion and lots more joy, but also the opportunity to take her love of writing from a hobby and turn it into a full-time endeavor.
Writing on a variety of subjects, Kellie has since been featured in several mid-Atlantic and southern magazines. A GUILTY MIND, the first in a series of psychological suspense novels exploring the themes of guilt and redemption, is her debut novel. When Kellie is not chasing kids or her two large, hairy dogs, she can be found at the keyboard writing her next article, short story, or blogging about writing. Or she might be having a glass of wine with her husband. It’s all good.
STAY OF EXECUTION, the second in her series of psychological suspense novels featuring Detective Michael Cancini, will be published in late 2013. She would be happy to hear from readers through her website, www.kellielarsenmurphy.com.
Is it better? That is clearly the question. I struggle with the concept of too personal vs. professional. What do you think?
Whether or not this is a final version, I do believe the six steps have some merit and can certainly help elevate a humdrum bio to something more captivating.