Think of the bio as quick or mini resume. You’ll want to include previous work experience, training, awards, etc. All the information needs to fit into one paragraph and needs to be aimed specifically toward your writing career.
This mini resume doesn’t include hobbies, likes & dislikes, etc. The receiver of the letter knows the most important thing about you and that is you’re a writer with a goal.
If you don’t have writing credits that’s fine. Most publishers/agents want to know how much experience you’ve gotten under your belt. It doesn’t have to be publications. What writing associations do you belong to? What crit groups do you belong to? Did you submit this story and it win an award? Check the submission page for specific questions they want to know about you and be sure to share here. Include online links, and keep in mind they will look you up.
Sooooo, your blog/website is the place for a more detailed bio if you want to introduce the full package. Here you can include general life experiences, education, hobbies, and even where you live (but for safety sake keep your personal information general). Make sure your online pages are up-to-date, including twitter, facebook, instagram, and all the rest of them.
Back to the query, the last paragraph is very important. Here you thank your editor/agent for their time (they’re extremely busy and have made time to look at this letter), invite them to contact you (think of this as a warm handshake), and express a hope to hear from them soon. Be friendly, and professional when wrapping it up.
In closing you can use the standard: sincerely yours, best regards, etc. with your name directly under it. After all the work you put into this, don’t forget to follow all submission guidelines. Failure to do so will be an immediate rejection. They will not open your email.
Good luck and I hope this gets you to the next step — a partial request or better yet a full. :-)
Writers: Are there any tips that helped you get to the next step?
Book Bloggers: I know we don’t write the same kind of letter to you for review, but I encourage you to add any feedback you feel is appropriate. :-)