Query Letters — Bio and Closing

So far I’ve touched on theΒ  subject line, hook/personalization of the query letter, leaving the book blurb for the thousands of posts already in blogosphere. Today I’d like to bring up the author bio.

Think of the bio as quick or mini resume. You’ll want to include previous work scribbling-152216experience, 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 social-367942_1280keep 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

Gleaned from:

 

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32 responses to “Query Letters — Bio and Closing

  1. I know when receiving author requests I like to know a little about the author’s past work, if they have any, and a little about them as well. I don’t necessarily want to know their hobbies or even their personal life as far as family goes but it is fun to have something in there outside of the norm. Like they are a Supernatural fan or something that a reader and reviewer can relate to.
    That might just be me though, I don’t know. But it is nice to know that the author is “human”. πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks. I’d like my persona to remain human and approachable. I think that’s why so many people like Stephen King.

      Wait! Isn’t everyone a Supernatural fan? πŸ™‚

  2. I always dread bios because I don’t have much to say as far as accomplishments. I like to see a little silly fun facts in a bio, but not over the top. Great advice on the social media. Make those links count!

  3. Yup, for a query letter it’s best to keep the bio short and sweet and get straight to the point. You can create a longer bio for your website/blog and spice it up more for you book.

  4. Good summary. Since queries should fit on one page, it’s good you remind us-all to skip the fluff!

  5. I completely agree, but writers should be careful when mentioning crit groups. Agents and editors expect that someone will have looked at the manuscript, so it’s really not necessary to mention, and a lot of writing/crit groups result in a manuscript that has a “writing by committee” feel. I think it’s best to mention one’s publishing history and relevant awards, if any, and then get to the closing.

  6. My blog really needs to be updated. I want a picture of myself reading and I need to update my about me page too. You reminded me that I need to do this on my NetGalley page too although that’s a whole other story.
    It’s interesting to see you create this query. It is something I need to think of, but with a resume for teaching. I have to create a portfolio really when applying for jobs. I can’t even imagine it when I start that whole process after my student teaching and graduation.

  7. If your book relates to your present or past work, or to you in any way other than your passion, definitely include that in your bio. Of course, in my experience, I’ve found agents who say not to include “Hope to hear from you soon.” Or, “Manuscript available upon request”. So, your advice about reading the agents’ website is dead-on.

  8. Great advice, and yes short and sweet is the best. Include only what is important to your writing career.

  9. More great tips. And making sure your online pages are up-to-date is so important.

  10. Great tips. Brief and professional is the way to go.

  11. Excellent tips! I try for a little bit of humor in my bio. Making the agent/publisher/editor smile can help you stand out.

  12. Thanks for the tips. I mention my current works and the writing groups I’m a part of in my author bio. Short and sweet. But my author bio on my site goes a little further, with a it of a life story and my likes.

  13. I suspect the bio part of my query will be pretty short. I don’t have much in the way of credits yet. Thanks for the info.

  14. Great post! I’d also add that if you don’t have an MFA or published works, it’s okay to put the degrees you do have, particularly if one of them is relevant to the content of your manuscript!

  15. I admire those people who write bios with random information about themselves and make it cute and funny. Mine is fairly straightforward and boring.

    Stephanie
    http://stephie5741.blogspot.com

  16. jenniferbielman

    I love amazing author bios. When I wrote mine, I spend days thinking about it. So important.

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