The 5 Step Biography

If you’re in the lucky position of having a book to publicise, whether self published or under the umbrella of a mainstream publisher, your readers will want to know who you are. They’ll be more interested in your story than in the story of your book. But by telling your story, you’ll see more books.

That’s why it’s worth investing time in creating a bio for yourself. At this moment, the thought is probably making you cringe. ‘I haven’t done anything,’ you think. ‘I don’t want to be boasting.’ You’re not. You have a story to tell, but it can be hard to get that outside perspective on your own life to help you to tell us.

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When I’m writing bios for people, I fall back on my journalism training and use the 5 Ws of journalism, Who, What, When, Where and Why. And I add a H for How. Here’s how you can adapt it for yourself.

  1. Why

Simon Sinek, in his book Start with Why, says that knowing the reason for what you do is the cornerstone of success. Everything you do springs from that question. Your why is your reason for being a reader. It’s the spark that inspires you to write. Ask yourself why you write, why writing is so important to you.

  1. What

This is the nuts and bolts question, where you identify what you do. It’s the question that shows what you did to act on your why. Ask yourself what led to  this particular book and what it’s about.

  1. When and Where

These questions go hand in hand. They’re essential questions because they help people to find you. You tell them where they can buy your book and when it will be released. When you hold your launch and signings, tell them when and where they’re on.  If you don’t answer these questions, you’ll have no audience.

  1. Who

This is the question that helps you identify your audience. Who do you see reading your book? Picture your typical reader in your mind. When you’ve done this, you can find out what media they use and market your book to them there.

  1. How

This is the question that interviewers will most often ask you: How do you write? Readers will be fascinated to gain an insight into your writing process; they’ll feel they’re being let on a secret. They will also want to know how much your book is, so they can decide to invest.

If you’d like help with your bio, give me a mail on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie.

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