A few weeks ago I told you that one of the first steps I was going to take towards finding an agent and trying to get my first book published was going to be to write some short stories and submit them to contests for publication. Truthfully, I was actually just hoping to get some negative feedback. Something along the lines of, “This wasn’t the worst thing we’ve ever read, but you need to work on A, B and C (and possibly D-Z as well) and then feel free to resubmit your work or send something new.” Honestly, I thought that would be great progress and worth the investment to enter the contests. At the least, I figured it would help me to grow and improve as a writer – identify the issues my writing had and find ways to fix those things, especially in my manuscript, before I start submitting it to agents. At best, I figured I might get one of my short stories published.
You can imagine my shock when one of the first places I submitted a short story to sent back the following email:
We would like to run your short story. Would you please send us a short bio and any links to your work?
Reading that sentence was both fantastic and terrifying all at once! It was completely unexpected, and exciting, but it came with an important lesson for a new writer: I wasn’t ready to submit.
Their first request after accepting my story, was for something I didn’t have: my author bio.
I knew I’d eventually need one, but I figured I would have months of rejections to work on it.
Plus, what was I supposed to put in my bio? I’ve had nothing published, I’ve worked with nobody, and currently my scope of expertise is potty training and keeping three little people alive (which has absolutely nothing to do with what I write about, otherwise that would have been a good place to start).
So I began doing what all writers do: READING!
I read articles about how to and how not to write an author bio. I read actual author bios. I Twitter and Facebook stalked more authors than I care to admit and read the short bios they put on their profiles. I looked up my favorite author’s bios and then I took a deep breath and started writing.
Similar to everything else a writer does, the first draft was garbage and after about fifteen revisions I felt like I was getting somewhere. I started adding my own voice and flair to the bio and when I finally felt like it wasn’t going to get me retroactively rejected, I put it into a Word Doc, attached it to my email and hit send.
Good news! No email came back saying “never mind,” which means that soon I will be able to share a link with you that will bring you to my first published story.
How freaking exciting is that?
So, do you want to see the Author Bio I finally settled on? Here it is:
Elizabeth is a devoted wife and mother of three. She currently resides in Florida, where she is stuck in an eternal Summer. Known to family and friends as love’s greatest cheerleader, she believes that love can be victorious over even the most formidable opponent. Elizabeth is currently working on having her first romance novel published, while she continues writing short stories, and a blog about love, life, and the journey to becoming an unexpected author.
What do you think? If you like it, don’t get too attached, and if you think it sucks, then don’t worry because it’s going to change soon. As soon as my first short story goes live on the website I will have a published piece, which means I can add it to my bio and start with more relevant resume info and leave out some of the personal “blurbs”, which at the moment, are on the heavy side for lack of anything else substantial to include.
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Until next time,