Fiction Author Biography – Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors – Part Three

When it comes to writing about themselves, authors usually languish. This post will help overcome Author Biography writing reluctance.

Sherlock GIFs - Find & Share on GIPHY

The Author Biography page on your website is a piece of your media kit that should be created before someone asks for it. 

While not as dynamic as a tweet or Facebook post, it needs to be updated regularly, especially when you’ve created new work. On your website, this page can be the ‘long version’ that every short version springs from.

Journalists, publicists, author appearance schedulers, and blog interviewers are just a few of the people who will pull information from this source.

Nonfiction Author Bio

A nonfiction author, with the aim of booking speaking engagements, will lean heavily on experience that lends authority to his / her topic. This type of author biography should adhere to business communications style and standards.

Fiction Author Bio

A fiction writer, memoirist, actor, or artist will have a softer approach, connecting with their audience on a personal level.

Author Biography Writing Steps

  1. Begin with a connecting statement, something your reading audience can relate too. This can be a hobby, belief, lifelong interest, etc. (Something that relates to your writing topics.)
  2. Details. This section is about the areas in which you are an expert, inside information that your book(s) didn’t cover,  or challenges you’ve faced.
  3. Authority. Education, experience, and publication credits (magazines, anthologies,  or awards).
  4. Additional titles you’ve published.
  5. Where you live.
  6. Option; endearing information about spouses and children or pets.
  7. Website & contact information.

Your published work is an opportunity for a reader to view the world with a fresh perspective. Your Author Biography builds trust and establishes you as a writer/creator with a unique perspective. It also sets a tone for how you conduct the business aspects of your career.

Investing the time to write your Bio –  well – before it is needed, will return long-term dividends.

*If this post helped you write an Author Bio that you are pleased with, feel free to post a short version of it in the comments section below.

Personality Tests

123test.com – personality test

Oprah.com – Who Am I Meant to Be?

Quibblo.com – What’s Your Personality Type

Quibblo.com – What’s Your Affinity

Other Blog Posts to Read

6 Elements of a News Release – Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors – Part Two

100 Unusual Interview Questions – Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors – Part One

Resources:

Book in a Box – How to Write Your Author Bio (and Why it Matters) – examples
Dan Blank – The Daily Practice of Growing Your Audience
Forbes – Professional Bio Template

Hubspot – 6 of the Best Professional Bio Examples We’ve Ever Seen
Jane Friedman – Build a Better Author Bio for  Twitter
Template Lab – 45 MS Word Template Downloads

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Turning Your Blog into an e-book

Back in 2012 when I had been blogging for two years, I had gotten to know the blogging community pretty well through top sites for bloggers like Copyblogger, which has since turned into a multi-faceted media and software company. I was struck at the time by the almost total disconnect between authors, who were learning…

via Attention Bloggers: The Future of Book Publishing Has Arrived — The Book Designer

Plot Diagram PDF & How to Use Freytag’s Pyramid

The Plot Diagram or Book Map is a graphic tool can be used to visualize key features of a chapter or an entire story. It helps identify areas that need additional work so that the entire piece is cohesive.

Below are several humorous videos explaining how to use a Plot Pyramid. At the bottom of the post is a FREE PDF download of Freytag’s Pyramid.

Note: Color code the diagrams by character so that in addition to seeing the rising and falling action of each chapter, you will also see the balance of your character points of view throughout your book.

 

Freytag’s Pyramid

Plot Mapping

 

Parts of the Pyramid

Inciting Incident – something occurs to start the conflict.

Rising Action – building tension.

Climax – the peak of the scene/story.

Falling Action – events that happen after the climax.

Resolution – how the conflict is resolved.

 

 

Recommended Editing and Writing Books.

Click on the image below to download a free Plot Map PDF.

freytags-plot-curve-gray

Copyright Law and Public Domain

‘New’ ideas are built on top of what already exists. 

Artists, authors, designers, and engineers may look like they are alone when they are working, but every creative knows that the things they produce are aggregates— with their own personal flair mixed in.

Like the famous Sagrada Familia it has taken five generations of builders to bring Antoni Gaudi’s grand vision to light. 

In the internet age, creatives turn to the worldwide web for inspiration— be it for photography, soundtracks or clip art.

Too many people believe that everything online is free. It’s not.

If you use media without proper licensing or permission, you could face a copyright infringement lawsuit, or get flagged on YouTube for improper use.

As a creative, it is important to understand how copyright works, what is protected, and when something is available for free use.

Copyright laws, in general, protect a creation from being copied for the life of the artist, plus 70 years.  After that, the piece enters the Public Domain. (SBTEA)

Public Domain works are 100% free for private and commercial use and do not require attribution.

Lawrence Lessig’s lectures and books help artists safely navigate the muddy waters of fair use. He is largely responsible for establishing an ever-growing community of photographers, artists, illustrators, videographers and musicians who support creativity by contributing current work to the Public Domain.

Copyright Law recommended reading.

Click here for Lisa’s extensive collection of public domain images, music, sound,  and video clips.

6 Elements of a News Release – Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors – Part Two

Writing a News Release (aka Press Release) is easy when you know the formula. It is a standard format that makes the job of the journalist efficient.

Authors can use News Releases to announce new titles, events, or highlight aspects of their work in progress.

The ‘trick’ to having your News Release picked up by media is filling in the blanks with interesting and mistake-free content. (The chances of your News Release being published are greater with local publications. If you’ve set your sites on national or world news coverage, a professional publicist is well worth his / her fee.)

Each element of the News Release, and where it belongs, is highlighted with purple arrows below. (Sample text is from a News Release for CyberPatriot team recruiting.)

At the bottom of this post, is a FREE PDF download of the 6 Elements of a News Release and links to additional Author Media Kit articles.

6 Elements

CyberPatriot is a National Youth Education Program. It was created by the Air Force Association to “inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

CyberPatriot sponsors include Northrop Grumman Foundation, AT&T, Cisco, Microsoft, Norton, and Facebook. If teams advance high enough, they qualify for all expenses paid trips to Baltimore, MD for the National Finals Competition and for scholarships.

Recruiting for new teams begins in April. If you are interested in becoming a CyberPatriot Volunteer Mentor for your group or school, visit the CyberPatriot website for outreach materials.

The program also offers elementary school education and summer camps as well as the NYCDC program.

 

Resource Links:

Video Link: CyberPatriot IX: Securing Networks, Securing Futures

Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program website

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Resources:
Anatomy of a News Release PDF – free download
Media College – Journalism – Press Release Format
Ingredients of a Press Kit – Entrepreneur
14 Definitions You Need to Know When Creating an Author Media Kit – The Book Designer
Entire Coaching Cyber Defenders article

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100 Unusual Interview Questions – Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors – Part One

Committing to the Craft – Conferences, Connections & Contests

One thing that writers love is their cave. It is warm, cozy, and quiet. Coffee, tea, or other favorite libations are always at hand while the mind agitates.

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A single reader can elevate an author into the stratosphere with a kind comment or an Amazon Review. Out of that deep grotto, a connection is made.

Once the first flush of achievement fades, the next questions that authors must ask is how to get more readers and how to improve writing skills?

This January, I attended the second annual Sierra Writer’s Conference. Organized by Sierra Writers and Sierra College, it is a friendly, intimate venue filled with opportunities.

“If you want to be serious about writing, treat it like a business,” says Jordan Fisher Smith, a conference keynote speaker.

Joyce Wycoff, a event board member, says that when a writer attends a conference, “You are showing up for your writing.”

A writing conference is a place to;

  • hone your craft
  • make connections, and
  • establish an action list 

“Agents and publishers often say that writers’ who attend conferences are more serious about their craft and are more likely to succeed,” Wycoff comments.

This year’s conference was on the same day as the Women’s March.

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Women’s March

Politics was not discussed, but keynote speakers recognized the passion that the marchers expressed.

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Molly Fisk, author of Blow-Drying a Chicken

“A writer is not outside of what is going on,” said Molly Fisk. “People recognize themselves in our writing.”

“Being a writer opens a door,” she continues. “It is permission to think.”

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“Art happens when people get together to share their struggles,” Jordan Fisher Smith, commented. “You write because you are called to it.”

 

Following my current interests, I attended Marketing and Publishing and Guided Critique break-out sessions.

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Catharine Bramkamp, author of Future Gold

Catharine Bramkamp, a writing coach and social media expert discussed a variety of platforms, member demographics, and analytics. “Know where to spend your time on social media. Be aware of the results that you want to achieve. Keep yourself from getting sucked in, but do enough to have a presence online.”

 

 

 

Bob Jenkins, is a professional storyteller with a PhD in criticism. “Criticism is the20170121_202153analysis of art; what works and why it works, as well as what doesn’t work and how to fix it,” he explains.

Jenkins delighted his listeners, and the brave souls who pre-submitted writing samples, with dramatic readings of their work. His suggested improvements were striking and gratefully received.

Bob’s writing improvement recommendations; ProWritingAid, Ginger Grammar Checker, and Building Great Sentences.

 

The last workshop that I attended was with Mark Weideranders. He is a is a historical fiction author. Several of my next writing projects fall into this category.

20170121_195645robert_louis_stevenson_at_26“History did not record what was going through the mind of Fanny Osbourne, an American art student, when she drew this affectionate sketch of young Robert Louis Stevenson,” began Weideranders.

When writing historical fiction, it is important to let people know what is fact and what is fiction,” says Weideranders.

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Q & A Panel – Mark Weideranders, Mary Volmer, Jordan Fisher Smith and Kim Culbertson

Connections happen with shared experiences;

  • standing in line to get coffee
  • looking through books on display
  • the person you sit next to during lunch break
Poets Quartet performance
Poets Quartet performance

First Sentence Contest

A confidence booster was winning the First Sentence Contest. Below is my entry along with the artwork (on my cell phone) that inspired the words.

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Lucia Stewart Artwork

 

For an introverted author, making oneself mingle goes outside the bounds of the comfort zone. Realizing that many authors share the same feelings makes it easier.

My ‘meeting people strategy’ is simple; smile, make eye contact, and have a genuine interest in the person I want to talk to.

The next time I step outside of my cave, it will be with increased confidence, improved skills, and more people I know in my writing community.

 

 

Additional Resources

Conference books, authors, and writing improvement tools

Download a FREE Conference Journal to discover your conference-attending personality

Additional Writers’ Conferences – Poets & Writers

Literary grants & funding

Writing Contests and Competitions –

Writer’s Digest

The Writer Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100 Unusual Interview Questions – Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors – Part One

In this first article of the Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors series, we’ll talk about the purpose of a media kit and provide a list of questions that you can use to get started making a Question and Answer sheet for your kit.

A media kit — aka. press room, media or promotion packet— is a collection of items that make it easy for someone from the media to do their job. In this case, that job is to write about you and your book. It’s like chefs on TV or YouTube teaching how to make a recipe. By the time they are filming, they’ve already got every item on the ingredient list premeasured and ready-to-to.

Press kits are everything that a media person needs (in resume quality) right at their fingertips. Who might want access to your press kit? Book reviewers, bloggers, literary agents, publishing houses, newspaper or magazine journalists, podcasters, talk show and radio producers or YouTubers… anyone who is a content creator.

Press kits are also dynamic; they change and grow with you and your career. Start with one piece and add to your kit as your awards, accomplishments, and media coverage grows.

Below is a list of 100 unusual questions, categorized, for you to pick and choose from to create a Question and Answer Sheet for your media kit. The purpose of the question and answer sheet is to provide enough information so that a reporter could write a complete piece about you, using direct quotes.

At the end of the post, you’ll find a downloadable PDF of the 100 questions, links to websites with more questions, and a link to my Author Question & Answer Sheet for an example of a completed press kit item.

Lifestyle

  1. Around the house – bare feet, flip flops, clogs, fuzzy socks or slippers?
  2. Do you make your bed in the morning or leave it in a rumple?
  3. Do you kill bugs or leave them alone?
  4. Are you a morning person or a night person?
  5. Describe a time when you felt like you were being watched.
  6. What is in the backseat or trunk of your car right now?
  7. If you could eliminate one task from your daily schedule, what would it be?
  8. Name something you dislike doing so much that you’ll pay someone else to do it.
  9. What internet site do you visit the most?
  10. What is your favorite social media site and why?
  11. What is your ideal pet and why?
  12. You’re about to be dropped in a remote spot for a three-week survival test. Where would you go? What three tools would you take?
  13. You are a member of the tourist board for your town where. Name five things to do that would appeal to visitors.
  14. Do you play a musical instrument?
  15. If I looked in your refrigerator right now, what would I find?
  16. What is the craziest thing you’ve done in your life?
  17. Describe a strange habit.
  18. When was the last time you were in a situation that was difficult to get out of? What did you do?
  19. Name some of the things that have the strongest distraction pulls.
  20. What do you do for exercise?
  21. What do you eat for breakfast most of the time?
  22. You’ve won a second home anywhere in the world. Where is it?
  23. Name something you’d like to get rid of but keep putting off.

Tastes / Preferences

  1. What is your favorite love story?
  2. Describe a special or meaningful object that you have in your house.
  3. If you could visit the past or future, which one would you choose? Why?
  4. You can go out to dinner at any restaurant, which one do you choose?
  5. Do you have a coffee shop that you frequent? Why do you go there?
  6. What are your three favorite animals?
  7. What is your favorite spectator sport?
  8. What is your favorite sport to play?
  9. Which holiday is most relaxing and fun?
  10. Pen, pencil or…?
  11. TV, Movies or Binge watching?
  12. It’s a special celebration date. Would you rather go to dinner and a movie out or stay home?
  13. What is your favorite drink?
  14. Name and describe a living person that you most admire.
  15. You’ve just won an office make-over. What color do you choose for your workspace?
  16. Where was a place you’ve visited on vacation that you’d go back to tomorrow?
  17. What type of coffee do you order most often?
  18. Do you have a favorite brand of tea?

Personality

  1. If you had to choose an animal to represent you as an avatar, mascot or spirit totem, which animal would it be?
  2. What makes you run screaming?
  3. If someone gave you a boat, what would you name it?
  4. Describe a personality trait of someone in your family.
  5. If your life was a movie, would it be a drama, comedy, action/adventure, or science fiction?
  6. Are you a summer, fall, winter, or spring person?
  7. You are about to get a tattoo. Where will it go and what will be the design?
  8. Name something that makes you uncomfortable or anxious.
  9. You’re about to live through a natural disaster or other traumatic experience. What kind of disaster or experience is it?
  10. Think about punctuation marks. Which one would you pick to describe your personality and why?
  11. One being the highest and ten being the lowest, rate your happiness level right now.
  12. If you were a salad dressing, what kind would you be?
  13. What is the most important part of a sandwich?
  14. If you were a car, what make and model would you be?
  15. You are a teacher for a day. What is your subject and who are your students?
  16. Tell the story about one of your scars.
  17. Sing in the rain, dance in the streets, hum in the shower or…?
  18. Describe your handwriting.
  19. You are the guest of honor at a large event. When you arrive, the room is already full. How do they react when you come in?
  20. Describe your first crush.
  21. What qualities do you most admire in your friends?
  22. If you were an animal in a zoo, which animal would you be?
  23. Name something that makes you cry.
  24. What types of situations make you angry?
  25. What strikes your funny bone?
  26. What’s fun?

Wishes / Thoughts / Dreams

  1. What is the best thing you’ve accomplished in life so far?
  2. Does Prince Charming or the Fairy Godmother exist?
  3. You’re about to get a superpower. What is it and why do you want it?
  4. Name three things that you think will be obsolete in ten years.
  5. If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
  6. You’ve just been bitten by a vampire / werewolf / zombie / charmed snake. What do you do next?
  7. Where do you see yourself in ten years?
  8. You remain perfectly healthy and have unlimited financial resources but you only have the next six months to live, what do you do?
  9. You just won twenty million in a state lottery, what is the first thing you do?
  10. What adventures are on your bucket list?
  11. Which talent would you most like to have?
  12. You’ve just been elected President, what is the first problem you plan to solve?
  13. List something you’d like to accomplish before you die.

Writing

  1. How old were you when you first started writing?
  2. If you had to describe an author platform in three sentences to a six-year-old, how would describe it?
  3. What year did you complete your first book?
  4. If you could do a book over again, what would you do differently with the story arc, plot, characters, scenes, production or marketing?
  5. What was your favorite scene or character to write?
  6. Have you re-edited and re-released any titles?
  7. Is there a time frame or subject area that you’d like to work with?
  8. Have you traveled to research writing projects? Where to?
  9. After you’ve spent a long time cranking out pages, do you feel energized or exhausted?
  10. In what situations, do you grow tired of reading?
  11. Describe some of your author friends. How do they help improve your writing skills?
  12. After you published a book or two, how has your writing process changed?
  13. What was the best financial investment you made as an author?
  14. What is your definition of being a successful author?
  15. Describe your research process.
  16. What time periods of life do you find yourself writing about the most? (childhood, teen, adult, elder)
  17. What books, articles, or authors influenced you the most or made you think differently?
  18. Do you hide any secrets in your writing that only a few people know about?
  19. What are the most difficult types of scenes to write?
  20. If you could live as one of your characters for a day, which one would it be?

100-Unusual-Interview-Questions PDF

Click here if you’re curious to see my Question & Answer page in my Author Media Room.

Resources for Additional Interview Questions:

https://jlwylie.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/brainstorm-interesting-author-interview-questions/

http://thejohnfox.com/2016/06/good-questions-to-ask-an-author/

http://chrissypeebles.blogspot.com/p/fun-interviews.html

https://toughnickel.com/finding-job/Off-The-Wall

http://www.howmate.com/funny-questions-to-ask-friends/

http://thewritepractice.com/proust-questionnaire/

http://seanajvixen.blogspot.com/2014/01/the-fun-questions-tag.html

Color and Personality Resource:

What color says about your personality.

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6 Elements of a News Release – Creating an Electronic Media Kit for Authors- Part Two