How to See Yourself Through an Acquisitions Editor’s Eyes

This post is a blogged draft excerpt from The Author Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books, March 2014). Read the previous blogged excerpt, here.

writers need a personal bioThe training in this step requires seeing yourself through the eyes of a prospective business partner: an agent or publisher. Authors don’t need resumes to land jobs or get financial backers for their projects, though. They need bios. Imagine an acquisitions editor, or a team of publishing pros, is reviewing your bio to determine if this particular publishing house want to go into business with you. (In turn, you also should determine if you want to go into business with them.) How will they see you—as a good or a bad partner, a qualified or unqualified partner, a highly trained or a poorly trained partner? See your bio as your resume or curriculum vital.

Why You Need an Author Bio

You will need an author bio for many reasons. You’ll place one:

  • inside or on the back cover of your book
  • on your website or blog
  • on all your social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus
  • at the bottom of every guest blog posts you write if you go on a blog tour or virtual book tour when your book is released
  • along with each article you write
  • on your Amazon Author Central page
  • in a book proposal

Others will use the bio you write to introduce you at speaking engagements or during interviews. You will need different lengths of bios for different purposes, yet they should all be consistent to help your branding.

Write Your Author Bio

To begin this training exercise, write a third-person bio about yourself. (The only place you might choose to use a first-person bio might be on your website or blog.) Include all the pertinent information that makes you seem qualified to write your book and become a publishing partner for an agent and, ultimately, a publisher. Write with this in mind even if you plan to self-publish; indie publisher need to view their credentials just as critically. Include your most important or relevant credentials first and then all other details in descending order of importance. Be sure to include your:

  • education
  • personal background
  • life experience
  • business (if relevant)
  • interests
  • passions
  • books you have published (along with the publishers and sales figures, if impressive)
  • awards
  • special skills
  • conferences you’ve attended
  • contests you’ve won
  • professional memberships

You also can briefly mention family, interests, hobbies, and where you live. At the end of the bio include a list of quotes or reviews about your work from publications or opinion makers, or letters or publicity that others would find impressive.

First, create a one or two-page bio. Then whittle it down to a 150-word bio, a 100-word bio, a 75-word bio and a 50-word bio. You might also try a 140-character bio for Twitter.

Also craft a short promotional pitch about yourself. Think of it as your very own personal elevator pitch or branding statement. This means you must know how you’d like to brand yourself. Who are you? How do you want to be known? Are you “The XX Expert” or “The XX Coach”?  Denise Wakeman, who has published several ebooks on blogging, including How to Drive More Quality Traffic to Your Blog, is the “Online Visibility Mentor.” Mari Smith, author of The New Relationship Marketing is the “The Facebook Expert.” Rochelle Melander, author of Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell about It), is the Write Now Coach. Who are you? You could be the “Holy Ghost Writer,” the author of the popular Count of Monte Cristo mystery series, who offered a reward of $1,000 for anyone who could identify him. (At the time of this printing, his identity was still unknown, but he will forever be known as the Holy Ghost Writer, I’m sure.) Or through your community or charity efforts you could be given a name, like James Patterson, “the busiest man in publishing.”

Consider the Spin-offs you think you might write. How would they help brand you? Will you write just fiction or nonfiction or both? How can you put all the books you write under one umbrella people will recognize immediately by name—and will it be your name or a brand name? For example, I’m known as the “Inspiration to Creation Coach.” I write about a variety of topics, but they all inspire my readers to create something in their personal or professional lives as well as to fulfill their potential. Joan Stewart is “The Publicity Hound;” everything she offers has to do with publicity and her logo is a hound. (I assume she can sniff out the best story!) Can you create a brand for yourself?

Evaluate Your Bio

Once you have your bio written, it’s easier to see what might be missing from your experience or background that could hold you back from achieving the “job” you desire. In this case, that job is “published author.”

Take an objective look at your bio. What do you see? Do you see someone qualified to write the book you have outlined and described in previous steps of this training manual? Will your experience instill trust in a publisher considering investing money in you? Yes, investing in you. After all, you must produce, or create, the project the publisher will sell. The idea is yours, but the publisher isn’t buying just the idea; he is buying a finished manuscript. Your experience has to instill trust that you can write a valuable book—that you have something worthwhile and credible to say—and that you can say it in a unique, compelling, believable, new, and well-crafted manner. (And that you will help sell the book after it has been published.)

Go back to your notes about the authors of competing books in your category. How do your credentials measure up to theirs? Are they all professionals, such as PhDs, rabbis and priests, ex-athletes, doctors, or CEOs of companies? Or are they just average people who had interesting life experiences? Where do you fall on that spectrum?  Do you have more or less credentials or unique credentials?

Have someone help you with this exercise. They might offer a more objective view of your strongest credentials and experience. Or ask a variety of people who know you and what you have accomplished what they think makes you qualified to write your book. Add this to your bio.

Are You The Right Person to Write This Book?

After looking at these factors, reread your bio. Do you believe you are the perfect person to write this book? If so, super! If you are having a few doubts about your credentials, you don’t need to throw away your idea. You might still find a way to write your book. You just may need to look at other options or ways to write it. For example, to increase your expert credentials, you could:

  • Interview experts
  • Get an expert co-author
  • Get an expert to write the foreword

If you are worried about your writing ability, you can:

  • hire an editor or “book doctor” or an editor
  • hire a ghostwriter
  • dictate your project (and then have the transcripts edited)
The Author Training ManualNote: You can read additional blogged draft excerpts from my new book, The Author Training Manual (Writer’s Digest Books, March 2014) here. Only select pieces from the manuscript, a “working draft,” were posted—not the complete manuscript. Read the next post in the The Author Training Manual blogged-book series by clicking here. Purchase the book on, or at

LeaLearn how to become a successful authorrn how to create a successful book—one that sells to publishers and to readers—by developing an AUTHOR ATTITUDE and writing a BUSINESS PLAN for a MARKETABLE BOOK. Register for the AUTHOR TRAINING 101 Home-Study Course, and go from aspiring to successful published author! This course is based on The Author Training Manual. If you like what you’ve read here, you’ll love the course.

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