Monday, July 9, 2012

BIO-HAZARDS by Linda Kozar

Depending upon individual narcissistic tendencies, you will either love or hate writing about yourself.

My suggestion is to write two bios about yourself--one long and one short and keep them handy. A bio that is easy to cut and paste into a proposal or to tack onto an online article, or to add to a social network is a definite timesaver.

Here are a few do's and don'ts to ponder as you hazard a guess about how to write about YOU.

1.  Before you start writing, make a list of all the facts about you. Forget about adding your dreams, wishes and goals. People want the facts. They don't care about your dreams of being a NY Time Bestselling Author.

2.  Write your biography in THIRD person. Keep a nice comfy distance between you and that fabulous person you're writing about. It's a split personality thing fiction writers already do. If you can crawl into a fictional character's head, you can certainly crawl out of yours and be the character for once.

3.  Don't toot your own horn too much. My mama always said, "When you're bragging, you're dragging." Being braggadocious is atrocious. So keep that in mind.

4.  Tell the truth. No fudging. Many of us are fiction writers, but reserve the fiction for fictional characters.

5.  Experience--Share your relevant experience or experiences with people in condensed form. Whether you've been published once or one thousand times, skim the cream off the top and share that--the best of the best.

6.  Connections--Share the groups and organizations to which you belong. It legitimizes you. Plus, people from these organizations can vouch for your character.

7.  Keep it simple. Long, flowery descriptions. Big words and meandering sentences will detour readers. And that's the one thing you don't want to happen. You want people to read about you and at least find your bio mildly interesting:)

8.  Add a hook. Just as you do when you write a query, or proposal or first chapter. And make it good. You want the bio reader to somehow connect with you or "get" you. Is there an unusual hobby or activity? A favorite food. An embarrassing moment?

9.  Read other people's bios. Jerry Jenkins. Tim LaHaye, Ted Dekker, Brad Thor, Stephen King, Janet Evanovich, Lauraine Snelling, Debbie Macomber. Make a list of what you liked or didn't like about their bios.

10.  Update your bio. Add, take away and edit your bio as you grow and gain experience in your career as a writer. An out-of-date bio is not an asset. The old you is not as valuable as the new you.

Well, my writer friends, I hope that helped. Distilling your life into fifty words or less is a monumental task, but it can be done and you can do it. On your mark. Get set. Write.


THAT'S RIGHT. If you want some feedback, leave your SHORT bio in the comment box and I will offer a grin or a grimace. You might even get some helpful suggestions to improve it:)

Linda is the co-author of Babes With A Beatitude—Devotions For Smart, Savvy Women of Faith (Hardcover/Ebook, Howard/Simon & Schuster 2009) and author of Misfortune Cookies (Print, Barbour Publishing 2008), Misfortune CookiesA Tisket, A Casket, and Dead As A Doornail, (“When The Fat Ladies Sing Series,” Ebooks, Spyglass Lane Mysteries, 2012). She received the ACFW Mentor of the Year Award in 2007, founded and served as president of Writers On The Storm, a local ACFW chapter for three years. In 2003, she co-founded, co-directed and later served as Southwest Texas Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild. She and her husband Michael, married 23 years, have two lovely daughters, Katie and Lauren and a Rat Terrier princess named Patches.

Represented by: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Agency

Member of: CAN (Christian Authors Network), RWA (Romance Writers of American), WHRWA (West Houston Romance Writers of America), ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers), Writers On The Storm, The Woodlands, Texas Chapter of ACFW, Toastmasters (Area 56) The Woodlands, Texas. WoodsEdge Community Church, The Woodlands, TX.

Linda P. Kozar
Sweet Tea Fiction
Find me at


  1. Beautiful picture Linda! Congratulations on Amazon rating.
    Debbie Malone

  2. Here's mine - Go for it!
    Nancy Jill Thames is the author of "The Jillian Bradley Mystery Series" based on her life experiences of traveling with her husband, staying in exclusive hotels and resorts. She loves serving tea, which has earned her the title of "Queen of Afternoon Tea." Writing is her latest creative outlet, along with playing classical piano. She holds a music degree from UT Austin and lives in Leander, Texas with her husband. She is a member of the Leander Writers Guild.

    Thanks for whatever input you have.

    ~Nancy Jill

    1. Nancy, it's short and sweet:) I recommend tweaking the first sentence though. Do you incorporate high teas in your mysteries? If so, you might want to add that bit. The rest of it reads well. The only other thing you could add is. She is busy working on________, Or, her latest project is a _______set in________.

      Nancy Jill Thames is the author of "Jillian Bradley Mysteries," a series set in exclusive hotels and resorts, based on real life travel adventures with her husband of ____years.

  3. Great Article! I'm posting mine for input as well. Thanks in advance...

    Naty Matos was born in the city of New York, from Puerto Rican descendant parents. She grew up in the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico and now lives in the city of Atlanta.

    Naty Matos holds a Bachelor's Degree in Clinical Psychology with a Minor in Mass Media Communications and a Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling.

    Naty writes Christian fiction and non-fiction. She maintains a blog on Christian Living Topics at

    1. Naty--I noticed that you began each sentence with your name. Also, you want everything on one single paragraph. I started off with the main point you want to get across, that you are a Christian author. Name your genre as that is important. Next, I listed your academic credentials. You can drop the minor as if's not crucial. I listed where you were born, grew up and live now, but add family or pet(s) to add a bit of personality. Good job!

      Naty Matos is a Christian author of_________fiction and nonfiction and maintains a popular blog on Christian Living Topics She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology with a Masters in Mental Health Counseling and a Minor in Mass Media Communications. A native New Yorker, she grew up on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and now lives in Atlanta with her__________(insert family or pet(s).

  4. Linda, you've done it again! Great article. Okay, here's mine for your approval/rejection, but hurry because I'm writing two blog interviews today!

    Since turning forty, Sharon Leaf has traveled to over fifteen countries, including living in Sweden while attending Bible college, traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway, and volunteering on a WWII ship, whose sole purpose was to transport Russian Jews from the Black Sea to Israel. She received a degree in theology at sixty, proving that it's never too late to fulfill another dream. Lady and the Sea is Sharon's debut novel. Sharon lives in South Carolina with her husband.

  5. Okay Sharon, the first thing we need to mention is your book:)

    Okay Sharon--I started with the most important info--that you are an author and what you write (or have written) I went right into the adventurous part of your life and your amazing achievement garnering your theology degree. Fix the last sentence I wrote about living in a sunny southern state. You can tweak a lovely sentence to send with:) Love it.

    Sharon Leaf is the author of Lady and the Sea, a debut novel based on her adventures as a missionary aboard a WWII ship secured for a hazardous mission, to repatriate Russian Jews from the Black Sea to the nation of Israel. She traveled to over fifteen countries, lived in Sweden while attending Bible college and travelled the Trans-Siberian Railway. At the age of sixty, she received a degree in theology, proving that it is never too late to fulfill another dream. Sharon and her husband of ________years now enjoy life in the sunny southern state of South Carolina.

  6. Thank you so vereee much, Linda K! This article is very helpful to all of us.

  7. Okay Linda you asked for it. I would appreciate your input as I really didn't know what to say in my bio because I am, well, boring. Thank you for your help.

    C.L. Ragsdale was born in California, but does not fit the "California Girl" image as she does not surf, swims enough to keep herself from drowning and she and the "great outdoors" have only a nodding acquaintance. She loves to embroider and knit, with varying degrees of competence, and is a self-admitted internet junkie who loves to research plot details for her books, the more obscure the better. A big fan of the old Scooby Doo cartoons, her mysteries are more fun and humorous than chills and thrills.

  8. Okay C.L.--first thing's first. You need to establish who you are. The next thing you should do is establish your credibility. Education? Background? Were you a news reporter? Teacher? Then add what you like to do and make sure it ties in to your writing. Then end with something interesting. Hope that helps!--Linda

    Mystery writer C.L. Ragsdale is the author of___________. A California native, she loves to "surf" the web to research plot details for her fun, quirky stories. She loves to embroider and knit and is a big fan of the old Scooby Doo cartoons.

    1. Thank you for the feedback. I know the bio wasn't very good, but that's because I was intimidated because my background is mostly clerical. That's right, I'm a Secretary. (Inside joke, Nancy Jill will understand). Still with help from your article, I think I can improve it quite a bit.

    2. Yes indeed C.L.! Most writers have worked at some point in the clerical field. We're pretty good at typing, so it's a natural fit:) Hope you can use some of my ideas to make your bio shine:)

    3. Hey C.L.,

      At least you were dealing with grammar all these years. Try writing when all you know how to do is read music! I think you're a great writer - I'm still learning how to be one.

      ~ Nancy Jill

  9. Thank you Nancy Jill, I appreciate you a lot. I guess I just allowed myself to indulge in an inferiority complex there for a minute. Actually, that's how I did learn how to write. You write a lot as a secretary. Anyway, I did get my bio re-written and posted in About Us and I think it's a lot better. Thank you Linda!


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