Like many independent authors, I’m convinced the path to publishing success begins with a killer Twitter bio. 160 characters are all that stand between us and critical acclaim (and approval from our fathers). Unfortunately, no one has the perfect formula for what you’re supposed to put in your bio. Hashtags? Emojis? GPA? Credit Score? Everyone has ideas, but as with most things Twitter, I tend to take my cues from my favorite authors. They already have critical acclaim and huge followings, so they must be doing something right. Right? RIGHT?!
Author Twitter Bios, A Sampling
Disclaimer: There are many great, funny, and effective Twitter bios among the writers I follow, and every time I see one, I shamelessly steal from it. For this post, I simply pulled out some blue check marks from my Following list. Nothing personal, fellow authors.
Shakespeare said brevity is the soul of wit. Now, I have no idea what that actually means (despite an entire semester at UT dedicated to the Speare), but when it comes to Twitter bios, I equate brevity with confidence. These profiles have nothing to prove. They simply state the facts. No fanfare.
What it says: This is what I am.
You wrote some amazing books, so why not list them in your bio? Who knows… there might be someone who doesn’t know who wrote Neuromancer. And if you find that someone, do your American duty and enlighten them. All I know is if I wrote these books, I’d put them in my bio too.
What it says: I made this.
Why be formal and rigid when you can strike up a conversation instead? To me, these bios are more approachable, in that they don’t provide a curt one-word answer to the question who are you? Instead, they respond as if you walked up to them at a dinner party. Moreover, they’re willing to go into detail.
What it says: This is what I do, and I’m happy to talk about it.
Similar to listing titles, some authors like to list their accolades. And that’s fine. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. But going back to the dinner party scenario, wouldn’t it be weird for someone to ask you what you do and you answer I’m a New York Times bestselling author? I guess it depends on how you view Twitter. Is your bio a business card? Or the start of a conversation?
What it says: My books sell, and I have the receipts.
The Little of This, Little of That
You’ve got 160 characters to write your bio; might as well use them all, right? Throw in some accolades, some titles, personal details, and a smattering of emojis, and you’ve got yourself a nice little bio that covers all the bases. Sometimes, I really enjoy these types of bios because they paint a rich picture of the person I’m about to subtweet. Other times, I find them overwhelming and unfocused. Maybe I’m too easily confused.
What it says: what doesn’t it say?
Allow Myself to Introduce Myself
I don’t know why I keep coming back to the dinner party scenario, but I feel like there might be something there. Imagine you are introduced to someone new, and the first thing they ask you is what do you do? The conversation might go like this:
Them: What do you do? You: I'm a writer. Them: Cool, what do you write? You: Primarily [genre], with a little bit of [genre] thrown in. Them: Amazing, do you have any books out? You: Yes, [title], [title], and [title]. Them: I want to read them. Where can I buy them? You: You can get them at [retailer] or [retailer]. Them: Awesome, thank you. Can we go make out now?
If a Twitter bio is supposed to be a straight introduction, then you could simplify the necessary details:
- I write.
- These are my genres.
- These are my titles.
- Here’s where you buy them.
That seems like a reasonable blueprint for a bio, but is it the right answer? I still don’t know.
Maybe I’m overthinking it. Obviously, your dreams of Robert Rodriguez turning your book into a movie starring Natalie Portman aren’t going to live or die on the basis of your Twitter bio. That’s more a question of whether you, a flawed human, are truly deserving of happiness.
My real advice would be to take note of the Twitter bios you enjoy and find engaging. Collect them in a text file and use them as inspiration. If you come across a profile that makes you want to follow, try to figure out what made it so appealing.
Personally, I think simpler is better.
Maybe I’ll just change my bio to a pencil icon.