It is always good to have a biography that is one or two paragraphs in length. This document briefly tells who you are, what you do and what you have accomplished. State the most eye-catching accomplishments first, i.e., the ones that would draw the most attention. For example:
“Jane Doe is the author of the award-winning play, “XXX” that had a six-year run on Broadway and is now being considered by XXX for their XXX television series.”
“John Doe graduated at the top of his U of XX class with a full scholarship to XX for graduate studies in XXX. In XXX, he was chosen to become a member of a select group of researchers exploring XX.”
Your bio should be as straightforward as possible and relevant to the position for which you are applying. Be clear and concise.
If you are applying for a number of different positions that focus on different skill sets, write a bio for each of these applications. Stay focused on the job description and make sure your bios are relevant to the specifications.
Bios (shortened versions) can be used on the back cover of a book you may be publishing, in media releases, pamphlets and other promotional materials.
MEDIA (PRESS) RELEASES
Before the Internet was born, press releases, as they were called, referred to rigidly formatted documents that were transmitted by fax, or wired to a targeted list of media contacts for radio, TV and newsprint.
A free lancer writing press releases for companies and individuals would be required to follow a certain format. The protocols were precise; too many words or the wrong material in the wrong paragraph, and the press release would have to be rewritten.
Here’s one of the most common formats that were used at that time:
LOCATION, STATE OR COUNTRY, Company Name, Date . . . Who, what, where, when, why and how.
Sentences following this first paragraph were to be short and to the point. Often one sentence was a paragraph.
If you were selling a product, the second paragraph described the product, stated its identity code, such as an ISBN number for a book, and where it could be obtained.
You did not state the price, since press releases are announcements, not advertisements.
You would then provide more details to support the lead sentence. To add spice, you would use direct quotes from related individuals: “According to XXX….”; or, “XXX stated that....” You might add a few more details for interest.
The goal was to stay focused on the topic.
At the end of the release, it was traditional to write:
-30- or: End
Then you would state contact information (name, phone, fax, email address, URL, etc.), such as: For further information, contact XXXX.
The following is a press releases I developed for a Dandelion Books product:
NEWSBREAK! NEWSBREAK! NEWSBREAK!
REUTERS CONFIRMS SEEDS OF FIRE REVELATIONS ABOUT CHINA’S LINKS WITH TERROR STATES
TEMPE, AZ, (Date)…. Reuters today confirmed the explosive revelations in Seeds of Fire about China’s links with terror states North Korea, Iraq and Iran.
The wire service’s confirmation – sent to all its global subscribers – came after a series of exclusive revelations by Seeds of Fire author, Gordon Thomas.
Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America, published by Dandelion Books, is available in all bookstores, at www.dandelionbooks.com, www.gordonthomas.ie, www.newsmax.com, and for the trade through Biblio Distribution, Ingram, Baker & Taylor and other major wholesalers.
These revelations detail China’s links to the terror states, and the secret drug trail China has established through Canada to flood the United States with heroin and cocaine.
United Press International’s Editor-in-Chief, Arnaud de Borchgrave has praised the book for the way it “continues to garner richly deserved plaudits.”)
Former U.S. Ambassador Ray Flynn has called the book “a wake-up call” for all Americans.
Both the CIA and the Department of Justice have confirmed the veracity of the book’s findings – and the impressive number of hitherto secret documents it publishes.
Reuters has confirmed the core of the book’s warning – that China is the “missing link” in the “axis of evil” that President George W. Bush has identified.
Echoing what Thomas revealed a week ago, Reuters Beijing correspondent, Jeremy Page, writes: “Bush is expected to demand China’s leaders curb transfers of weapons technology to the nations he has branded ‘rogue states,’ especially Iran and Korea.”
But Seeds of Fire shows that China will not do that.
“My information from well-placed sources in the region is that China has given all three nations in the ‘axis of evil’ an assurance that they will continue to support them with state of the art military equipment,” said Thomas today.
Again echoing what the award-winning author has revealed, Ross Munro of the Center for Strategic Studies in Washington said: “China is very, very deeply implicated in the axis of evil.”
In Seeds of Fire, Thomas details how China has supplied weapons, including chemical and biological warheads to North Korea, Libya, Iran and Iraq.
Said Thomas: “China will give Bush a lot of hollow promises during his visit. But the reality is, it will continue to build up the terror states with arms.”
Seeds of Fire is now in its second large printing. It has been sold to
NOTE TO THE MEDIA: THOMAS, WHO LIVES IN IRELAND, IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS.
Contact: Publicity Dept., Dandelion Books; 1133 West Baseline Road
– Ste. 178, Tempe, Arizona 85283; Tel. 480-897-4452; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, www.dandelionbooks.net, www.gordonthomas.ie and www.newsmax.com
Seeds of Fire: China and the Story Behind the Attack on America, by
Gordon Thomas, ISBN 1893302547 (Dandelion Books) Trade Paperback, 524 pages, $25.95. Available at all bookstores, and at www.dandelionbooks.com, www.gordonthomas.ie, www.NewsMax.com. For trade sales, contact Biblio Distribution (NBN), Ingram, Baker & Taylor and other major wholesalers. If your bookstore does not have Seeds of Fire in stock, please call the Dandelion Books store: 1-888-609-5006 in the U.S. or 361-293-7698 (outside the U.S.) for immediate order processing and shipping.
Note: Since the time these media releases were written, the Dandelion Books website was changed from dandelionbooks.com, to www.dandelion-books.com. Other contact information has also changed since that time.
ONLINE MEDIA RELEASES
Since the arrival of the Internet and growth of online marketing and promotion venues (online public relations companies, websites, blogs, newsletters, social networking, etc.), press releases are now referred to as “media releases.”
Regardless of the name change, most of the rules pertaining to content have remained the same. One rule in journalism and in most types of writing is universal:
Always—whether delivering reportage, making an announcement or writing a fiction work, give the reader or target audience the who, what, where, when, why and how(if that is available), at the beginning. The first sentence should feed the reader what they need to know about the topic so they will understand the remainder of the text.
Many online media release companies have their own templates and you are asked to follow their instructions for entering the content. Often you can download graphics as well as URLs or website links. For example, you may download jpgs or photo-images of a book cover and author if you are announcing the release of a new book. These images will be linked to the release and often to the point of sale in the website store as well.
Internet media releases usually have a main heading and sub-heading. Each company may have their own specifications about word length or number of characters allowed. The template for the release may have questions that need to be asked according to a certain format or formula.
As with all types of publicity, deliver the most important information in the first 3-4 paragraphs and let your main heading and sub-headings give the reader the meat and potatoes. This immediacy supports electronic formatting for smartphones, PDAs, laptops, reader devices, etc.
PAY ATTENTION TO KEYWORD ANALYSIS FOR SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
On the Internet, the goal is to lead people to your website, online articles, web pages, online point of sale for your products, etc. You must make sure they can easily find you in at least two or three of the most popular search engines and/or online directories.
To rise to the top of the heap of Google, Yahoo, Bing, Ask, Dogpile and other search engines and indexes, it is important to learn how to write content that follows the rules for “keyword identification.”
The fastest and easiest way for the search engines to identify you and your web pages (hyperlinks) in their indexes is to write content (web pages, articles, blogs, etc.) that embeds keywords according to strict formulas.
If you wish to build your own website and/or blog using SEO (search engine optimization) strategies at the outset, I highly recommend the SiteSell or SiteBuildIt website package— http://www.sitesell.com/publishing8.html.
I built both of my websites according to SiteBuildIt’s keyword identification/SEO rules. The company provides a multitude of instructional videos, manuals and handbooks that are constantly updated. The instructions are user friendly and include copious amounts of multi-media support material, including phone help as well as optional tutoring and personal assistance from the SiteBuildIt staff.
Before I found SiteSell I had spent thousands of dollars building five large websites that had never been constructed to bring traffic or attract the attention of the search engines and directories. I paid a heavy price and went through a steep learning curve. Finally I admitted my errors and accepted the fact that I had to cut my losses and start over. I now play by the SEO rules, delivered easily and expensively by SiteSell/SiteBuildIt.
I’ve learned that it is much more important to have a low cost turnkey SEO-linked website than a flashy expensive one where no one can find you unless you personally give them your URL (domain name).
Bottom line: A website that has not been constructed according to SEO keyword identification rules merely sits there like a vehicle in a parking garage.
After developing over 200 pages of html web copy based on the user friendly SiteBuildIt (SiteSell) system, I’m convinced that if I can do it, you can too! I still consider myself an IT (Information Technology) newbie, yet with limited knowledge of html, I’ve developed two highly functional SEO-linked websites.
Following is the first part of a Dandelion Books web page that was developed with the keywords: “promote your own book”:
Promote your own book -- shamelessly!
To promote your own book without feeling self-conscious, embarrassed or ashamed (“Why does it have to be me who tells everyone what a great writer I am?”) take a tip from some of the experts.
In today’s publishing arena with over 400,000 books published annually (NY Times, April 2008 article), you cannot afford NOT to get out there with a megaphone to tell the world about yourself. How else will they find you?
Dandelion author, Laurel Johnson, (The Alley of Wishes and My Name Is Esther Clara), who is also the senior reviewer for Midwest Book Review, speaks from experience. Here’s her story:
“Last Wednesday I was invited to a salad supper at the local church I work for (as secretary). I sat next to a woman who told me she was ‘famous.’ I asked her how she got famous. She said she belongs to a ladies’ coffee club where they read books and currently they’re reading my books.
“She told them that she knows the author, so now she’s famous (!).”
The four keywords, “promote your own book” are the name or title of this web page. They appear as the title of the web article and also in the first line of copy, as far toward the beginning of the sentence as possible.
Later on in the article, “promote your own book” will appear again in the content. They will also appear as a hyperlink or “text link.” It is wise not to use the keywords anywhere else in the content. Overuse can spoil your chances for getting picked up by the search engines.
Each of the underlined book titles as well as the author’s name (Laurel Johnson) are hyperlinked (html Internet linked) to other web pages or websites where the reader can find more information.
I think you can see with this example that the “World Wide Web” really is a “social and professional web” of linked people, products and resources. It is exhilarating to realize that for the first time ever, you can be in charge of marketing and promoting your books and other written works.
The more you participate and interact with others on the Internet, the more personal and professional opportunities you create for developing leads and selling your products and services.