How to Write Your Artist Bio
If you’ve ever submitted a piece of jewelry to a magazine, book, or bead show, you’ve had to sit down and write a few sentences about yourself. “Oh, that’s easy!” might have been your first thought. But then you actually tried to do it. Chances are you couldn’t limit yourself to just three sentences. Or, worse yet, you couldn’t come up with that many! This seemingly simple exercise can quickly turn into something that causes a twinge in the neck.
When I was editor at Beadwork magazine (which is, in my honest opinion, still the best beading magazine available on the market today!), designers often moaned about this part of their submission. I told them that bead enthusiasts the world over would be reading their projects and would want to know where the designer comes from and what they’re up to. That’s what makes us beaders a tight community, right? Plus, I reminded them that beading is an art form just like any other, so artists like us need to know how to do things like write short bios--it’s just part of the deal.
Writing an artist bio is also just good business, especially if you’re selling your work. Viki Lareau, author of Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry points out that “The goal [in writing a good bio] is to make that connection. The more someone knows about you, the artist, the more connected that person feels to you, and the more comfortable they will feel doing business with you.” She’s got it right--having a good bio is an important building block to creating an identity for your business. Buy Marketing and Selling Your Handmade Jewelry.
Necessity aside, there will still be those that are hopelessly stuck. For those of you, here are some tips to get started:
This is something my mom used to tell me all the time: Keep It Simple, Sugar! (She used to actually say “Stupid.” It was funny if you knew my mom.) Since you only have a few sentences to work with, you can’t tell everything about yourself, so pack each sentence with your most important facts. Save the long soliloquies about your creative process for your blog and just list the whos, whats, wheres, and whens.
A short bio is like free advertising, so use the opportunity! Toot your horn about articles you’ve published, awards you’ve won, kits you sell, classes you teach, books you’ve written. Weave these bits of information into each sentence and make sure to include your website or email information for those who are eager to contact you about all the fabulous things you’ve done.
1-2-3 . . . Bio!
If you’re really struggling while you write your bio, try this Mad Libs-style exercise to get your brain flowing:
(Full name) is a (state)-based beadwork (profession or verb+er) who specializes in (list of two beading techniques). She is currently (verb+ing) a (noun) that will be (published/exhibited/for sale) in (date). You may contact (first name) at (website or email address).
Look at that! Instant bio! Well, perfect if you didn’t fill in the blanks to read something silly which, believe me, I have spent the last half hour doing. Actually, the bio I’ve been using lately doesn’t stray too far from this formula. Here it is:
“Jean Campbell is a beadwork designer and writer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She writes a weekly blog on www.beadingdaily.com, and teaches beading classes throughout the United States. Visit Jean’s website, www.jeancampbellink.com.”
Do you have a beading bio? Or maybe a new Mad-Libs one that’s cracking you up? Come on--share them on the website!
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Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks!