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What Do Editors Mean by a "Short Bio"?


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Question: What Do Editors Mean by a "Short Bio"?
For writers just starting out, the idea of writing a “short bio” to go along with their submission to a literary journal can be daunting. What exactly are editors looking for? What if you haven’t published anything?
Answer: If they’ve specifically said that they’re open to new work, they’re not going to mind if you don’t have an MFA or a slew of impressive awards. You can be brief and honest: they just want a short paragraph or a few lines to put your submission in context. In addition, they often use this paragraph for the Contributors’ Notes at the back of the journal if they accept your story. By getting your bio up front, they don’t have to worry about soliciting it later on.

Most bios are on the dry side, but take a look at the contributors’ bios in the journal before you write the cover letter. If it looks like they’re open to something more colorful, then you can be a little creative. Refer to these samples, real bios from published writers (in most cases proper nouns have been changed), to get started.

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