I will always say that working on your project is the easiest part of your creative endeavor while marketing is the hardest part. Let’s face it: marketing stinks. It is the most soul-sucking (and possibly least fulfilling) part of your journey. It’s like walking down a really gravely road with no shoes on and no end in sight. Sadly, it’s a necessary evil if you want to turn your project into a functional business. If you’re creating something and you want people to see it: always be marketing.
While doing some soul searching for creators to feature, I noticed that many creators didn’t have the most basic of marketing basics covered. If you’re one of those creators, don’t feel bad! It’s never too “late” to add some new tools to your arsenal of awesome!
This week, we’re starting with…
The Creator Bio
An essential part of selling your project is also selling yourself. I don’t mean selling OUT or selling your body or posting lots of selfies, but just letting people know who you are. It’s nice to know that there’s a human being (presumably) behind the keyboard.
Having a creator bio is absolutely mandatory. Fight me. If you’re in the boat of “I don’t need a creator bio because I’ll let my work speak for itself”, please get out of that boat right now because there’s a hole in it and you’re already halfway underwater and the boat is also somehow on fire. Audiences, by nature, are curious. If your audience likes your project, they’re going to go searching for more information about you and they’ll be delighted to find out that you’re not a nameless, faceless entity floating around in the void (as cool as that sounds). In addition, a creator bio is a great way to let people know you’ve got multiple projects going in case they want MOAR and you have MOAR to give.
Yes! We get it! Creator bios are super cool! How do we make one?
A good example of a creator bio is something along the lines of: “Jane Doe is a self-taught sequential artist from Brooklyn, NY. She also writes stories! She has worked on many comics including The Life of Jane Doe, Jane Doe Made a Comic and This is Jane Doe’s Other Comic. When not drawing, she spends her time reading books, playing video games and feeding stray cats.”
Notice how the bio is straight to the point. It clearly states what Jane Doe does, where she’s from, what she’s worked on and a bit of fun extra information about her to remind you that she’s an actual human and not just a drawing/writing machine. There are other things going on in her life, such as a love of books, video games and cats.
It’s good to limit your bio to something around three or four sentences – just enough for your audience to know all the basics and not “too much” that they don’t feel like reading it at all. Unless they’re SUPER interested, most people don’t have time to read a five paragraph autobiography. Or even a two paragraph one.
If this helps, imagine that your bio is something you’d see on the back of a book cover next to a little picture of yourself. You’ve seen those, right? Book cover space is limited so there’s only a few sentences next to that picture.
One very important thing that I can’t stress enough is do not be self-deprecating about you or your work. No one will take you seriously. Do not do ‘playful’ jabs at your writing or your art style or anything about yourself. If you’re such a ‘loser’ or a ‘nobody’ or your art is so ‘lol terrible’, why should anyone care? If you won’t stick up for your own work, who will?
So please don’t do this: “Jane Doe is a loser who draws and writes comics. She’s made some crap including The Life of Jane Doe, Jane Doe Made a Comic and This is Jane Doe’s Other Comic.”
Nothing about that is funny. It’s just plain sad. I get it. You want to be humble. But now’s not the time for that. And there’s a difference between being humble and putting yourself down.When you put yourself down, you sound like you have no respect for yourself. If you don’t respect yourself, why should we?
So why do we need a creator bio, again? How and where do we actually use it?
It’s good to have a bio on your website, whether that’s a webcomic site or portfolio site. It’s there, people can read it and they know who you are and what you do. If you find yourself doing a written pitch to a publisher, an award submission, a zine submission or a grant application, they’re definitely going to ask you for a short bio so always have one at the ready!
The best thing to do is keep a file on your computer and/or Google drive (and/or whatever other form of storage and backup storage you kids use these days) and just copy/paste the same thing whenever and wherever you need to. It’s always good to check back with what you wrote every month or every other month and see if it’s still an accurate reflection of what you’re about. Or hey, maybe you came up with something better. Don’t be afraid to change it up every now and then and see what happens.
Aside from being a useful written paragraph to copy and paste wherever need be, it’s good for you to memorize what you wrote and use it to describe yourself in person if the need ever comes up. If someone were to approach Jane Doe’s table at a comic convention and ask what she does, or if she’s doing a job interview, she can easily say “I’m a self-taught sequential artist and I also write comics. Currently, I’ve finished three books: The Life of Jane Doe, Jane Doe Made a Comic and This is Jane Doe’s Other Comic.”
Once again, it’s short, sweet, to the point and she sounds exactly like she knows what she’s talking about. The trick is to always sound like you know what you’re talking about. People will end up taking you seriously!
Was this helpful? What would you say in your creator bio? Let us know in the comments or contact me to talk about your project!! 😀