Thursday, March 18, 2010

R.E.S.P.E.C.T. The Promotional Kit Biography -Part II

Writing a biography no matter how brief or long can be a very daunting task...especially if you're writing about yourself. It is the autobiography someone writes about their own life. Generally speaking, most people are either too modest or too egocentric to write about themselves. So my advice is to find someone you are comfortable talking with who has some writing ability, then offer them a reasonable fee to write about your career. It takes a great deal of talking, interviewing, and fact finding to write a credible bio piece that appeals to the intended reader.

And who is the intended reader? How much do they really need to know about you?

To that end ask your writer to write three versions of your bio. The first is a brief synopsis of your career that is no more than 250-300 words. A mid-size bio amounts to around 750-1000 words and gets to the essence of who you are and what you do. The full length bio spells out who you are, what you do, and how you got there. Depending on the length of your career, the full length bio can be up to 4000 words in length.

The bio answers all the pertinent questions an interested party would want to know about your career. That includes all the five W's: who, what, when, where and why. It also includes how. If you are really successful at what you do, the most important element in your bio is the how.

Too often people include every move they've ever made in the body of their biographies. The truth is no one really cares if you worked with your cousin's brother-in-law on a song that was in rotation on one radio station for six days. The focus of the bio is on you and the most significant accomplishments in your career.

Optimally the bio should read like an interesting short story beginning with a brief intro and description of what you do. The chronology should begin with the strongest element in your career and move either forward or backward. This grabs the reader's interest and encourages further reading.

Create visual images for the reader.What does a typical performance look, feel, and sound like? What does the audience amount to? Is it a full house of twenty-somethings moshing; or is it a well-heeled audience in a half-filled recital hall on a university campus?

Do not list every single performance you've ever been hired for. Nobody cares. List the top five venues of interest...but only if they are commonly recognized. If the venues won't catch the reader's attention then list the cities you've performed in.

If you have strong quotes from notable sources weave them throughout the bio to keep the reader interested.
Quotes are like fairy dust. Sprinkle them sparingly in the most beneficial parts of the bio and always credit the media outlet.

Even though the biography is about the performer, it only serves as a vehicle to reach out to an audience of consumers. Typically the bio has to pass through the capable hands of a journalist who will write about the performer, enticing the consumer to buy tickets to a performance or purchase a new release. The other type of consumer is the the person who reads your bio and books you into any number of concert performances paying you a fee to perform.

Here's an example of a long bio written about the man who created the most successful independent label of the 20th century:

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