I have a brief overview of proposals on my Publishing Tips page, but I was asked to expand a bit on the author section of a proposal. I’m happy to do so, and would also welcome any words of advice anyone else would like to share on the topic.
When you are essentially selling your services, whether in a proposal, resume, curriculum vitae, or bio, you want each word to work for you. Including an author section in your proposal essentially means submitting a bio that further sells the idea or project you are offering.
In general I keep two bios handy. One is a paragraph in length and the other is three. I use the longer one, including academic degrees and locations, in proposals and tailor to suit the project. For a children’s book, I’m a homeschooling mom of a bazillion.* For adult academic work, I’ve won an essay contest or two.
No matter what, I list anything that hints at an audience or writing credibility, including works published or utilized elsewhere. Write for a local paper sometimes or a church newsletter? Consider including it. If you’re proposing a Bible study, include your ongoing weekly study group.
You are not reinventing the wheel and you are not about to shock the recipient with your awesomeness. Look at the back of books. These are your examples. Your publisher (even if you self-publish ;)) will want good “back cover copy,” so you can think of it that way.
Individual editors and publishers want to know how you are qualified, marketable, and personable. In other words, they want to know how you can easily become marketable if you have not yet established a market.
Please do write in third person. This stands in the position of someone introducing you.
Answer who you are as a writer, why you write (or wrote the particular piece at hand), and what you have published or used publicly. A website or blog information can be included.
The job of the proposal is to present your idea, your writing, your grasp of the audience, and your understanding of the market for professional evaluation. Introducing yourself is a smaller piece of that pie. Don’t stress about it. You speak throughout the proposal, and isn’t that what writers want to do?
* Note well, I use bazillion in the best possible sense, but which children do you count as a homeschooling mom, anyway? Those in classes? Grammatical oddity, I’d say. Guess I’ll grow out of it—ha!