Breathe. Write. Breathe. - 18 Energizing practices to spark your writing and free your voice by Lisa Tener

Lisa's new book is here!

Breathe. Write. Breathe.

18 Energizing Practices to Spark Your Writing & Free Your Voice

Subscribe to Lisa’s Blog

Weekly writing & publishing news, tips, and events — straight to your inbox!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

How to Nail Your Leadership or Author Bio

Want to know one of my favorite editing tips when creating or revising an author bio, a book or a blog post?

Deborah Saltman Lisa Tener leadership bio
Deborah Saltman and Lisa Tener at the 2018 healthcare leadership course

I originally wrote this post in 2018 after presenting Rewrite Your Leadership Bio at Harvard Medical School’s Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare. The course will be offered virtually in 2020 from Nov 5-7. And I’ll be offering this leadership bio writing workshop once again.

A Favorite Writing Tip

Here’s one of my favorite tips from the upcoming leadership bio workshop and one of my best writing tips, too (via the late, great Frank Conroy when he taught a writing seminar at  MIT during his tenure as the Director of the National Endowment for the Arts in Literature):

“Employ powerful verbs.”

Search for verbs like: was, is, had, has, could, can, are and am in your document. When you find these not-so-powerful verbs, see if there’s a way to replace the meh verb with a verb that paints more of a picture. Verbs can convey movement (external and internal), emotion, change or transformation and impact.

Naturally, when I presented Rewrite Your Leadership Bio at Harvard Medical School’s Career Advancement and Leadership Skills for Women in Healthcare, at some point, my advice turned to verbs.

As an author—or author in the making—you need a compelling bio for your website, book proposal, book jacket, media appearances, speaking engagements, training programs and possibly more. Consider the verbs that can set the tone and showcase your skill set.

Some of the best words to use in a leadership or author bio are powerful verbs, because they convey action, accomplishment, leadership style, influence, impact and skills.

Getting to the heart of your bio!

Compelling verbs to Use in Your Leadership or Author Bio:

  • Created
  • Developed
  • Founded
  • Built
  • Engaged
  • Led
  • Charged
  • Pioneered
  • Originated
  • Conducted
  • Piloted
  • Researched
  • Produced
  • Identified
  • Researched
  • Developed
  • Initiated
  • Proved
  • Provided
  • Established
  • Spearheaded
  • Initiated
  • Analyzed
  • Delivered
  • Expanded
  • Guided
  • Collaborated
  • Trained
  • Implemented
  • Authored
  • Conceptualized
  • Published
  • Authored
  • Awarded
  • Wrote
  • Founded
  • Championed
  • Generated
  • Fostered
  • Integrated
  • Formulated
  • Orchestrated
  • Launched
  • Upgraded
  • Improved
  • Fixed
  • Promoted
  • Produced
  • Influenced
  • Cultivated
  • Set

Can you think of other high impact verbs to use in your author bio or leadership bio? Add your ideas as a comment below!

Your Spark of Genius Adds Personality and Authenticity to Your Author Bio Share on X

When you identify your core values, skills, talents and passions, you get at your “spark of genius”—the things that set you apart from others and make your author bio interesting and inspiring to read.

While you may likely have many versions of your author bio for different purposes, your spark of genius should permeate each version in some way, while also resonating in tone, length and syntax with your particular audience and the particular use of that bio.

In addition to identifying powerful verbs, consider your spark of genius and how you can power your bio with that spark. Some questions to ask:

  • Where do my passions lie?
  • What do I feel most proud of (including unique activities and accomplishments , not typical to a bio)?
  • What quirky interests or talents do I possess?
  • Which activities would I happily perform even if I never got paid for doing them?
  • Can I find out what others say about me?
  • What accentuates my leadership style or thought leadership?
When writing a leadership or author bio, set out to inspire, rather than impress! Share on X

Have any tips you wish to add? Share them below as a comment. Thanks!

Posted in

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Frank borrelli says

    I wrote a 197 page. Bio for my family. I now want to but in a second edition..maybe 100 pages.the person that had it published used some idiots to dit it , but it came out fairly well.
    If I have you dit and republish on Amazon , what can I expect to pay. Book is
    The skinny kid from the green grass…so much more to tell


    Frank Borrelli

    • Lisa Tener says

      Congratulations on publishing your memoir. The cost for editing, layout/design and publishing varies and depends somewhat on how much editing is needed and what you want (just punctuation or all three phases of developmental editing, line-by-line revisions and proofreading). I have a colleague who can give you a price but it will certainly cost in the thousands.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Indie published Joy of Writing Journal.

Get Lisa's Award-Winning Book

The Joy of Writing Journal:

Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day

Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award & IPPY Award

Subscribe to Lisa’s Blog

Weekly writing & publishing news, tips, and events — straight to your inbox!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 10.05.50 PM
Share This