Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Writing Author Bios

Things must be moving along in the publishing journey because I've been asked to provide my author bio for the book.

You know, when I was writing my first book and I got a little writer-blocked, I'd stop and play around with the "fun stuff" of writing - like jotting down my author bio and fiddling with photos for the cover... like doodling on your notebook your name with the kid you have a crush on in middle school.

Now that I actually have to do this, it's not turning out to be as easy or as fun as I'd imagined.

I thought I'd peruse my bookshelves for some ideas, but you know what? Not so helpful.

Let's just knock out the middle grade and YA books to begin with. Those authors (you know who you are) are just too darn creative and cute and fun. "He likes gallivanting on the high seas with his adventurous family..." Can you imagine that on my book? "She loves poking herself daily with sharp needles and monthly visits to the hospital..."

Literary fiction authors don't help much either. "She has written fourteen books, three of which have won high prestigious awards and six of which have gone on to top the bestselling list..." Can you imagine that on my book? "She wrote a poem in high school someone published, and hopes more than three people will read this book..."

Some bios try to show how the author is related to the book: "She has lived in Nantucket for twelve years, where all of her books are set." Translated to my book? "She lived in Texas long enough to develop a tolerance to country music but not long enough to talk like Babs."

I'm thinking of just going the route of John Grisham. He has one line: "John lives in Mississippi and Virginia with his family."

Yeah. I think I can do that.


  1. I was never asked for mine, it *magically* appeared on the book jacket. It's eerily similar to John Grisham's. Except for the part about living in Mississippi.

  2. I love John Grisham's bios.

    I'm sure your bio will be great. I think you should write all your little samples here together - that would be quite fun.

    This is so exciting.

  3. Thanks for the laugh! I've gone through a bit of the same conundrum with my own author bio - I ended up with a mostly John-Grishamesque approach. ;)

  4. If I ever got published I think I'd find somebody else to write my bio. I hate talking about myself.


  5. Kim - too funny! I guess I'm kind of glad I get to do my own... kind of.

    Brit - it might be embarrassing to put them all up! I just finished what I think is the final one, so I can email that to you if you want. It's somewhere between John Grisham and YA authors. :)

    K.M. - do you do a different one with each book? Something I read said your first or second sentence should connect you with the subject of your book... but what if every book is different? Grisham's bio started long, got longer in the middle books, then went down to almost nothing.

    Paul - just make sure you mention Penn State! :)

  6. I totally relate to your "fun stuff" comment!

    You've got a gift for humor–love the Texas bio–so why not go with that?
    If the publishers don't like it, you can always revert to something staid.

  7. I agree with Brit. You could put them up and have a vote.

    Writing is hard enough as it is let alone having to write about yourself.

  8. I love it, all your examples are great. :) I guess the mood of the bio has to be congruent with the mood of the book. Yeah, that would be kind of tough.

  9. Well, maybe you agonized over that bio but it turned out great!

  10. Isn't writing a bio just awful? But marketing ourselves is such a big part of what we have to do these days.

    I think I've re-written my bio at least 100 times. I have a long version, a "two-sentence" version, a short paragraph version, a "under 250 words" version, and a dozen other variations depending on the type of book I'm working on.

    Ugh! I have to say I found it distasteful at the beginning, but now I'm used to it. Every time I put up a new website, I have to include it, so I'm just getting used to seeing my whole life history out there.

  11. Thanks Marsh! :)

    Jessie - Matching the mood of the book was the thing I had trouble with, but when it clicked, it suddenly all clicked. It's not the kind of bio I'll use on any other book, though! It's definitely this one specific!

    Christy - you're so right! It's hard to promote myself, but selling myself is part of the job and I'm going to have to at least get a teensy bit more comfortable with it!

    patti - I think I got it ironed out. I haven't decided if I'll post it, or just let my editor tear it to shreds first! :)

    Kathryn - gift for humor? me? flattery will get you anywhere! (well, maybe a signed book anyway!)