View Full Version : What To Put In An Author Bio

David McAfee
07-17-2009, 04:41 PM
When an agent asks for an author bio, are they asking for a publishing history or the full thing? Believe it or not, this is the first time I've been asked for one and I'm not sure what to include.

07-17-2009, 05:15 PM
Publishing history if you've got one plus any personal details that are relevent to your writing (e.g. You're writing a legal thriller and you're a lawyer)

Lisa Cox
07-17-2009, 05:21 PM
This is a problem I often worry about. I have nothing to put in mine -- no pub creds, nothing relevant in my life. :/ I'm starting to wonder if I should build up a writing CV before trying to sell a novel.

Anyway, this isn't about me. What waylander said. :-)

07-17-2009, 05:21 PM
My assumption is, if the agent is asking for it, then they want the whole shebang, which shouldn't be more than a paragraph. Like this:

Ferret is currently sequestered in his Milwaukee cape cod working on his next novel. Well, as sequestered as one can get with a wife, two boys, one ferret, and a hyperactive Dalmatian and an even more hyperactive Jack Russell. He's had a handful of short stories published and was editor/co-founder of a short-lived fiction magazine, Mid-Coaster, which he also revived briefly for an equally short-lived period on the web.

In his spare time he listens to his vinyl collection of classic rock from the '70s and hangs out at AbsoluteWrite.com and where he discusses such mundane topics as "Yak, Ferret, or Meercat. Which is better in a knife fight?"

07-17-2009, 05:52 PM
I wouldn't know what to say in a bio either, even though I wrote my life story many years ago. The only thing that would be relevant to my writing is I spent nearly nine years living amongst my town's biggest criminals, seeing as I write romantic suspense which always includes crimes of many different sorts.

Just to add: I've never been in trouble with the law myself, not even as much as a parking ticket.

07-17-2009, 08:08 PM
I think Shadow_Ferret's bio is pretty dead on.

I had to do a bio for a short fiction piece that was published in a literary zine and that was the gist of it - where you live, what you've had published if anything, what new project you're working on (novel etc.), and a few fun personal details (spouse, pet, job, education, etc.).

Literary magazines often have great author bios in the back that you can look at to get some ideas about what to talk about or how to frame it. Good luck!

07-17-2009, 08:56 PM
Publishing history and anything else related to writing and/or publishing (e.g., education). Not unrelated matters such as where you live and hobbies.

If you have nothing to say, skip the bio.

the addster
07-21-2009, 12:58 AM
As a non fiction writer, I list my publications and qualifications elsewhere, so I usually just BS for the bio. Something like...

The Addster was taken into the witness protection program at the age of two weeks after giving key testimony in the RICO trial of a prominent organized crime leader. Adopted by a mid-western couple unaware of her background, she has evaded those seeking to collect on the million dollar contract on her life.

I really don't think anyone cares where I live or that I have a cat.

Edit: spelling, always spelling

07-21-2009, 01:05 AM
I wrote something similar to Ferret's (minus the ferret bits) for short story submissions and I plan to use a version of that for the agents who specifically ask for a bio.

Good luck!