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RLTDavis
10-17-2012, 04:17 PM
I've read several times that mentioning bio material in your query that isn't directly related to writing (publishing experience or expertise in the field you are writing in) comes across as unprofessional. However, some of the agencies I am looking into specifically ask for a "short bio" along with the query. I have no previous publishing experience, nor anything that would make me an expertise in my genre (fantasy), so what should I do? It seems that it would be even more unprofessional to ignore their request for a bio.

Maryn
10-17-2012, 04:48 PM
You dash off something that has the same tone as the book you're hoping to sell.

RLTDavis is the last stay-home mom in America who does not serve her kids an all-organic diet and arrange playdates and French lessons to fill their days. She and her husband live in the Great Lakes region and enjoy riding Harleys way too fast, stopping to eat fried food and check in with the sitter.

RLTDavis finds horror prompts in the newspaper on a regular basis. She has spun them into tales which she then weaves into novels since her teens. TITLE is her first novel. She lives with her husband, children, and dogs in the desert southwest, where hiding a body isn't difficult.

Like that. It's not terribly difficult, since you already know how to write in the same tone as your novel.

Choose carefully what you will reveal of yourself and your family. Remember, some fans are crazy and you may want to ensure they cannot find you.

Maryn, who's shared her little horror story enough (it wasn't a fan, but still...)

RLTDavis
10-17-2012, 05:18 PM
Choose carefully what you will reveal of yourself and your family. Remember, some fans are crazy and you may want to ensure they cannot find you.

Maryn, who's shared her little horror story enough (it wasn't a fan, but still...)

Wow the thought of fans is so, so far off, but there are definitely reasons I've never let myself read Misery. Don't wanna scare myself too much! I assume though, that the bio I send agents would be heavily edited before ending up on a book jacket way down the road.

Thank you for the advice! Those are some great examples.

quicklime
10-17-2012, 05:46 PM
I avoid a bio; just the facts, ma'am. I've understood that as asking what you've done "relevant to your pitch." There's bio sections in some of the research funding grants I've written, where I did not mention that I enjoyed fly-fishing, making wine, etc., so I see no reason I'd add it here, either.

That said, note Maryn has much more experience than I do. I doubt wither one is a major issue, unless you get really cheesy, obnoxious, rude, long-winded, etc....

Maryn
10-17-2012, 07:29 PM
That said, note Maryn has much more experience than I do. I doubt wither one is a major issue, unless you get really cheesy, obnoxious, rude, long-winded, etc....That's Wither One, capitalized, dude!

Maryn, terribly old

veinglory
10-17-2012, 07:32 PM
If they ask for a bio, I give them one--even if it is just one sentence like: Emily is in a place, she writes books.

Siri Kirpal
10-18-2012, 02:51 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

There are one non-writing thing that agents want to know: do you have media or stage experience? If so, be sure to say so.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

RLTDavis
10-18-2012, 03:08 AM
There are one non-writing thing that agents want to know: do you have media or stage experience? If so, be sure to say so.


Hi! And nope, unless you count the front of my classroom as a stage, lol. (I teach chemistry to drooling hooked-into-their-ipod-and-dead-to-the-world college students)

quicklime
10-18-2012, 03:23 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

There are one non-writing thing that agents want to know: do you have media or stage experience? If so, be sure to say so.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal


out of curiosity, where did you hear that?

Polenth
10-18-2012, 07:44 PM
On the other side of this, don't include things like you've always wanted to be a writer, you've been writing since you were three, you wrote this story from your imagination, you were destined to be a writer, you hope to inspire the whole world, you had to write this book because you had no choice and the characters made you do it or anything else of that nature.

They may not care that you live in Ohio and have a pet cat, but it's harmless. All the trying to sound profound stuff is actively negative.

Siri Kirpal
10-18-2012, 09:50 PM
out of curiosity, where did you hear that?

Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I recently pitched an agent at a conference and watched her face light up when I told her I had stage skills.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Debbie V
10-22-2012, 11:05 PM
Bios can give them an idea of marketability and how you will be to work with. For example I write teachers' guides for a magazine. I have a bio on their which will mention my books when I have a book. This means, my book will be listed there, I have worked with an editor before, and I have met deadlines. All those are pluses to an editor or agent now, even though the actual writing may be irrelevant.

In other words include things that may go with your platform or brand - especially for non-fiction. Also include things that show you are a pro - membership in Writer's Guild, etc. That's all you need, nothing else.

retlaw
10-23-2012, 08:25 AM
Bio info doesn't have to be only about your writing.

I say give a bio if it helps your cause. If you're writing about a thriller that takes place on an oil-rig, then mentioning you've been a rigger for X years helps. If you're novel is about a fly fisherman, then mentioning that you've been running a fishing company on the Rogue River for 10 years is bio info that I feel would be worth including, in the right way.

Roxxsmom
11-01-2012, 10:32 AM
I read your thread because I noticed a few agents request author bios as separate parts of the submission (from the query letter, synopsis and any pages they may or may not want up front). I have no idea what to put in one either, as like you, I am a college teacher (biology instead of chemistry) who writes fantasy.

So if they want a separate bio, it's supposed to be a bit like the bios they have on the back flaps of novels?