View Full Version : Bios-What is relevant?

03-10-2014, 08:22 PM

I'm having some trouble deciding what agents actually want to know about me in a query letter. From my perspective, I don't really have much information that seems relevant.

This is a first novel, and Iíve never been much of a short story writer. That makes journal publications / contest winning a bit more complicated. I am trying to change that though.

My personal life sort of relates to my novel, but in a rather loose way. The MC is involved with horse training, and Iíve ridden horses competitively for 20ish years. Also, the novel has political/policy related themes, and Iím in graduate school for public policy. I do have a few publications in academic journals, but I really doubt YA fantasy agents will want to read about groundwater contamination policy...

To me, those things seem like a stretch. I almost think it would be better to save the 50 words for discussion of my actual submission. Thoughts?

03-10-2014, 09:09 PM
I'd probably mention the horse-riding, if the training is a significant part of the novel. It shows your writing from a base of knowledge and experience.

Really, though, there's no need to pad out your bio or to put anything in it except "This is my first novel." Agents are going to be taking you on because of that novel, after all.

Good luck with your submissions!

Siri Kirpal
03-10-2014, 11:17 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I'd definitely include the horse-riding and probably the degree and how it relates to the story. Some agents do want to know about published non-fic articles, even if they have nothing to do with the book, but that's up to you.


Siri Kirpal

Corinne Duyvis
03-11-2014, 12:00 AM
If you keep it short, I don't see why you shouldn't put it in. Some people use that space to talk about where they live and how many cats they have (never enough) and others prefer to skip it. Personally, I'd mention those things if I were you--the horses and public policy, anyway. It's just a few words, and agents expect to learn a bit about you in a query, and they probably like that you know what you're writing about, so you might as well.

03-11-2014, 12:09 AM
I was in the same boat when querying. I have zero writing credits to my name--I just like to write. My bio went something like:

I am a former choir geek and high school teacher with a long and steady background in physcal fitness, and spend most of my childhood watching my dad's country band rock out to enthusiastic crowds. I used these as a basis for [manuscript]. [Manuscript] is my first novel, and the first in a series I am actively working on.

So, I would say mention your experiences that are relevant to the novel you're querying. It worked for me. Several publishers asked for my full, and eventually I signed with one of them. At least they'll know you're not talking out of your butt if you mention experiences relevant to your novel.

03-11-2014, 02:08 AM
Send pictures of horse. Also more pictures of horse. Everything else, not so much.

Ok, seriously. Bios are mostly to find out what's promotable about you. School isn't. Horses are.

Bottom line is though: don't worry. Whatever you say short of "my appeal is pending" aren't going to matter.