View Full Version : Author bio for my pen name

05-24-2017, 11:01 PM
Any advice for writing a good author biography for my pen name? Should I stick to my own personal experience, which kind of negates the reason for a pen name? Should I write it to reflect the mood and personality of the books under that pen name?

Also, what kind of information should I put in there to make it more enjoyable and entertaining to read? I dislike the bios that are all credentials, ex: born in X on X date, graduated from X University with a Masters in X...

How can I make it more personally identifiable and engaging to readers?

Anna Iguana
05-24-2017, 11:19 PM
Should I stick to my own personal experience, which kind of negates the reason for a pen name?

Bios don't have to read like résumés. As a reader, my feedback is: yes, stick to your own personal experience. Your bio functions as a credential to me, influencing my decision to spend money or time reading your work. Unless an author's bio were OBVIOUSLY satirical, I would be ticked off to learn it was made up. (Also: satirical bios can be fun!)

I use a pen name; my bio is less specific. It says that I went to a university in the Midwest (instead of listing the school name and graduation year). It says that I've published on topics A, B, and C (instead of listing journal titles, where I published under my legal name, as a professional). Good luck, and have fun!

05-24-2017, 11:46 PM
I do as Iguanas to, as often as I can. (Yes, there are places I draw the line.)

I'm my real self, and I attempt to make the tone of the bio match that of the work. My usual flippant self is not particularly romantic or erotic, so I squelch the wisecracks. Like Anna and my other iguana pals, I give real information which is purposefully non-specific. (My rule is that nothing goes out that enables a stalker to come close.) I often end with what inspired a story if I can make it interesting, i.e., She wrote StoryName after seeing its main characters on a bus bench, begging for her to assign them personalities and a crisis. (Which actually happened.)

Maryn, people-watcher

05-25-2017, 12:50 AM
Yes, stick to an edited version of reality. A pen name is a mask not a lie. Authors get in trouble for misrepresenting their experiences, especially in relation to professions, gender, race or sexuality.

Sara Raynott
06-07-2017, 09:10 AM
I agree. As I use a Pen Name myself, I can relate. I'm a new author, so I have just the basics for now...
I'm a mom of 2, I write in the romance and erotica genres, I love to read and write, I love to network with others, etc.
It doesn't sound exactly like that, but I wanted to make it short here for reference.

I'm also honest about my kids ages and my pets. It's not uncommon to have 2 young kids 2 years apart in age. It's not uncommon to have 2 dogs, etc. However, if there was something uncommon about me, I'd leave that detail out altogether.

As Anna Iguana touched on, if you graduated with a relevant degree (ie English Lit), you could put that as well without mentioning the school.

I've also seen bios mention awards, etc. I'm not there yet, but will hopefully be able to add to my bio:
Has won x award, is ranked #100 on Amazon, has been mentioned in the NY times, etc.

I haven't seen it yet, but I'm wondering, does any author put reviews in a bio? For example,
"Oprah ranked my XYZ book 5/5 stars and said: This is the best book ever!"

Anna Iguana
06-07-2017, 03:04 PM
.... nothing to see here ...