Of all the things writers write, the hardest thing to pen has to be our own bios. A quick scan of book covers reveals the usual, boring and bland fact-based tidbits: bestselling USA TODAY author… lives in Omaha with her husband and Welsh Corgies… grew up in… award-winning… blah-blah-blah. Yet in this over-sharing age of social media, the last thing any new writer can afford is a boring bio.
Worse, it seems like the bio bar is constantly being raised. While few of us have New York publicists to whip out brilliant copy that lets the world know of our fabulousness, we do have one all-powerful resource. OURSELVES.
Being novelists, we’re fonts of creativity, right? So how come bio writing always lands at the bottom of our to-do lists and so many of us, myself included, rarely update? What’s worse, we often need to come up with multiple bios and profiles for the various sites we frequent. My best description of myself, IMO, is on Google: Believes in aliens, same-sex marriage, and the right to bear arms. ‘Cuz that sums me up, though professionally-speaking there’s room for improvement.
On my website, I like to get more personal, because ultimately my goal is building relationships with readers. Lately I’ve tinkered with a few versions of… well… ME.
The current old standby: JAMIE BRAZIL lives in the Pacific Northwest with a Bloodhound. In another life, under a different name, Jamie has published nonfiction, dispatched emergency services and coordinated documentary television productions. The dispatching gig turned out to be great training for the round-the-clock crises when working with film crews.
How about a NEW and improved first-person bio?
Jamie Brazil: I’m good at marriage, bad at email, and addicted to coffee. I’ve been on a diet for ten years, and while there’s less of me overall, my weight loss is largely due to a Craigslist ad advertising a two-year-old Bloodhound needing a new home. My hair is poker straight and my teeth used to be crooked. My love of vintage clothing leads me astray. Drawing on my deepest reserves of self-control, I’ve occasionally resisted the siren song of a yard sale. Luckily, in the Pacific Northwest there’s a thing called winter, otherwise I wouldn’t get anything written at all. I love romance novels because I believe in the power of love… and that everyone deserves a shot at happily ever after!
Maybe this bio is a little overboard. Still, it’s a work in progress, and not a final draft. I’d love your help. What do you like, or hate, about the above examples? Which bio do you prefer? Do you think author bios should be strictly professional, or bend to the creative?