Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Author Bios, or One More Annoying Thing To Do Before You Get Published

Yesterday, the lovely C.A. Marshall wrote an excellent blog about author bios.  That's the little blurb about the author at the end of the book.  For those of you who don't know, the authors write those themselves.  It's all part of the package that an agent sends out to editors when you are "out on sub."  (A place I'd dearly like to be.)  

Yeah, that's right, after you've already tied yourself in knots over condensing your magnum opus into a two paragraph tease for your query, after you've suffered the slings and arrows of making a three-hundred page epic into a three-page synopsis that somehow manages to retain all the wit and wonder of your manuscript all while telling the cut-and-dry beginning middle and end of your story, you now have to talk about yourself in the third person.  And be interesting.

Good luck with that, right?

As is so often the case, this is a topic that seems to be swirling around the blogosphere of late.  Literary agent Natalie Fischer inaugurated her blog with a post that had a great tip about writing the dreaded Bio. To whit:


           (name) lives in (state) with her (husband/cat/parrot). An avid writer, she spends her days (job), and
           contributes to (blog/magazine/newspaper). (Title) was a (second/first/third) place winner in the (contest).
           (name) is currently hard at work on her next project, (wip).

Okay, so maybe that doesn't seem so hard.  But some of my favorite author bios have some sparkle.  Who doesn't want sparkle?  (Damn you, Twilight for ruining that word for me.)

Cassandra's blog contains some really excellent examples of bios from books she's enjoyed.  I added one of my favorites in her comments section, so I won't bother you all with rewriting that. 

I figured I would try my hand at this bio business.  You know, better be prepared for the inevitable, right?  (Dig me and my power of positive thinking.)  So here we go.

Simple version:

Liz Czukas lives in Wisconsin with her husband, son and cat.  The Sorbet Guy is her first novel.  An avid writer, she spends her days as a nurse and her nights hard at work on her next project, Chronic.

*THUD*  (That was the sound of me putting myself to sleep and hitting my head on the desk.)

Vampire-free Sparkle Version:

Liz Czukas lives outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, son and the world's loudest, fattest cat.  The Sorbet Guy is her first novel.  During the day, she maintains her secret identity as a labor & delivery nurse.  At night, she spends all of her time writing, using the Internet to turn her brain to a well-informed soup and devouring as much pop culture as she can get her hands on.  Liz is hard at work on her next project, Chronic, due out from [fill in publisher here] in 2013.  She loves visitors at, but makes no promises about refreshments.

So which one do you like better?

If any of you writer types want to share your bio in the comments, please do!  Maybe we can all help each other be sparkly sparkle sparks.  *Yurp!*  I think I just made myself throw up in my mouth a little.

- Liz


Savannah Jordan said...

This is my author bio for my erotica penname:

Ever watch the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar? Remember the little old lady dressed as a drag queen? She looked at the cop and said, “Nothing this pretty could be real.” Well, that’s me—I am not real. I am the hot and naughty paranormal writer lurking in the mind of a fantasy author.

Anonymous said...

I hope this doesn't make you feel uncomfortable: I love you, Liz Czukas. Thank you for this fabulous blog.

Writers take note. It's not just agents who will love you for your creative and insightful bio, but your editor, too.

I would like to add one thing:

Do not ever say you were a runner-up in a contest. That's like saying, "I entered this thing, but I didn't win." I saw that once with a guy who paid $25 to send in his entry for the Pulitzer one year. That's all he did - enter. He had the audacity after that to put on his book cover that he was in the running. It didn't make the quality of his work any better. In fact, his work wasn't that good. I know of at least two people who bought his book who later said they were gypped, expecting Pulitzer-quality material.

Kristan said...

I like something in between simple and sparkle, personally. Like, simple w/ one memorable thing, and a URL, hahaha. Both of your versions work well!

C.A. Marshall said...

I love the line about refreshments! Haha! That was a nice touch.

Thanks for the links Liz! Although, I'm kinda jealous that your post is better than mine! :P

Liz Czukas said...

Savannah - is this your first time commenting? If so, welcome. If not, my apologies for having a brain like a sieve. I like the bio. Very flirty and fun!

inimitableM - I'm sorry I didn't specify editors! You're absolutely right. And thanks for the lovin'! I'm always in the market for more.

Kristan - moderation is probably always the best policy, but sometimes I just can't help myself.

Cassie - not better, darlin', just different. Thanks for inspiring me!

Jessie said...

I haven't written my bio yet, but I figure it would have to include a line about: Figuring she didn't spend enough time in front of the computer every day as an appellate lawyer, Jessie decided to write a novel or two, going so far as to purchase a laptop so she could ignore her husband from the same room.

Liz Czukas said...

Jessie - LMAO! I do the same thing! My laptop is my BFF and my constant companion in the living room. Luckily, my husband is having an affair with his iPad, so we're even.

Eleven Eleven said...

I like the vampire-free one, myself. Really fat cats always make me laugh.

Do you think listing pets is universally a good idea? You know, to endear yourself to animal-loving readers? And if your only pet's ashes sit in a box on the mantle, what about then?

I'm thinking probably not.

I'm digging your powerful positive thinking and how it makes you sunlight. ha ha.