There are Author Bios, and then there are Author Bios

It occurred to me today that I need to write another author bio. I recently bit the bullet and finally rewrote my bio for 2014. I have it here on The Craft of Writing Fiction, and on The Flight of Torque website. But, as I was looking at that “author bio” page in the back of my manuscript, it occurred to me that I need to write another one.

You see, there are author bios, and then there are author bios. The bios I’ve used on the Web are changeable. I can update them as time passes. So using dated material doesn’t really matter. Every year or two I tweak the bio or, like I did recently, rewrite it completely to reflect the changing directions of my interests and my career. Having it malleable like that is fantastic because I can keep it updated to reflect who I am today.

But that little bio, the one paragraph one for the back of my book? That’s going to be in print. Immortalised. And yes, while I can ultimately update the book if I feel I need to, the author bio in printed copies will remain exactly same as when it went to print. The author bio inside the covers of the book needs to have more longevity than Web content. It needs to reflect, not just who I am today, but who I’ll be tomorrow.

So, yes. It seems I need to write another bio. And bios aren’t an easy thing to write. It can be difficult to give yourself permission to wax lyrical about yourself. When I write bios for others it is easy. I can objectively observe their traits and virtues, their accomplishments, achievements, and their successes. When I’ve written resumes for other people it’s been a simple thing to power-play their skills sets. When I’m writing about myself it is much harder.

I find the only way I can do it is to think from outside of myself. Look at my accomplishments as if they were those of a client. When I do that I actually get a pretty good buzz because I can pinpoint the aspects that sell me as an author and experienced writer/editor. From outside of myself and my own insecurities and lack of self-confidence I can put a pretty good spin on everything and not feel like I’m tooting my own horn. Of course, I feel like I’m tooting my own horn right now, but the thing is, that’s what you’ve got to do when you’re writing your own bio. You’ve got to step out of yourself, and let yourself write it as if you were tooting your horn about the virtues and experience of your idols.

Now, I have to try to sum up who I am today, who I’ll be tomorrow, in a single paragraph that will be immortalised in print. I’ll share it in the comments when I’m done.

Have you considered writing your bio? Why don’t you join me and write yours now? I’d love to read it, so please post it in the comments and remember, step outside of yourself and truly acknowledge all the awesome experiences and achievements in your life. Play up your skills and sell yourself. Pretend you’re writing the bio of a favourite author, one you love and whose work and accomplishments you admire, because truly, you should be very proud of yourself for all you’ve already done.

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Rebecca Laffar-Smith

Rebecca Laffar-Smith is a publisher, children's writer, and novelist. In 2010 she gave up a successful 12-year freelance career to focus on her three loves; family, community, and fiction. She self-published her debut novel The Flight of Torque in June 2014 and the first three titles in the P.I. Penguin series in from Aulexic in May 2015. At The Craft of Writing Fiction, Rebecca shares her journey of creation and learning with readers. She loves getting to know her fellow readers and writers and can be contacted through Twitter and Facebook, or Email.

2 thoughts on “There are Author Bios, and then there are Author Bios”

  1. Ok, well I don’t know if I like it. It’s hard to know what to include when you condense 32 years to a single paragraph. Is it too flowery? Is it too blah? Is it what a reader would want to know? What do you think? Perhaps these are the sorts of things we should write multiples of until we find a paragraph we truly love.
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    Born to the magical beauty of her sunburnt country home in Western Australia, Rebecca Laffar-Smith always yearned to explore the wonders of this world and beyond. After twelve years as a freelance writer and editor, she gave up writing about the non-fiction world in favour of the fantastical creatures and fanciful things she could create and immortalise in fiction. Now she writes in the moments she can steal away from homeschooling her son, raising her daughter, and volunteering as an events coordinator and mentor for her local writing community. She dreams of someday running a farm-stay writer’s retreat on the outskirts of Perth and writing her stories in a detached, hexagonal room with floor to ceiling bookshelves and plenty of natural light.
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  2. Thank you for the opportunity!
    Today, I am 73 years old and I feel like I’m 39. I’ve always felt that way. I over came poverty by getting a job, then, excelling at my work which allowed me to grow. My employers were wonderful to me by allowing all the things that happened to me. I became a Warrent Officer in the military, flew a helicopter, became a licensed commercial pilot flying my solo flight to the Bahamas and back. Had the opportunity to lead men and woman in sales and own my own business for ten years. I married the girl of my dreams and we are doing just that. I have been retired for ten years and have written over twenty novels having published five of them. I feel as if my life has just begon.

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