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The Possibly-Definitive Query-Bio Thread


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#1 RC Lewis

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 04:39 PM

Since someone asks at least once a week, I figured I should state it here and pin it to the top of this forum.

 

If you are querying fiction:

 

- You DO NOT need a bio.

- You SHOULD include publishing credits and relevant degrees.

- You SHOULD include writing awards IF it's a large enough competition for an agent to care.

- You CAN include particular expertise relevant to your novel (i.e., a nurse writing a medical thriller).

- If an agent INSISTS on a bio and you have none of the above, give ONE interesting sentence about yourself.

 

If you are querying non-fiction:

 

- You DO need a bio.

- You MUST include qualifications—why are you the guy/gal to write this book? What makes you an authority?

- You MUST have a platform—blog following with significant numbers, speaking engagements, etc.

- If you're querying a memoir, go back up to the "fiction" section. Memoirs follow the fiction procedure most of the time, and let's face it—your whole query is your bio.

 

I hope that covers most of the basic questions. If there are stranger situations that need addressing, post below. Let's keep it all in one place for posterity. :wink:


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#2 Warrior

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 09:11 PM

Thanks for putting this. Now I don't have to second guess myself when I don't include a bio. :)


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#3 Phil Peterson

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:33 AM

Thanks for this. I've been struggling with this. Some agents I'm looking into do require a bio, and I have nothing to say. Even the "one interesting sentence" has me stuck? What would I say that wouldn't just seem unusual and irrelevant?

 

Phil has insomnia and an unrelated coffee-addiction.

Phil has a lovely singing voice, but paralyzing stage fright.

Though he lives in the ghetto, Phil is rich with self-love.

 

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#4 sharpegirl

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 01:49 PM

When the bio was required, I just put where I studied and what I did for a living. Doesn't have to be big.



#5 LittleJoni

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 02:47 PM

When the bio was required, I just put where I studied and what I did for a living. Doesn't have to be big.

 

What if you have a Bachelor's degree, but is has nothing to do with literature or writing in any way, nor does it have anything to do with subject you are writing about.  Should you include it anyway if a bio is required?


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#6 sharpegirl

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:03 PM

What if you have a Bachelor's degree, but is has nothing to do with literature or writing in any way, nor does it have anything to do with subject you are writing about.  Should you include it anyway if a bio is required?

 

If the bio is required, I think I would more say "I got my BA at (school) and I currently work as (occupation)." I'm not even sure you'd have to designate your area of study unless it was relevant to the book. Anyone else have thoughts on this?



#7 LittleJoni

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:26 PM

Thanks for your reply, it does help. :)


Newest Query:

TIME GUARDIAN

 

Older Queries:

THE BELIEVER

THE MYSTIC ROAD


#8 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 04:41 PM

I never included my degrees or professional qualifications (I'm a forensic accountant and Certified Fraud Examiner by trade) because they're not relevant to my writing career.



#9 Kodi R.

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 08:01 PM

Thanks, RC. Very helpful!

 

Guess I just won't have a bio!


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#10 Raven Forrester

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 12:48 PM

This one sentence author bio has had me more apprehensive than any other part of the query. I have no real publishing credentials, but I do run a blog (albeit a small one). Would it be too much of a stretch to say something such as: "______ is a blogger and a member of several critique groups. She is currently unpublished." Or does that just sound too desperate? Help appreciated!



#11 joshhider

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 10:57 AM

Thank you! I have no credentials, and never know what to put that wont make me sound like an idiot. Now I can leave that out completely. I have read some agents that want a bio, but I have just been leaving it off knowing that I don't have one.  I hope that's not hurting me.


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#12 sharpegirl

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:09 PM

This one sentence author bio has had me more apprehensive than any other part of the query. I have no real publishing credentials, but I do run a blog (albeit a small one). Would it be too much of a stretch to say something such as: "______ is a blogger and a member of several critique groups. She is currently unpublished." Or does that just sound too desperate? Help appreciated!

 

Don't say you're currently unpublished. I'd just say "I am a blogger at (blog name) and live in (where you live)." and that's it. You don't need to mention critique groups or draw attention to your unpublished status. If you don't mention publishing stats, the agent will assume you are unpublished.



#13 Raven Forrester

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Posted 28 July 2013 - 10:12 AM

Okay, thank you!



#14 atw

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Posted 14 August 2013 - 12:08 AM

If the bio is required, I think I would more say "I got my BA at (school) and I currently work as (occupation)." I'm not even sure you'd have to designate your area of study unless it was relevant to the book. Anyone else have thoughts on this?

 

I think if your area of study is relevant to the book, it could be included. I'd assume that falls under particular areas of expertise?



#15 Blitzing

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 07:44 AM

If an agent specifically mentions publishing credits in his/her submission guidelines, should you include a credit by a small press? (not vanity) 


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#16 Jeanne

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Posted 04 June 2014 - 11:44 AM

Yes, I would mention publication by a small press. It shows your professionalism.

 

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#17 Andrea Lambert

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Posted 11 February 2016 - 03:26 PM

This thread is so helpful, thank you.

 

I actually have a heavy bio: lots of small press and online magazines, as well as notable performances like LA Pride. I have had different query critique people tell me different things about keeping the bio or trimming it. Some think it's impressive and good. Some think it's TMI and I should cut it

 

As I am writing a memoir your post reassured me that I should follow my original instinct to keep it, as bio is so important in memoir. Thanks!


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GoodReads Author bio: https://www.goodread....Andrea_Lambert

 

Amazon author bio: https://www.amazon.c...ine_cont_book_1
 
JET SET DESOLATE from Future Fiction London on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...t/dp/0578016257

 

LORAZEPAM & THE VALLEY OF SKIN: EXTRAPOLATIONS ON LOS ANGELES from valeveil: http://www.valeveil.se/posts/196
 

HAUNTING MUSES from Bedazzled Ink on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co...e/dp/194383752X

 

WRITING THE WALLS DOWN: A CONVERGENCE OF LGBTQ VOICES from Trans-Genre Press: http://trans-genre.n...the-walls-down/
 
THE L.A. TELEPHONE BOOK, VOL. 1 from ARRAS.NET: http://www.arras.net/?page_id=658

 

 





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