I’m getting packed to leave for a conference tomorrow, so tonight’s blog will be shortish. I will try to keep to my regular schedule of blogging–blogs should appear Monday through Friday, leaving us all to recover on the weekend. We’ll see if I can manage that, because conferences really are a ton of fun, and it’s too easy to hang out in the hotel lobby talking to the other loons until all hours of the night.
Judith posted this sample author bio a couple of days ago:
Originally trained as a teacher of English, Judith Robl has morphed through more than the requisite seven career changes. She’s worked in varied milieu from adult care facillites to petroleum production, with forays into printing, publishing, real estate and accounting.
She is a member of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, having been the organizing regent of her local chapter. Her novel, Patience, evolved from her desire to be a fly on the wall in her ancestor’s household, when the menfolk were read out of Quaker meeting for their participation in the American Revolution.
Judith and her husband have occupied the same home in central Kansas for the past 37 years.
Randy sez: The strong part of this is paragraph 2, where we learn that Judith’s forebears forebore to foreswear arms-bearing in the American Revolution. And that’s what her novel’s about.
See, a good publicist could make hay out of that. It won’t get Judith on Oprah, but there are a ton of radio folks out there scrambling every day to put together the programming. So Judith’s publicist calls them up and says, “Hey, did you know that in the American Revolution, there were men who got tossed out of the Quakers for fighting? And we’ve got one of their descendants who’s researched it all up. And by the way, she even wrote a novel. Interested?”
Truth to tell, not all radio folks will be jazzed by this. But some of them will, and that’s the point. That puts Judith on the radio, and she gets a bit of name-recognition. It all adds up over time.
So Judith, put that second paragraph first, and juice it up as much as it will bear. The rest of it’s all fine, but you want the glitzy stuff first.
Destiny asked a few questions a couple of days ago:
1) How fun/teasing can your bio be? Like where you talk about how John’s gone to Mars. Is it possible that an editor would not take it in it’s funny intentions?
2) What kind of credentials can you have for fantasy? A degree is philosophy? A degree is Wicca? An ardent knowledge of many popular fantasy books? And if you are a lawyer or a doctor writing a fantasy book, is it taken as against you? Should you simply avoid mentioning it? Is there anything you MUST mention is your bio?
Randy sez: I referred to your question 1 obliquely a few days ago, but it bears repeating. Humor is good. It will hurt you with some editors and help you with others. If you’re going to use humor, make sure it’s really good, so it’ll help more than it hurts. With John Olson’s bio, he applied the humor with a fairly light touch. Yesterday, when we looked at Christophe’s bio, it was laid on quite a bit thicker and with that comes added risk. However, Christophe just has to find ONE editor who’s also a werewolf, and he’s found a friend.
As for question 2, the only credentials needed for fantasy are the ability to write fantasy. A strong background in medieval studies can help. The novels of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and J.K. Rowling all reveal a lot of study in medieval history.
A degree in philosophy could help, IF you are writing a fantasy in which philosophical study is important. Likewise, a background in Wicca could help a fantasy writer with a Wiccan slant. A lot of reading of other fantasies is very important, since you want to avoid being called “derivative”–the kiss of death in fantasy writing. A doctor or lawyer writing a fantasy might want to mention that fact if they are writing one that involves herbal healing or legal dealing. If not, then it’s not helpful.
The general rule is to tie your life as closely as possible to your story. You want the editor believing that no person on the planet could possibly be better suited to writing your story than YOU.
OK, I better go finish packing for that pesky conference.
What’s our next topic? Leave a comment and let me know what you’d like to talk about next.