So I’ve been noticing a trend recently of, shall we say, somewhat overwrought author bios, in which every detail is teased into something magnificent, a picture of a life fabulously lived. I realise that there are, in fact, authors who do live wonderfully exciting lives but I also seem to remember a time when it wasn’t really important to know about it. A time when an author bio was a few lines at the end of a book, photograph optional, and usually read something like: ‘Author X was born in Wiltshire, and still lives there with her husband and three sons.’ Then, if Author X had written other books/and or won awards, these would also be listed. And that was about it. (I’m basing this on the very scientific research of spending time perusing my own bookcase and reading famous author bios, so you know, it’s totally legit).
But nowadays it seems to not be sufficient that we write stories – we have to live them as well. We have to be a ‘brand’. Okay. I understand the idea of leveraging an interesting life into the idea that you might therefore have interesting stories to tell, but there are plenty of examples that prove you don’t have to live with dragons to write about them. The Bronte sisters lived relatively sheltered lives and Emily, the author of Wuthering Heights, was apparently so shy she would turn her back on people mid-conversation, unable to speak any more. She never married, yet she was able to plumb the heights and depths of passion and create an enduring legend of romance that is still considered one of the greatest literary novels ever.
But that was then and this is now, and we are all writers trying to make our mark on a world saturated with choice. And so the bio is rewritten and inflated by agents and publishers, ostensibly to create interest, though I confess I’ve never heard anyone say, ‘Oh, I’m reading a book by X because, did you know, she wrestles alligators and has a pet monkey?’
Therefore, in the interest of giving us all a leg up in the bio-writing stakes, I’ve decided to put together an Easy Author Bio Generator.* It’s basically like Mad Libs – just insert whatever words you think will work:
(your name) was born (time, place) and grew up in (place, dimension etc) learning to (do something odd). They left (your birthplace) for (a far flung destination) where they (did something amazing). (your name) now lives in (somewhere fabulous and unusual) with their (living companions). When not writing bestselling novels, (your name) likes to (do some sort of unusual and creative hobby).
And here’s my attempt:
Helen Jones was born at the turning of the tide on a remote Scottish Island and grew up with gypsies, learning to yodel at the moon. She left the island for the bright lights of Paris, where she wrote dramatic novels in between creating coffee confections for demanding French patrons. She now lives in a yurt hidden in a Welsh valley with her husband, three children and six goats. When not writing bestselling novels, she likes to party with rock stars and dance the tango under a full moon, letting out the occasional yodel.
See? Aren’t I more interesting now? 😀 Go on, give it a try – you know you want to.
- This is just a bit of fun
- I’m sure I’m not the first person to think of doing this
- I may, or may not, change up some of my bios to see if anyone even notices
- I mean no offense to those of you out there who already have fabulous and interesting bios – well done, you.
Great read! What if you live a very interesting life, worthy of an awesome and truthful bio, but you have no books to your name (yet)? 🙂
Well, I think it means you’re ahead of the game already! Thanks for commenting, glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
Oh my gosh, I am still laughing at your bio. It fitting for an author of fantasy!
Haha, thank you 😀 Yes, it was a lot more fun writing that than it was writing my actual bio!
OK Helen… here goes!
Ritu was born nearly half a century ago, in a medical institute in the heart of The Midlands and grew up in Little India, also known as Handsworth, learning to all the things a good little Indian girl needs to know. They left Brum for the posh lands of Surrey where they learned how to be an educator a day how to live independently. Ritu now lives in The Garden of England with their Hubby Dearest, two children Lil Man and Lil Princess and their furbaby Sonu Singh. When not writing bestselling novels, Ritu likes to warble along to songs on her Smule! app!
Love it, Ritu! And it sounds like this is a true bio, rather than my ridiculous made up one 😀 Love your turn of phrase as well xx
Yeah… it was too early for me to think up silly stuff lol!!! Making the most of lie ins in the holidays lol!!! Xx
Ooh yes, lucky you. I’m working today after three days off, but from home, so am still in pjs haha
I like it!!! Lol! I’m still in pj’s but the dreaded dentist appointment calls today… followed by the vets… oh the life I lead!!!
Oh the glamour… 😀 🙂 Sounds a lot like my days as well!
😄 well enjoy your working PJ day hun!!!! 😉
Thanks, Ritu – hope you have a good day too, even with the dentist appointment! 🙂
Sat here… in the waiting room as we type… 😨
Come out.. it wasn’t too bad but need to invest in an electric toothbrush apparently!
Well, it could have been worse! 😀
… back from town… £80+ on toothbrushes . .. eek!!!
Yikes! Your teeth with be amazing with a toothbrush like that!
Well I got 3… one for me and my two kids!!! Hope we will all have great teeth now lol!!!
You certainly will! 😀
Oh man, your bio is just like mine, except, I’ve never lived in a yurt before. But now I am inspired too! 😉 Thanks for the giggle.
Haha, glad you enjoyed it, Diana – thanks for commenting 🙂
Reblogged this on Scribbler's Playhouse and commented:
Now, stop worrying about your author bio.
Thank you Helen Jones.
Thanks so much for sharing! 😊
Great post. I now have a can’t miss author’s bio. Can’t count the number of angst-ridden writers’ meetings I’ve attended as stressed writer tries to hammer out the perfect bio. Cheers —
Thanks so much, I’m really pleased to hear it worked for you. To be honest, i wrote the post as a bit of a joke after struggling with my own bio and reading loads of others – however, the formula does actually seem to work! I should update my own bio, really… 😊
Pingback: Author Bio, Pt. II: Applying Helen Jones’ (totally not serious) Formula – Scribbler's Playhouse
Hahaha! I just read your bio to Danny!
Haha! Did he laugh? I have had people take it seriously… 😀
Pingback: The Old Year Ends… | Journey To Ambeth
Literally just used it. Thanks!
Yay! – Glad it worked for your, Sarah 🙂
Well a good author bio can have good impacts Thank You for sharing. I am still laughing at your bio
Thank you 🙂
Justa wanted to let you know that I used the formula, toned it down a bit and it worked! Thank you! ❤
That’s fab! Thank you for letting me know and I’m pleased it worked for you 🙂
Pingback: A Blogging Anniversary #amblogging | Helen Glynn Jones
I can see why this is popular. Thanks for the laughs Helen. Clearly, I need to up my bio game! Nature loving muse from Arkansas doesn’t win any awards! 😃
Haha! You’re very welcome for the laughs – I did chuckle when I was writing it. It might be time for me to update my bio, maybe change the yurt to a haunted castle by a lake or something 🙂
Yes, we’ve got to up our game! 🙃