Saturday, September 19, 2009

Do Unpubbed Authors Need a Bio?

Tip of the Day: Not a fan of Times New Roman? This Georgia font is nice on the eyes and has TNR-like serifs. And look, you can tell the difference between 1 and l. (Compare Times New Roman: 1 and l. That drives me nuts!)

OK, I'm a writer, but there are certain things I don't like to write. Like the last paragraph of query letters. You know, that paragraph designed to convince agents and editors that I'm the most appropriate person to be writing about cursed and haunted teenagers. But as it turns out, I've needed a writing biography paragraph for more than just query letters:

-- For applying for a scholarship for the Chautauqua conference;
-- For a letter asking for information from a work-for-hire publisher;
-- For applying for an open slot in an experienced critique group;
-- For applying for a SCBWI Work-in-Progress grant;
-- For posting on the Web so you all know why you might want to read my blog.

That's just my personal experience, but I'm sure you could think of more situations--like when an editor or published author auctions off a critique, for example. Do you really want to reinvent your bio paragraph every time you need one?

I have two bio paragraphs, one informal and in third person for social networking, and another, more formal one written in first person for queries:

Kate Fall started writing fiction in seventh grade, when her teacher read her funny story to the class and everyone laughed at the right parts. She got serious about writing MG and YA five years ago. In 2007, she attended the Highlights Chautauqua conference and in 2008, she was a panelist for the Young Adult Fiction Cybils Award ( She is a member of SCBWI and RACWI (Rochester Area Children’s Writers and Illustrators). On Mondays, she blogs as a regular contributor to the group blog

I am a member of SCBWI and my publishing credits include trade magazine and newspaper feature articles. In 2007, I attended the Highlights Chautauqua conference and in 2008, I was a panelist for the Young Adult Fiction Cybils Award ( On Mondays, I blog as a regular contributor to the group blog Author2Author (

I don't do this because I'm super organized. I do this because I like to cut and paste. I keep these handy on my c drive. Any time I need a bio, I just cut and paste. It takes a little stress out of application processes. And as an unpublished author, I've been surprised how much I've used these.

Not everyone will agree that my credits will grab an editor or agent's attention, but I think they prove, at least, that I've been paying attention to the modern market and the last YA book I read wasn't FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC in 1987. (Of course I read FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC in 1987. I'm just saying I've read a lot since then.)

So if you don't have a stock bio handy, I say go for it. It will give you an extra boost of confidence when you write letters and applications. We all need that!

-- Kate, Miss Perfecting the Pages

1 comment:

DeenaML said...

This is the perfect post for me right now! Must create a new, witty bio....