Tooting Your Own Horn

I’m a writer, right? I make things up, put words on the page, rearranging and editing them until the thing reads easily, nicely. So why is writing my own author bio so hard?

I know I’m not the only one who has problems with this, but it doesn’t make it any easier. Great, we all struggle with it. Now, will you write mine if I write yours? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way (unless you’re offering…).

Most of what I write is in the third person, so writing in the third person should be easy. But writing and thinking about yourself in the third person seems distinctly odd. Disturbing, even. Except for Bob Dole, as my husband would say.

Then there’s the matter of what to say, and how to say it. I’ve read some great author bios that were funny. I’ve also read some painful ones that tried to be funny, and fell flat instead. Some are short and sweet, others seem terse. Others go on for so long that it seems like reading another whole novel. I mean really, do I need to know your third-grade teacher told you “Good job,”  and that your grandchildren like to call you Dumpky? Knowing when to stop is important. So is not sounding like a bad personals ad.

I know a good author bio when I read it, and I try to emulate those, but usually those people’s lives seem much more interesting than my own. You know:

“Bob Smith speaks twelve languages and writes his first drafts in Swedish. He lived for three years in Guatamala and two years in the Amazon basin before becoming a rocket scientist and professional chef. He’s now an internationally known best-selling author living in a really cool place.”

Um, yeah. I can’t imitate that. My life just isn’t that interesting. What I have done is pretty much only of interest to me (and my husband, but really, he’s gotta be interested in what I do; it’s that marriage thing). Very little of it seems unique or important to my career as a writer. After all, how many of us love chocolate? Should I try for funny, I usually end up sounding stiff and lame. ARRGH!

I sat down and came up with about six or seven bits, then I played with them in different combinations. It’s not bad, but it’s not exactly riveting. It does mention chocolate; sigh. What do you think?

M.E. Garber grew up reading about hobbits, elves and dragons, so it’s no wonder that she currently writes strange things. She lives in Ohio with her husband where, in addition to writing, she enjoys gardening, cooking, travel and eating chocolate. You can find her blog at:  megarber.wordpress.com

So, what hints or tips do you have for writing your own short author bio? Any websites or blog posts you can pass along? And do you like your own author bio?

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About M.E. Garber

I'm an itinerant Ohio-born speculative fiction writer now living in north central Florida.
This entry was posted in Personal Life, Reading, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tooting Your Own Horn

  1. My advice is be who you are, because apparently I’m an afterschool special haha. I decided that there was no point trying to pretend I’m not constantly silly. So my SFWA bio is this:

    Cory Skerry lives in Bellingham, WA where he writes stories, draws comics, copy edits & reads slush, and goes hiking with his two sweet, goofy pit bulls. He plans on building a time machine so he can become a highwayman in the 1700s, because Johnny Lee Miller made it look hot.

    Like

    • M.E. Garber says:

      Yeah, your bio comes off as silly/funny, which is good. But I think I sound boring. Well, maybe I am, a bit at least. It’s just that I don’t think I’m *that* boring. Or is it just time for my existential crisis…? “I exist, therefore I am boring.”

      Like

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