The Dreaded Bio sheet

Dear Miss Snark:

I got asked for another partial. The agency wants a bio, synopsis, 30 pages. I got the 30 pages and synopsis part down, (mix both equally with uncut gin), but I'm stymied on the bio. There was a short bio in my query, an award, some short stories that are out there - nothing very exciting.

What more do they want? Should the bio be on a separate page? Do they want to know my degrees? What kind of jobs I've worked at? Whether I like sushi? How many cats, dogs, kids and husbands I have? Where I live? Whether I can surf? If I've ever been arrested?

They're looking for publicity and marketing fodder. Have you been published. Do you have an interesting element in your bio that can be used as a hook for media interest (Stephen King's manicurist! Miss Snark's gin delivery van driver! Paula Abdul's love slave!).

Yes it should be on a separate page

Degrees: sure, but unless you went to the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets ...err..Poetics...will they really be interested

Jobs: sure, particularly if they relate to the book (example: Elaine Viets uses her jobs for a a hook with her "Dead End Jobs" mystery series).

Sushi: only if you know a better place than I do

Menagerie: too cutesy for my taste but you can't go wrong with puppies and kitties

Kids and Husband: only if the number exceeds 5 for kids and 1 for spouse (concurrently).

Surfing: only if you mean water and include a picture of you in a wetsuit and you look good

Arrest: oh please, who hasn't!


Anonymous said...

butbutbutbutbut, what if you have NOTHING that should go on that bio, what then? HUH? what then??

a snarkling in distress

Ewoh Nairb said...

Just that you know about and mention the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics has earned you a devoted fan for life (yours or mine, whichever is longer). I am a huge fan of the school and of Kerouac, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti and the rest.

Thanks for making my day just a bit brighter. I'll buy the gin if we ever meet.

Seneca the Younger said...

I'll wave next time I walk by naropa.

Jean said...

From what you've described, I would presume the bio should be written like the paragraph of author information found below the photo inside the back cover of the book, right?

Eileen said...

While I await literary greatness and the certain piles of money to follow- are you in the market for a gin delivery driver? I've got a sporty orange bug.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Author Biography

Sha'el was born in the wilds of Northern California almost a century ago. She is the foster parent to the two youngest Dragon’s of Tantor. She's devoted herself to saving pixie kind, replanting of the Sha nesting grounds, raising goats, and tormenting her many sisters. Her favorite expression is, "I'm older than you are. I was born first. You'll never catch up!"

Sha'el's co-author, Rachael de Vienne, is a later addition to the Sha. She's tall as pixies go, but short from a human perspective. She's harried by too many children and goats. She admits to an addiction to chocolate. She competed in the Miss Lost in the Forest pageant when she was 12 years old, and was voted Miss Least Congenial. "She can be really cranky sometimes," her mother explains. "And you best leave her Hershey bars alone."

She writes history in her spare time and has been known to make history on occasion. She is 12th in line to the Sha throne, and enjoys vacationing in out of the way locations. Her last vacation was on a deserted island in the middle of the Columbia River. She spent a week basking in the hot sun, enjoying the shade of Sagebrush, and eating cactus.

Why have we gone back to the old "wait until I get good and ready to let this be seen" way of posting? Was someone naughty, and I missed it?

Anonymous said...

I once nearly ran over Charlie Daniels (fiddle and all) with my bicycle. Does that count?

Seriously, oh feeder of the Grand KY--assuming I look dumpy and middle-aged, have no connection with newsworthy persons and (like most sensible people) would rather keep my own most newsworthy history out of the news, what elements of my bio would hurt my chances of holding your attention, and what would help? Would saying "You don't want to know" bar me forever from the inner sanctum?

Also, is a bio the best place to cite one's website(s)?

Mark said...

Mine is 18 pages for the government, and a paragraph for an agent. One page for newspaper editor.

Lady M said...

Arrests: Never been, but have done. *giggles*

Sushi: PowerHouse Restaurant in Kodiak, Alaska. Owner owns one in Mississippi also. Worth the flight from Timbuktu.

(Yes, I had to sing that little song.)

Lady M

Angelle Trieste said...

Sushi? Of course I know better places than you, Miss Snark! ;)

Any non-belt place in Nagarekawa in Hiroshima is better than anything you find in the States, esp. because you can't find fugu in the US. (fugu = blow fish -- tasty)

Besides, I can no longer eat oysters outside of Hiroshima, as it produces some of the BEST oysters in the world.

Jean said...

I bow in deference to sha'el, princess of pixies. That's what I was thinking.

LOL to mark for 18 pages of government bio and one paragraph for agents.

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Oh, I had a "let's check her out and see if she'll sell the government down the river for a dime" background check once or twice. They even interviewed my kindergarten teacher.

I know, because she called me on the phone to tell me. Well, mostly she said, "Did you know the FBI were at my house. My house! And they wanted to know about YOU. What did you DO?? I didn't tell them anything!"

I'd love to see the file. I bet there's good biographical stuff in there. I bet the reading public would be fascinated by my Kindergarten teacher's evasive answer to FBI questions about my integrity.

Q: Did she eat paste?

A: Do I have to answer that?

Q: It's in the national interest, ma'am.

A: Well, No. But she did play with the Elmer’s Glue a lot. She made these little balls out of glue and hid them in her desk until they were cured. Then .... Well, I can't say what she did with them.

Q: Did you consider that suspicious behavior?

A: No, I considered it average kindergarten behavior for a short kid. I think it was some sort of compensatory behavior.

Q: So, she'd sell out national defense secrets and American nuclear technology for a bottle of Elmer’s glue and a good time?

A: No, no. But I'm not sure what she'd do for a dozen Chocolate Truffles.