No matter what path of writing you will take, you will have to write about yourself, whether it’s the bio paragraph about your life as a writer for your query letter or what I’m working on right now: An “About the Author” section to put at the end of an e-book for all your lovely readers.
It can be surprisingly hard to talk about yourself and your accomplishments. I’m going to use this opportunity to test out a few paragraphs and prove how different they can be, and that there are literally no rules when it comes to “About the Author” (because there are rules for query letters, sadly).
Bio 1: Charlotte Blackwood aka Mistress of Dark Emotion is a fearsome new voice in the published writing world. When she is not writing so epically that it breaks her readers’ heartstrings, she likes re-reading Harry Potter, going over Hunger Games strategies, drafting marriage proposals to David Thewlis and Alan Rickman, and generally being awesome whilst eating fudge. This is her first novella. (NOTE: This is actually written by Natalie Cannon, my friend and lovely editor. It’s in our attempts to come up with my actual bio).
Bio 2: Charlotte Blackwood is a college student, a life-long reader of tragedy, and one of the crazy people who laughs at the end of Oedipus Rex. In her spare time she re-reads Anna Karenina, enjoys a variety of crime shows, and thinks about what she would do if she found a dead body in a variety of situations. This is her first novella.
Bio 3: Charlotte Blackwood is a life-long Tolkien aficionado, a Wheel of Time junkie, and a girl who wishes she had the hand-eye coordination for archery. When she’s not writing, she is catching up on the world of all things film related, looking up medieval naming practices, and saving her pennies for a comic book subscription. This is her first novella.
A few words of wisdom: if you care about ANYONE in the world reading something in your bio, don’t put it there, because anyone in the world could read it. Literally. Also, if you write a bio that sets you up as the ultimate fantasy author but your book is a modern murder mystery, you need to rethink your bio. Make them want to read your book, and remind them about why you’re qualified to write it. It’s okay to be silly, but if you’re a completely serious writer you might not want to include comedy. I have a hard time taking myself too seriously, so I’m probably going to use some sort of meshing of the first two bios, and although I like the third one and everything written in all three are totally true, it doesn’t suit my novella, which is a modern thriller.
Just relax, think about what you would tell a pen-pal in a first letter, or thing’s you’d say to someone you’ve just met over lunch. Describe yourself, describe what you do and even why, but it doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be scary, and when you read it aloud to friends and family they should say, “Yup, that’s you!”