Query: “Do you want to know about me?”

The answer is yes, I absolutely want to know about you. I love pithy bios because it tells me a bit about the person behind the words. I don’t care if you’re the president of your dart club unless your book is about darts. It’s nice if you quilt doggie slippers for rescued beagles [and I know of one who would elect you for sainthood]. But if your book is about a homicidal gardner who kills dandelions with impunity, the bootie facts aren’t important to me because I’m looking for a link between you and your book.

I haven’t encountered many authors who sit down to write a book simply because the idea popped into their head one day. There is usually a reason behind the birth of a particular story. That is what I want to hear about. If you are previously published, I want to hear about that, too. If you’re vanity or POD published, leave that information out because – snobby or not – very few editors and agents view this as a viable publication credit.

Where Do I Put My Bio?

At the end of your query. Please. I see any number of query letters where the author leads off with their bio, and this is plain wrong. Think about what you’re selling; you or your story? You could be the Queen of Sheba and still write a lousy book. Your bio doesn’t cinch the deal in a query. It’s always about the work. I’ve had queries from some very big names, but their story was virtually unmarketable. When an author leads with their bio, it makes me wonder if this is where they put their primary importance.

Don’t confuse your bio for your story. It’s true that a big bio opens doors. And, somewhat unfairly, it may get the book published. But that bio will not shield the author from scathing reviews and tepid sales. It boils down to the story.

Since you’re trying to sell your story, that is where you need to concentrate your focus. Trust me; we’ll get to the end of the query, so don’t panic.

Also, please don’t tell me the PAGE COUNT of your work. This tells me nothing because I don’t know if these are single spaced sentences, Comic Sans, 10 point, or what. We need your WORD COUNT. 118,000 words tells me something.

So, please, do tell me a little bit about yourself, but keep in mind that I like to know why you are the best person to have written your work and the impetus behind why you wrote it.

Happy writing. Which, on this lovely Sunday is exactly what I’m going to do. The beagle can walk herself today.

8 Responses to Query: “Do you want to know about me?”

  1. Liana Brooks says:

    You realize I will have to now go back and figure out what a military SFR book has to do with my life, don’t you? Unless I’m allowed to include “I like reading about real life spies and double-agents” in my biography.

  2. Just think about why you wrote the book, Liana. What circumstances ignited the fire? Sometimes it’s as simple as talking in a bar – which we do a lot at writer’s conferences. Let’s use an example:

    “I wrote Stale Twinkies and Drunk Beagles because I think readers have this grand idea that an editor’s life is filled with lattes, expense account lunches, glitz and glamor. Nothing could be further from the truth, and I thought it would be interesting to write about the realities and inanities that take place in the office of an editor of a small commercial publishing company.”

    Pretend you are the author who wrote this bio. You aren’t an editor of a publishing company but instead, you’re a stay at home mom. Eeek! You have no real bio, do you? Think back on why you wrote the story. What was your impetus to write this story?

    Maybe you have a friend who’s an editor of a publishing company and she talks about her insane life, and this propelled you to interview other editors. Maybe this is fiction or nonfiction.

    My point is that even though you are a stay at home mom, your editor friend was the catalyst behind the idea of your book. This becomes the background of your bio – why you wrote the book. I don’t care that you’re a stay at home mom, I want to know why you wrote the book. Does this help?

    Stale Twinkies and Drunk Beagles. Hmmm…gives me an idea…

  3. […] Include a brief biography, containing any relevant information such as previously published titles. I would also suggest you add information regarding your web presence. I absolutely want to know about you. I love pithy bios because it tells me a bit about the person behind the words. I don’t care if you’re the president of your dart club unless your book is about darts. Behler Publications […]

  4. […] Include a brief biography, containing any relevant information such as previously published titles. I would also suggest you add information regarding your web presence. I absolutely want to know about you. I love pithy bios because it tells me a bit about the person behind the words. I don’t care if you’re the president of your dart club unless your book is about darts. Behler Publications […]

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