The most difficult piece of writing I ever do is the dreaded Author Bio. Every book demands one and they never get easier to do. Perhaps if I had a long list of prestigious accomplishments or exciting exploits, I might find something interesting to say. As it is, it is hard to make a plain scoop of vanilla seem attractive.
This seems to be a common thread with the writers I know. I honestly don’t think the difficulty stems from authors having trouble talking about themselves. Ask me about where get my ideas for stories or how/why I wrote a particular story or blog post and I will rattle on until asked to stop. Ask me about the places I’ve been—the same result.
The problem with author bios is wanting the author to sound as interesting as the book. Hopefully, that never happens to me. Comparing myself and my life to that of my protagonist always leaves me feeling flat, as well it should. In my case, imagination far exceeds everyday reality.
A good friend recently asked me to write an autobiography. After giving the fair warning that reading it could result in her being bored to death, I actually undertook the project. Strangely, it was easier to do than the few sentences required for an author bio. I suppose that is because there was no pressure to sound interesting, nor was the potential sale of a book at stake.
Stranger still, was that my friend not only survived but read the book without putting it down. Who knew? The things people will read is amazing. I should not be surprised. I grew up reading cereal boxes.
I still cling firmly to the belief that my bio is not worth the paper it’s printed upon. So, for the last few prerequisite author bios I have tried to talk about what reading books and fiction means to me rather than try to tell people to read a book because I wrote it. I have found this infinitely easier and personally more satisfying.
I think most authors will tell you that despite interest people show in us that readers are the most fascinating people in the world. I know that I am always thrilled to meet a reader.