Hi! My Name’s . . .

I was talking with a colleague the other day about author bios, and, tangentially, the purpose that such exercises in sentence structure is supposed to accomplish.

I thought that there was a place, and an audience for, a breezier, flirtatious bio, like this one. My colleague felt that an author should maintain some distance, perhaps some dignity, in order to be taken seriously by potential readers, and was arguing in favor of something along the lines of this:

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller live in the rolling hills of Central Maine with three insistent muses in the form of cats, and a large cast of characters. Best known for their work in the Liaden Universe®, Lee and Miller have seen published seventeen collaborative novels. Baen Books is currently releasing all of the Liaden novels in several omnibus volumes. The next original Liaden novel, Ghost Ship, will be published in August 2011.

For more information about the Liaden Universe®, see http://www.sharonleewriter.com

So, what do you think? Should a writer keep their distance and their mystique in a bio? Does a playful tone make you doubt the author’s craft? Tell all! Inquiring minds want to know!

5 thoughts on “Hi! My Name’s . . .”

  1. I agree with becca! I think if you’re doing a professional presentation you might want to be more formal, but as a reader I’m more inclined to pick up an author’s work if I sense they share my core values, including humor.

  2. Your books were so highly recommended on the Ilona Andrews blog today that I popped over here to see what is what. I too appreciate the more casual tone. I love John Sandford’s books but have you ever read the back? The tone is sort of like, “don’t contact me, don’t bug me, leave me alone”. Not sure I would like him in person 😀

  3. It is one of those questions designed surely more for the sake of debate than for settling a dispute. If you can not or will not be accessible to your readers/potential readers, the “hands off” type is what you want. If, on the other hand, you’re not writing *nose in the air haughtily* Literature, but fun things for (potential) friends to enjoy, why not have fun with it. Even the one listed in the body of the post is relatively friendly. Someone with real social contact phobia would read more “This author has completed a normal education and job process. He/she has written X books.” Frankly, unless it was a text book, I would be inclined to put that book back on the shelf. I’d look further (assuming I hadn’t already been introduced to your work) at a book with either of your suggested bios.

  4. My favorite authors use a breezy style. I recall Ane McCaffrey’s Bio well: “green eyes, silver hair and freckles … all else changes without notice.” Also that she lives in Dragonhold.

    Dignity? Bah. What you want is to be memorable.

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