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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sumo Wrestlers, Fishnet Unitards, and Author Biographies



Here’s the email I got from the marketing department:

"Hi Steve, Could you send me a short paragraph about yourself for the website? Thanks"

It seems like a simple request for an author biography, right? Wrong! You have to look closer, and maybe squint your right eye. Being one who’s trained in the art of subtlty, I see through the pretense in that sentence as easily as I see though a fishnet unitard on a sumo wrestler *shivers at memory*. Do you want me to tell you what it really says? Ahem:

"Steve, I sure hope you’ve lived a remarkable life so far. We’re going to need a paragraph about you for the website, something that makes you seem likable; not just to readers, but also by subsidiary rights agents considering your books for other markets. Make it interesting! Oh, and since I’m only asking for a paragraph I expect it by the end of the day or I’ll consider you a genuine HACK. Tick tock, tick tock, sucker!"

Needless to say, by the forty-third draft I’d broken into a cold sweat, started to hear voices and could smell the distinct aroma of burnt toast. Which brings me to my current state, and my plea to you, dear blog reader. I need your help. Here’s what I’m thinking. We use this page and comments section below to draft the worst author biographies you can think of. That way, when “Author bio” is Googled the search results will be so muddied by nonsense that my real bio will look like a bedazzled piece of Gold-pressed Latinum. It can be a bio you might see in a book, or one that might be in a newspaper. It can be a sentence or a paragraph. It doesn’t matter.

Making stuff up is what I do, so I’ll start:

McSweedy Von Flanagan the Third is the author of several brilliant literary works, the most notable of which being, The End Is Near! A story distributed in spoken word by this team of homeless doomsday prophets. An amateur archaeologist, and self proclaimed aficionado of everything really old, Von Flanagan has etched his newest book, I’m Not Crazy, You Are, into clay tablets using only Sumerian hieroglyphs and the letter Q. Asked about his unorthodox approach to publishing, Von Flanagan said, “I’m a genius. If people want to read my books they should have to translate them. They’ll appreciate them more.”  
Okay. You’re up. Don’t let me down!

23 comments:

K. Turley (Clutzattack) said...

Here, I'll let you poke fun at the blurb I send every time an agent asks for an author bio:

I have an Associate’s degree in Fashion Design, and have been one of the youngest drivers ever to hold a commercial driver’s license. When I am not driving buses or writing, I enjoy eating Jell-O, buying high-heeled shoes, and beating my husband’s top scores on Mario Kart Wii. I am a slave to one feline captor and my internet connection. Someday I hope to bowl a score over 125.

Ellen said...

LOL. that's an awesome blurb! I think you should go with that one. seriously :D

here's the one I always send to agents when they ask for it:

Ellen Goodlett writes because otherwise she would spend her days plotting to take over the world. She figures that the former would benefit humanity ever so slightly more than the latter (which would be disastrous and involve a lot of cats in government positions). She lives in a town-that’s-close-enough-to-count-as-New-York-City while she saves up spare pocket change to buy her dream house: a German castle on the Rhine. Or a tent on the beach in Hawaii. Whichever comes first.

spiderboy said...

Willy Xavier Yillstrom, whose friends call him “Z” for obvious reasons, is the author of children’s books with a twist. His newest book, The Five Second Rule And Why It Applies to Road Kill, has sold over two copies to illiterate children around the world. Z has won over a 100 literary awards, every one of them lovingly created by his mother. We wanted to interview this 45 year old protegee by his mom said it was his bedtime and he couldn't come out.

Ben Sloan said...

Rupert P. Pottlecroft is a world renowned intellectual who has an MFA from Prestigious University, a Phd from The Other Prestigious University, and a filthy rich father. He has dined with many famous people, and even a few politicians. Old Famous Author calls him "brilliant," and he is so successful he gets to be mean to everybody (even other famous people). Wealthy Friend of His Father is currently set to produce a film based on his autobiography, "Drunk, Rich, and Better Than You," starring Famous Actor. He lives with his genetically perfect wife in London, Paris, and New York City.

S.B.Niccum said...

Ha,ha,ha...those are great! I kept mine short, just to build up the mystery.
S.B. Niccum
Author Website
Blog

Marty said...

I love these!!! that's how all auther bios should be written.

I'll try to come up with something and come back and post. Until then I'll just sit back and laugh at all the people funnier than me! thank you for the laugh.

Will G said...

Really good idea for a blog post. I wish I thought of it! I know that Dean Koontz writes under several pen names and he usually tries to make them pretty funny. One of his pen names is even named after his dog. Really great blog you have here.

Libary girl said...

I am not nearly as funny as you guys. But I thought this was such a funny blog! I'm going to start my own blog soon and I hope I can get as many fun followers as you have. Maybe I can post again when I have my blog up and running? would that be ok?

Paul Joseph said...

Paul Joseph began writing on a rainy August afternoon on a laptop made by Gateway. Despite never finishing a book, he spends his days at the keyboard portraying the persona he is creating something meaningful. When not carrying out this facade, Paul enjoys interacting with his three facebook friends and retweeting useless knowledge to avoid composing original material. He takes his coffee with skim milk and Splenda.

April said...

Wow...you guys are so funny! I'm not nearly as witty. But I'll give it a shot for fun.

April is the author of women's fiction. She's an expert in diagnosing women's problems and droning endlessly about any subject, much to her husband's dismay. Her first book I Want My Cake, I Want to Eat It, and Then I Want Yours won an award for the longest title featuring food. She currently resides in the D.C. area with her husband, daughter, and a hamster who doesn't know what a clean cage looks like. During the day, she pretends to work a government job, and during the summer, she enjoys trying to kill all the plants and flowers on her property with her black thumb. Her most recent book Dare You to Love Me as Much as I Love Myself is sure to thrill the spider veins right out of any woman's legs.

__________

That sucked, but I tried!

Nina Powers said...

Stewart Stuart was raised in an igloo not far from Santa's workshop. He spent his younger years etching his stories into flat sheets of ice. One stormy winter night, he gave shelter to an old man who was exhausted from trekking through the snow. The man gave Stewart Stuart a pencil and a book of blank pages in gratitude for his hospitality. It was from this gift that Stewart Stuart produced his brilliant piece, "How to Kill a Seal When a Nearby Polar Bear is Clipping his Toenails"

Alex Adams said...

This couldn't BE more timely since I'm having to do something similar. So, here goes:

Alex Adams strolled out of the womb with a book in hand, which made for some interesting ultrasounds and paper-cuts. At the age of seven she penned the OMG WTF Award for her novella HOW TO TURN FLIES INTO WALKS. Alex suffers from a genetic aversion to writing truthful biographies. For this, she takes two cookies every hour with coffee. She lives on a dessert island with a very large spoon.

Steven Whibley said...

Great bio's, guys. Thanks for giving it a go. I am worried about a few of you though ;)

Stacy Coles said...

Love the writing. Funny. Entertaining. Good luck on the bio!

Lisa Gail Green said...

ROFL!! I LOVE it!! That's a great bio. They are hard to write, but you know, I think the summary and synopsis are worse.

Steven Whibley said...

@ Stacy - thanks. I ended up sending in three versions. Might have been overkill. Well see if they liked any of them ;)

@Lisa - Arg, summaries and Synopsis' are killer. Sometimes I feel like those are harder than the actual novel.

Thanks for all the comments guys! Much appreciated.

Jolene Perry said...

Yeah... ask me to make something up and I'm good, ask me to write something REAL, and I'm lost.

It is WAY too early in the morning for me to come up with something clever, but the ones I read here were awesome!!

Also - LOVE, LOVE Victoria, BC, only ever gone there by boat, but it is SO beautiful!

Caitlin said...

Hahaha all of these are great, I've been giggling like crazy. Here's a go.

Caitlin Lane is the world renowned inventor of the rubber band square, a one-up to the rubber band ball. When writing her breakout novel, "Cooking with Wine: How to Get Drunk and Crunk at the Same Time", she slapped each key with a rubber band, which went into her square. A self-taught zoologist she spends her free time crocheting sweaters for reptiles.

LynNerd said...

Nice to meet you, Steven. I love your humor and love all these hilarious comments. It's getting late and my brain isn't really cooperating, and who can compete with all the comedians who commented here. I'll make a very feeble attempt:

Eileen Yurway - IQ of 195. Her mind wanders endlessly, and she goes along. Huh? Say what?

Heather said...

Awesome!!!!!! I'm dealing with the same thing right now where I'm asked for a bio... and thats it. Everything rests on it, and I get a 7 word sentence about it tops. I sent two write-ups myself, an what do you know? They wanna use the funny one instead of the real one. Not sure whether to be proud of my ridiculous wit, or upset that my real life is so obviously pathetic. Good luck Steven! Hope they pick the real one... ;-)

Heather said...

ps: I do realize this post is beyond over, but I loved it when I read it... and wanted so badly to be part of it! (le sigh...)

Steven Whibley said...

@Heather - Posts are never over ;) I like funny author biographies, I'm just hoping they use one of mine and don't say, "After seeing what you came up with, we've decided to just leave the biography out."

Thanks for commenting.

B.C. Brown said...

I might be a little late to the party but I stumbled onto your site through Google and couldn't resist. What follows was my attempt to be goofy during a bio that people loved. So I kept it. lol

"B.C. Brown was born with six fingers on each hand endowing her with super powers, thus enabling her to fight crime. When a freak Cuisinart accident severed the additional digits and her powers, B.C. was forced to fall back on her secondary talent -writing. Now she lives between the pages of a book - whether she has written it or not. Since she has not found the surgeon to restore her fingers and powers, she has published three novels to date and contributed to one anthology. She enjoys writing mystery, paranormal romance, science fiction and fantasy but is always in the mood for a challenge to branch out. You can follow her crime fighting or writing at twitter or facebook or Goodreads."

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