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Thread: Author's Bio

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Author's Bio

    Personally, I have virtually no experience or qualifications that I can put in my query letter. All I have is the following:

    For the past several years, I have been writing newspaper articles and letters in the finance industry for a Fortune 500 company. If you would be interested in discussing this manuscript further, please feel free to contact me at your earliest convenience.

    Does anyone know of anything else I can add? Additionally, the finance writing really doesn't apply to my book, but as I said, that's really all I can offer.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2010

    If you've been a professional writer for five years, this is an important credit even if you were a business reporter and have written a romance.

    But I question your statements about what you've been writing for the last five years. I doubt you've written "newspaper articles" for a Fortune 500 company. Reporters don't speak "company." They speak newspaper names. You've written ad copy? PR releases? If so, don't play fast and loose with the truth. You come across as ignorant at best and disingenuous at worse. An article is not a an ad. Just because reporters make an article of quoting verbatim does not mean you wrote the article; it means the reporter was lazy. Maybe I'm out of the loop and most folks get an image beyond a secretary taking dictation from "letters in the financial industry," but that's all that phrase does for me. Check and make sure that most folks think this phrase enhances your credibility. I've been a full-time newspaper reporter and would never think to write that part of my job entailed writing letters of any sort. Another reason that I doubt you've been newspaper articles.

    So sort out what you actually have written for the last five years AND THEN figure out how to use that to work for the impression you need for the sort of book you've written. You didn't give us any clues. You just said that finance writing has nothing to do with it. Probably entirely untrue. Probably a lack of insight and imagination. Figure out how it's true if you want to link whatever writing experience you have with your manuscript. Find the connections. Research? Knowledge base? Antithesis of the day job? Whatever, but link your published stuff (the real deal) with your unpublished stuff.

    You can link hobbies, experiences, anything...just don't pretend. Figure out what really ties your work and experience with your manuscript and gives the agent relevant honesty.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Diane Theron's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Thomas, to be honest I know nothing about doing a great bio - and many of us have not yet been published so are in the same boat. I have searched the internet to find successful QL from first time authors and am still stumped.

    But I just read your query letter and loved the concept - I would hate that a great agent would pass you by just on the merit that you don't have professional writing experience. So here is my 5c.

    I would use the fact that you are in the finance industry for a Fortune 500 company and that part of your responsibilities is communications. (the agent should know by this that it covers press releases and such)
    While writing your novel - what active research did you do - ride a long with cops? talk to a drug trafficer? did a medical person in the "know" suggest that a drug of this magnitude is on the horizon? IMO an agent may overlook the lack of "qualification" (if you can qualify why you qualify to write what you wrote!)

    Hope that something there is helpful - I did get carried away with the qualify lol! Keep us posted - would love to know the eventual outcome.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    There are two kinds of personal information that are valuable inclusions in a Q letter:

    1. Genuine publishing credits or awards.
    2. Description of expertise in a specific area.

    Regarding number one, if you don't have publishing credits - and I mean real publishing, not a letter to the editor of a newspaper or magazine, but articles with bylines or previous book publication - then you don't put anything at all. Nothing. And that's fine. If your Q letter is strong, it won't matter. Not every Q letter needs a personal bio section. If you don't have the stuff, don't say anything.

    So, if this is true: I have been writing newspaper articles and letters in the finance industry for a Fortune 500 company, then tell them the name of the newspapers you've been published in. And, again, ARTICLES WITH A BYLINE. Not letters to the editor. Your current statement, as CK correctly points out, is dodgy. If you've got the goods, be specific. If not, don't fake it. All you're going to do is give the agent a good laugh.

    Also, if you have participated in a major writing competition and won, that's a good thing to mention. "I won first place in the _____ ." But it has to be a respectable competition. Not, "My dad told me I'm the best writer he's ever seen." And, believe me, people actually do include stuff like that. And you don't want to mention the trophy you won in the sixth grade when you're fifty years old. It has to be recent.

    Second, if you have real expertise in the area you're writing about, you can include it. For example, if you're writing about how to land a plane in the Potomac River, and you're an airplane pilot, it's worth mentioning. If you're writing about to to land a plane in the Potomac River and you're an airline passenger, it probably isn't worth mentioning, unless you're making that story part of a larger autobiography or memoir.

    It is better not to include any information at all than to put in weak credentials. Just leave it out and make the rest of your letter as strong as you can make it. I promise you, lack of credentials will not hold you back. A bad letter will.
    Last edited by leslee; 04-29-2011 at 12:59 PM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Thanks everyone, I'll see what I can do for the bio section of my Query.

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