While googling my name to see if I ousted famous rodeo star of his search engine slots I ran across an ad for a dating service in my hometown. On it were three pictures of local singles wanting to hook up with local lurkers lookers.
One pic was of a handsome guy dressed in fancy duds and was likely taken at his BFF’s wedding. The only problem? His left side was cut off at the elbow and a feminine arm circled his waist. Yep, Dating Genius’s pick-up picture had another woman in it. Barely, but still…
In my writing world, the pick-up picture is our query letter. It’s our first, and sometimes only, chance we get to land a first date.
We should look good–polished and captivating. Hot in our tux with our hair styled just right and a crooked grin that makes our whole face light up.
It’s easy to spiff up our pitch (though some might disagree), and it’s a snap to provide details–42k word, YA paranormal romance titled You Know You Wanna Read Me.
But sometimes we get tripped up by our bios. We forget to photo shop our pictures and leave in little details that usually turn off potential dates.
Biography Paragraph Traps
We’re too handsome for words: My grandmother says it’s the best book she’s ever read. Ever. And Granny is the most honest person I know.
We’re drooling like a black lab after pheasant scent: I just wrote the end yesterday and I just know you’ll love it as much as I do, so please read it today and I’ll get back to you tomorrow, oops, that’s me calling now. TTFN.
We’re Freud’s couch patients: I would be eternally thankful if you would just humble yourself enough to read my lowly book which you probably won’t like anyway because it’s been rejected by every other agent in the world. But here it is. If you’re still interested.
We have bigger egos than Arnold Schwarzenegger has biceps: Listen here, Mr. Agent, this is the best book you will ever read. If you pass on it, you’re missing out on millions. Millions, I say. And I won’t be back.
We put the proverbial sock in our trousers so we look better than we actually are: My poem, Willy the Worm, was published in our fourth grade keepsake book from Mrs. Robbins. I also wrote a letter to the editor of our local farm newspaper about the gestation period of elephants. Please consider my murder mystery which has no poetry, worms or elephants in it.
We have the Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon Syndrome: My best friend’s, cousin’s, uncle’s dog was trained at the same facility as the dog owned by the next door neighbor of Suzanne Collins’ pool boy. (Not that Suzanne even has a pool boy, but if she did, how cool would that be? For me, not the agent.)
We’re hopelessly all brawn and no brain: Dude, call me.
We could play the leading role in a Stephen King movie: I noticed by the book on your nightstand that you like middle grade fiction. And since your bathroom had an African theme, I can only assume that you will love my book which is set in the Serengeti. Oh yeah, and all those old pictures in the photo albums beside your 60″ tv, the ones with your great grandma beside the horse? Yeah, my novel has an old lady in it too. And might I add that you looked hot at your sweet sixteen? Anyway, for your convenience, I left my entire manuscript on your kitchen counter beside the fresh-baked cinnamon rolls (your favorite) and a pot of hazelnut coffee. PS. I locked the door on my way out.
My advice to you is this: introduce yourself, simply and honestly with relevant information only.
I’m an SCBWI member. My article, “Into the Wild” was published in Boy’s Life (July 2010). For the past seventeen years I have worked as a guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Each summer we take at-risk kids on a two-week trip where they can learn life skills and gain self-esteem. These experiences are the basis for my adventure novel, Tales of a Teenage Screw Up.
I look forward to hearing from you,
Bob Good Bio
What other bad bio mistakes can writers fall victim to? If you’re brave enough to answer, have you every made any of the above? I have!