How to Write an Interesting Bio Blurb

[This is a satirical article. If you want instruction on how to write a professional biography from someone  who actually cares, try this article. – The Administrators.]

One of the things an author is expected to do from time-to-time is to produce at least a short biographical blurb. These may be used for an interview, a book jacket, or even an event program in which you are a presenter. It seems a simple enough task to write a paragraph about oneself, and simpler still for a real writer.

Yet, simple though it seems, many writers have difficulty writing a bio blurb that does not have the side effect of producing heavy drowsiness. This is because most of us are boring. We write fiction (in some small part) because real life just doesn’t measure up—we feel the pressing need to create a more interesting world, even if it is imaginary.

This is why fiction writers in particular find it difficult to write a bio blurb that anyone who is not closely related to them might actually read. For some reason we leave our fiction-writer tools at the doorstep when it comes to writing a bio blurb and always write something like this:

Author Stephen Hise has worked in emergency medical services administration for many years. His background is in technical writing, including regulations, policies, procedures, and medical protocols. The novel “Upgrade” is his first foray into fiction writing. Though born and raised in the Midwest, he currently lives in Arizona.

I don’t know if you managed to make it to the end of that singularly dull paragraph. If you did, I imagine your brain probably translated it into this:

Author Stephen Hise worked as a pointy-headed bureaucrat and Blah Blah Blah for many years. His Blah Blah Blah is in Blah, including Blah Blah and Blah. He wrote some book . . . and something about “Raising Arizona.”

Sure, you can spruce that up a bit with some artistic license and industry buzzwords, but let’s face it, everyone has already broken that code:

Award-winning =  Owns “Greatest Dad in the World” coffee mug.

Highly acclaimed book = His mom didn’t actually read it, but gave him five stars on Amazon.

Bestselling = Briefly ranked in the top 10 of the category “books by this author.”

What to do? My operational theory is that if you can’t make yourself sound remotely interesting, how can you expect anyone to find your book interesting? So, since your book is a work of fiction, why shouldn’t your life be?  With this in mind, here is my new bio blurb:

Author Stephen Hise is also an accomplished inventor, holding the patents to over seventy inventions, including thong-cut adult incontinence undergarments and a safe saline-based ‘no more tears’  pepper spray. In his former career as an assassin for the U.S. Forestry Service and semi-regular television game-show host, Stephen was inspired to write adventures based loosely on imaginary people and events.

See? Now, that has some cachet. If you dare call yourself a fiction writer, I say you can do it too. Put your new and improved bio blurb in the comments below and show me what you’ve got!

Author: Stephen Hise

Stephen Hise is the Evil Mastermind and founder of Indies Unlimited. Hise is an independent author and an avid supporter of the indie author movement. Learn more about Stephen at his website or his Amazon author page.

56 thoughts on “How to Write an Interesting Bio Blurb”

  1. OMG, what a great photo you found to go with this piece!

    Do you think "former stripper" would be taking it a bit too far?

    I've decided not to enter expensive contests because really, who cares? "Pulitzer Prize Winning author" doesn't seem to ring the chimes of readers in this era of no respect.

    Nitwits who can't write a coherent sentence don't hesitate to put a one star review on either Goodreads or Amazon, when they clearly didn't understand the book they just read.

  2. How about: K. S. Brooks is an actress, singer, presidential campaign manager for Mr. Pish, former model, x-rated topiary designer for the stars, and award-winning photographer and author who fell into bad company. The only way to win her freedom was by agreeing to become Co-Administrator at Indies Unlimited.

  3. Trouble with being a non-fiction writer who does mad stuff in order to write about it is that my actual bio reads like fiction anyway. Carolyn has been a paramedic, psychologist, proofreader and patisseur…and several other things not beginning with P. She is a failed stand-up, erstwhile trucker and has faced down a knife-wielding murderer in her kitchen. She maintains that cake-decorating competitions were more frightening. She one made a rabble-rousing speech in the House of Commons from notes on the back of a grubby envelope, which she keeps as a souvenir.

        1. I'm going to say you should worry if you were the sort of person who worries about such things, but it does not appear you are. Somehow, that worries me a bit.

  4. Mr. Corbet, also known as Killer Bee, writes from his under the sea cave in the Inland Empire. His success as a Merchant selling Pearls to Swine lead him to write his autobiography "Pearls to Swine" which revolutionized the marketing industry making him the most sought after international speaker, ever! After spending one too many years on the speaking circuit he retired to write his second autobiography where he promised to simultaneously solve the world energy crisis and fresh water for drinking conundrum. So on his twenty fifth birthday he left the world behind and went in search of a solution. That is when he discovered his cave under the sea. He spends his days talking to the fishes about energy and fresh water and his nights writing e-cards for various websites to fund his continual research. His much anticipated third autobiography, "What the Fish Said" is set to hit the shelves in May.

  5. Krista Tibbs is a pointy-headed bureaucrat whose first bio apparently sucked bogwater. She plans to embrace her diagnosis as a pathological liar with an excess of white matter, which will make her better qualified to write bios in the future.

  6. The Other Stephen King is a pointy-headed Dean who, after spending most of his life being asked if he's the real Stephen King, now works hard to make sure there's a connection between Dean and other four-letter words. His original bio sucked pool balls through a Frosty straw, so he spruced it up a little by adding some fairly pathetic jokes. Then he wrote one even worse, and that's what you're reading now.

  7. Fatally attracted to low-paying work, David actually died in 2003 but nobody told him. Somewhat counterintuitively, death appears to have improved his writing, if not his ability to find paid employment.

        1. Failure to submit a post on schedule because of death requires a two week notice – and also, please remember to put a cover sheet on your TPS report from now on. Did you get a copy of that memo? I'll see that you get another one.

  8. Yeah, I struggle with bios. I can never quite take them seriously. So they either end up dull or just silly. It's not as if there aren't any interesting snippets in my backstory I could draw upon. For instance, bet you didn't know I'm an expert on anthrax. Neither did I, but I was interveiwed on radio in such a capacity. All because I wrote a short article for a local history mag about an old industrial hazard for woolsorters. Funny how our writing can sometimes come back to bite us when we least expect it.

  9. You might know me as one of those "Walton"s, writing under the name of Hopkins, because I am incognito sent to Alaska with credit card to live so people won't know that I am a quite successful erotica fiction writer who also played the part of Elizabeth Walton on The Walton's and also the granddaughter of Sam Walton of Walmart and Sam's Club fame.

    How does that one work for you, Stephen?

  10. Recently I took out a life insurance policy but I told my daughter I didn't want a funeral just to cremate me and throw a party instead. My daughter asked me what my favorite drink was.

  11. M.M. Brownlow spends the majority of her time "rescuing" rare antiquities from the Middle East and North African countries. She makes a good deal of money selling her finds under the table to shady individuals on the black market, and finds writing fantasy adventures a calming way to touch base with reality.

  12. Nancy Lee Parish, former matriarch of a tenting community, was appointed "Supreme Ruler" of all Canada Geese. Fiercely protected by her loyal followers, she was often heard asking the perplexing question, "Are we out of bread again?"

    Now her endeavors include granting life or death at whim to the likes of dragons, bossy dachshunds and the occasional annoying bad guy.

    Although the geese play a lesser role these days, they remain in the wings, so to speak, ready to protect their Supreme Ruler if need be.

  13. Laurie Boris, code name Hourglass, is fluent in sarcasm, Inuit, six kinds of martial arts, and can kill a man with her right pinkie and one good, hard stare. Her line of recycled neoprene body armor has won her top honors from Mossad and Greenpeace. She lives in a private, high-tech lair carved into a mountainside in Patagonia with a squadron of battle-ready, radioactive penguins. Currently under house arrest for fomenting unrest among the normally peaceful harbor seals, She was reportedly last seen at a screening of Breaking Dawn, accompanied by an unidentified, rather pale gentleman. Her Pulitzer for her incomprehensible yet well-reviewed memoir, Stripping for the Lord, was accepted in absentia by a short man in a tuxedo, smelling vaguely of fish.

  14. I’m an egomaniac with an inferiority complex constantly seeking humility… a life long battle that coincides with my daily reprieve from addiction contingent upon my spiritual condition. I do not take myself too seriously, on a good day anyways.

    That's what I put on Amazon, is that too whacked?

  15. Former professional dog-sitter and expert in how to get into be with 3 Yorkshire terriers and still keep part of the bed for yourself. She is about to publish a book on how to survive in a household with these wee critters and still keep your sanity. Also expert on said critters that take seizures and will be putting together an instruction booklet about that subject, too. Award-winning author of the story about these terrors called "Three Little Scallywags". You can read that for free on her web site. Her advice to anyone who is contemplating purchasing more than one of these as pets: Don't.

  16. Here ya go:

    Jim Devitt, the inventor of The Card, has seen unbridled success in many uses of Cards. From identification … to currency … and collectibles, The Card has become the most amazing invention in history. Mr. Devitt attributes his success with The Card to being a card himself. In his spare time, the reputed Card shark can be found playing Cards. He currently resides on Card Sound Road, Key Largo Florida, in a house of Cards.

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