An Author's Bio

For book submissions requirements, I need to provide an author's bio. I've put this off for too long. I should have written it before I published the book and included it on one of the back pages. Because I've never written one before, I did research. If I didn't, my bio would read something like this:

Carrie Olguin lives like magical wallpaper, working hard to compliment the furniture. She writes from the safety of her home office because she's shy and it's a great place to hide. Though she's been writing both fiction and non-fiction all of her life, she's too uncertain about her writing ability to rely on large scale professional publishing. However, when she needed to find a way to pay for her favorite hobby, she wrote and self-published pattern and reference books for the model horse hobby, a very small niche market. Since life is slipping by quickly, she decided to finally write The Tool series of novels, a concept that has been developing in her head since collage. She has absolutely no institutional education to support her qualifications to write science fiction, except for the fact that she loves science, technology and the fiction genres and wishes more of the books and shows she likes had romantic elements.

Would you read my book if you read that? I'd feel sorry for me, so it would be a pity purchase.
Here's professional recommendations on what to include in a bio:

  • Memberships in Writing Community: - I don't belong to any Writing Communities. I don't have much free time in the evenings to go to meetings and not much in the day time either.
  • Publishing credits: - My publishing credits have nothing to do with the sci/fi genre. My credits are all non-fiction (that would be all the books and CDs I've published).
  • Awards and/or recognition for work: I don't have any awards, didn't bother to try for the non-fiction. I didn't think it mattered as long as my books were selling. The only recognition I have is in my ebay feedback. 
  • Writing-related job experience: - All of my writing related job experience are non-fiction in nature, such as the equipment documentation and training manuals I did for my last job. This would be good for my tack books, but not for fiction. 
  • Education: - I have a BA degree in Communications. I thought this was a major achievement, until my husband made a comment about the degrees professional athletes earn. He said something like: “That guy didn't earn a real degree in collage. He earned, you know he got a Communications degree, cause all he really majored in was the sport that got him the scholarship.”

Yes, I was insulted. I worked hard to earn my degree. It wasn't easy. But if what hubby said is true, or at least believed to be true by enough people, then saying I have a degree in Communications is the same thing as saying I have no degree at all.

Other guidelines to follow for writing the bio, pretty much the same advice from all the different sites:

  • Always write in the 3rd person.
  • Use your name in the first sentence, the way you want readers to remember you.
  • Opening sentence, professional not personal – make something up that sounds like you are more than you really are. Freelance writer, artist, business owner.
  • Include any writing or critique groups you belong to
  • You are your own product. Sell yourself to the readers and publishing professionals.
  • Brag. Don't be shy. Tell people what you have accomplished.
  • It's okay to be eclectic with credentials. It's okay to include non-paying publishing jobs.
  • If no writing experience, focus on expertise.
  • Always tell where you live or closet large city nearby.
  • Mentioning family members and pets makes you more real and reachable.
  • Make yourself sound interesting.
  • Write down everything then reduce to high points down to one paragraph.
So I gave it a try:

Carrie R. Olguin owns an art and book sales business in Phoenix, Arizona. She earned a degree in Communications from UCSD, an experience that inspired the concept for Tool series novels. She's married with two adopted children. She's held different technical jobs, including Network Administrator and Technical Designer for cutting edge postal system equipment. One of her favorite activities is researching cutting edge theories and technologies. She's has published 12 non-fiction books. This is her first fiction work.

I hope I don't sound boring. I'll keep you posted.


  1. Speaking as a reader, I never bother reading bio's because they're usually dry and have nothing to do with how good the story is. The only time I might be interested is if I really need expert advice on a certain topic.

    I'm always more interested in the story than the author and I suspect most people are. If I did read the author bio I'd be more likely to buy the book if the bio had some kind of fun and interesting hook to the story. Or maybe if the author had similar interests to mine. I think you're likely to get some readers from your nonfiction books, for instance.

    An author's name can become a brand. But again, it's the stories that keep them coming back. That's why general readers don't care if a big name "author" never writes their own books, but hires ghosts instead. The author just isn't as important as the story.

  2. I completely agree with you. I've never bought a book because of an author's bio. Didn't matter. That's why I put off writing one for me. I try to let the books do the talking.

    For me, as an author and reader, a bio means little to nothing. As a publisher, sales person and marketing person, I have to use the standard tools.

    As a publisher, well, I have to play by the rules and the sites I've sent books to for review made it clear that an author's bio had to be part of the packet. They ask for a hammer when there are no nails to pound. Go figure.