ANATOMY OF AN AUTHOR BIO



I happen to love reading author Bios and find myself envying those that lean into being quirky. My boilerplate Bio for the past few years is so-so, with one clever line about snakes, but it's not particularly catchy. Because I write a cozy mystery series with humor, murder, and other assorted social maladies, I always wanted my author Bio to reflect my style of writing. (BTW—I am actively querying, just in case the random, perfect-match for me agent happens to be reading this.) Sorry, back to it.

I was reading an article in a recent
Funds For Writers newsletter. In it, author, C. Hope Clark wrote about the problem of having to write an author’s Bio. She suggested asking friends and family for childhood quirks or funny memories. That triggered some funny, and COMPLETELY TRUE facts about my childhood and career that I thought might make for a catchier, quirkier Bio. Here is my rewrite:

Liz Boeger’s stint as a bikini model peaked in kindergarten. Her fallback career as a mystery author didn’t surface until she hit the mid-century mark. In between, she wrangled children, adults, and the occasional Florida panther, coral snake, and alligator as a teacher and school administrator. Don’t ask her about her work with the U.S. Secret Service, she’s sworn herself to secrecy.


A version of this new bio was originally shared with my sister GUPPIES in a private online writing group three weeks ago. It was so well received, I felt suddenly daring and avant-garde! Then life intervened and it was back to my day to day and surfing Twitter. Yesterday, Liz Lawson @lzLwsn tweeted the following:

I really wish successful people's bios would read less like a list of their accomplishments & more like a story of how they got where they are today; the path they took to get from here to there I think it would demystify success & allow people to see all the hard work it takes.

So, of course, after promising some of my GUPPY sisters that I would use my new quirky Bio at least one time, I posted my new Bio as a reply to @LzLwsn. Since then, my Bio has had close to 30 likes, generated at least a dozen new followers, and had over 1,800 views (and counting).

She replied to me asking if the info about the Secret Service in my Bio was true. Yes, all true. Now, here is the breakdown:

Runway model. True. I was in kindergarten, blond bob, Florida outdoor-kid tan, longish legs, and I wore a beachy bikini-ish top with matching shorts or similar. My first and last bikini. It was a charity show held at Maas Brothers. Back in the day Tampa folks know that was a swanky gig.

Wrangling Various Creatures. True. I’ve been a teacher and school administrator for over twenty-five years. In addition to the wonderful kids and adults, I’ve encountered snakes, alligators, drove in an SUV atop a multi-story gypsum (bi-product of phosphate production) stack, climbed a multi-story open-air chemical production facility that required access to and training on using an emergency respirator system (just in case, you know, Armageddon), investigated prison contraband, learned to dispense various emergency meds, trained in emergency lockdown protocols for when it is not a drill, evacuated a school bus during a tornado threat, and rode shotgun in a van with a caged Florida panther breathing down my neck (thank God for thick-gauged mesh screens). And those are just the events I'm comfortable sharing.

Writer at age Fifty. True. It started with an actual dream of the perfect cozy mystery opening scene and morphed into a full plot during a Spring Break planning session. I blame my reading habit— the standard teacher fall guy. While I am not yet published, I consider myself an author rather than a writer, because I have two completed books in my mystery series. The first won an RPLA in 2015. Points-of-Pride.

U.S. Secret Service. True. It happened while I was a school administrator. And again, I’ve sworn myself to secrecy, at least until the story finds a loose version of itself in one of my plots.

To her credit, @LzLwsn’s post and reposts of replies has generated a lot of traffic in the form of a slew of heart-felt and beautiful Bios from many authors. Thanks, Ms. Lawson!  Which, of course leads to a question for my readers. Have you considered rewriting your Bio? Mine matches the tone of my books. I suggest you consider that as well. I’d love to hear from you. Be Well!

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