Writing a Timeless Author Bio

Hafwen Hostess surveys the conference classroom. She estimates about 100 conferees are there for Ava Agent’s class. At the stroke of one, Hafwen reads her introduction of Ava, which Hafwen pulled off the Internet just before leaving for the airport for the conference:

A graduate of Liberty Baptist College, award-winning Ava Agent is the author of four novels and looks forward to the release of her newest work, Why Girls Should Be Virtuous, this autumn. As an agent, Ava has sold more than 1,200 books. She has been married for ten years and is the proud mother of eight-year-old Buffy, seven-year-old Zeus, four-year-old Chaz, and one-year-old Jet. When not sky diving or creating knives in her home forge, Ava cares for the family’s menagerie of pets: Spot, Fido, Rover, Kitty, Pooch, and Muffin. Ava is also completing work on her MDiv.

As the audience claps, Hafwen smiles at Ava, who is already standing behind the podium.

“Ha ha ha!” Ava’s laugh sounds more like Santa’s rendition of “Ho ho ho!”

Hafwen feels her face flush.

“Thank you, Hafwen.” Ava surveys the attendees. “Well, I’m happy to say that my tenth novel, Virtue Is Classy, is due out later this year. I did graduate from Liberty Baptist College, but it is now known as Liberty University. And, doesn’t time fly! Buffy is off to Liberty University this fall! And I’m sorry to say, Spot and Kitty have long departed this life, although we hope to see them in Heaven one day. As for my MDiv, I finished my coursework three years ago. And I’m proud to say I have sold over 7,500 books.”

Upon hearing this, attendee Cynthia Coffee decides to pretend to have a coughing fit and departs the room, never to return.

Wow, poor Hafwen! I had no idea Ava is such a horrible person as to embarrass her in front of everyone! Delores Devout repents for thinking such a terrible thing about anyone. She decides not to keep her one-on-one appointment with Ava.

Awkward! Babbette Bored, Tilda Tired, Winnie Wired, Calista Caffeinated, Acacia Anxious, Sabina Sleepy, and Nestor Nervous want to get on with the class. Sabina and Winnie both had good appointments with Ava, but are now leaning toward working with a different agent. Maybe a meeting time might open up with Steve Laube.


Indeed, Hafwen could have prevented this awkward scene had she been vigilant about choosing a current bio. But publishing professionals – and anyone else with information about themselves posted all over the Internet – would be well advised to write bios that are as timeless as possible when they are slated to appear online because those bios appear there forever.

Of course, even the most timeless information will feel dated after a few years. Yet, a bio free of specific dates, upcoming events, and ages is a bio positioned to stand the proverbial test of time. The exception to dates would be one that never moves, such as Ima Author graduated from William and Mary in 1966.

Blunders will happen no matter how strident an author is in trying to prevent them. But it’s more fun to joke about one small error or gloss over an old fact that doesn’t matter in the scheme of things than to feel forced into correcting a cascade of outdated information.

Your turn:

Write your timeless bio and share it with us.

Just for fun: Which character in the story are you, generally, during a big conference?



Leave a Comment

Goal-Setting (and Revising)

I’m an inveterate goal-setter. From way back. I started setting yearly goals at the age of 19, maybe before. I remember that set of goals because that was the first time I formulated a “lifetime goal” to write a book. One book. I figured, how many people manage to write …

Read More

Character vs. Plot With DiAnn Mills

Here are the show notes for the most recent episode of the Christian Publishing Show. You can listen to this episode here.   Some novelists see themselves as character-first writers. Others start with the plot. Which is better? Does it depend on the genre? Could you be making a mistake …

Read More

Responding to Criticism

When someone tells me she’s not sure she wants me to read her manuscript, I know she’s not ready for publication. Such sentiment shows a lack of confidence and a fear of both rejection and criticism. Even though readers usually treat writers with respect, a critical word can puncture the heart.

Imagine the wounds delivered on Internet sites such as Amazon from readers who lack that respect. A major complaint I hear from distraught authors is that people download free Christian novels and then post hostile reviews. A cursory bit of research reveals some say they felt duped because they didn’t realize they were downloading a Christian novel. It is likely they just grabbed it because it was free and did not look at other reviews or the book’s description. These readers aren’t victims of duplicity, they were, at the very least, lazy and then blamed others when the book wasn’t to their taste. Unfortunately the temptation is for the author to strike back with a serrated reply.

Read More

The Best Ways to Submit Your Work

I started writing for publication back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The process was fairly simple then, if unpromising of success. I wrote a query, article, or book proposal, put it into an envelope along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for its return, sealed it, and mailed it. And …

Read More

The Industry Changes but Seems Unchanged

I recently came across an article I had saved from 2004 predicting “Book Trends 2005” by Sally E. Stuart in an issue of Advanced Christian Writer newsletter. Reading through the article makes one realize how different things are but also how much they are still the same! Isn’t that a …

Read More

Fun Fridays – June 12, 2020

Will you take a “fun break” with me today? Maybe a smile can help a smidgen. Can’t go wrong with a silly barbershop quartet performance. [If you cannot see the embedded video in your newsletter email, please click the headline and go directly to our site to view it.]

Read More

Back to Basics

I live in an area with strict stay-at-home orders because of the pandemic. Over the past weeks, I’ve learned much. Last year I was touched by a CBS news segment about a girl who grants the wishes of nursing home patients. They don’t want the status symbols younger people can …

Read More