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.
Write your timeless bio and share it with us.
Just for fun: Which character in the story are you, generally, during a big conference?