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?



16 Responses to Writing a Timeless Author Bio

  1. Avatar
    Shirlee Abbott June 25, 2020 at 4:59 am #

    Call me Calista Caffeinated! First thing I do at a conference is scope out the coffee urn.

    I can live with this:
    Shirlee juggled family, career and ministry. She’s worked with healthcare administrators, doctors and caregivers. Alongside her husband, she’s ministered to folks living on the edges of poverty and sanity. She’s both birth mom and adoptive mom, with a racially mixed brood. She’s dealt with neglect, abuse and prejudice. Shirlee connects with a wide circle of women.

  2. Avatar
    Lila Diller June 25, 2020 at 5:20 am #

    The first day I start out as Winnie Wired, but by the end of the conference, I’m Tilda Tired. 😉

    I have a longer bio and a shorter one. Here is the longer one (because I don’t have a word limit): 🙂

    A die-hard lover of stories, whether through movies and Netflix series or more often through the written word, introverted Lila loves to learn about people and their reactions through the imagination of others. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling, editing, blogging, connecting on social media, and pretending her dishes aren’t screaming to be cleaned. Having grown up in rural Idaho, she enjoys the small town in NC where her husband, two energetic boys, and calico cat all keep her belly-laughing.

    Lila is both a hopeless romantic and a grammarian. A self-acknowledged “multipotentialite,” her interests reach across the creative spectrum, from photography and scrapbooking to music to painting to writing. She claims not to be an expert in anything but a life-long learner in many things. She has a passion for fellow believers, especially in fighting the climbing divorce rate inside the church and in worshiping through every circumstance. She tackles these problems in her own way, one blog post at a time at liladiller.com and through three Christian novels since 2017. Join her on a quest for romance–both in fiction and in real life–on her blog at http://www.liladiller.com.

  3. Avatar
    Sandy Vosburgh June 25, 2020 at 5:29 am #

    Coughing Cynthia Coffey, only I wouldn’t be coughing as I left the room because everyone would look at me with condemnation since I wouldn’t be wearing a mask.

  4. Avatar
    Edie Melson June 25, 2020 at 6:11 am #

    I’m poor Hafwen Hostess, I can’t count the number of times this has happened to me ? Here’s my bio:

    Edie Melson is a woman of faith with ink-stained fingers observing life through the lens of her camera. She’s a writer who feels lost without her camera and a reluctant speaker who loves to encourage an audience. And she embraces the ultimate contradiction of being an organized creative. As a popular speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her numerous books, including Unruffled, Thriving in Chaos and the award-winning Soul Care series reflect her passion to help others develop the strength of their God-given gifts and apply them to their lives.

    Her industry blog, The Write Conversation, has been recognized as a Writer’s Digest Top 101 Sites for Writers. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, and a board member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. She lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where she spends time off hiking with her husband and her camera. Connect with her on http://www.EdieMelson.com and through social media.

  5. Avatar
    AJ Skelly June 25, 2020 at 6:43 am #

    My attempt at a relatively timeless bio:

    AJ Skelly is a writer, blogger, and lover of all things fantasy, medieval, and fairy-tale-romance. As a former high school English teacher with a master’s in Creative Writing, she’s always been fascinated with the written word and has spent many years working with teenagers. She lives with her husband, children, and many imaginary friends who often find their way into her stories.

  6. Avatar
    Kristen Joy Wilks June 25, 2020 at 6:44 am #

    I would like to say that I’m Kristen Kerfuffle … just because I adore the word kerfuffle, not because I am prone to fierce arguments or brawls at conferences. Hmmm … is my bio timeless? Well, let’s see …

    Kristen Joy Wilks lives in the beautiful Cascade Mountains with her camp director husband, three fierce sons, and a large and slobbery Newfoundland dog. She has blow-dried a chicken, fought epic Nerf battles instead of washing dishes, transported a gallon bag of cooked bacon inside her purse to nibble in the movie theater, and discovered a smuggled gardener snake in her sons’ bubble bath. When Kristen is not shooing the pet chickens out of the house or trying to determine why one of her sons stored uneaten tuna in his shoe and then continued to wear it all day, she loves to write about the humor and grace that can be found hidden amidst the detritus of life. Much like the shiny quarter one member of their household swallowed and then found in the pot four days later. If God is good enough to grant us these gems, she figures that someone should be putting them to the page.
    Kristen can be found wandering around Camas Meadows Bible Camp snapping photos for the camp blog, tucked under a tattered quilt in an overstuffed chair at 4:00am writing a wide variety of implausible tales, or at http://www.kristenjoywilks.com.

    Hmmm … well, much of this is about stuff that happened in the past (smuggled bacon, tuna in shoe, gardener snake in tub) and so that is not going to change. Since the Bible camp is a family ministry passed to us by my Grandparents (of course God called us, not them) I don’t see our occupation changing anytime soon. But my sons will eventually grow up and move out and so there will come a time where I am not finding tuna in their shoes and shooing pet chickens out of the house (sigh) I could change those things to look like past experiences since I am really hoping to have my middle grade manuscripts published someday … or I could concentrate on the things that I do everyday like camp work and therapy dog visits. Although, our therapy dog will also grow old and who knows if our next Newfoundland will have the right temperament (although they tend to love therapy work as a breed). We intend to always own a Newfy, so since I didn’t name Princess Leia Freyja in particular, that is probably OK for a bit … although I suppose when I get super old a 100 lb dog might get a bit much. Hmmm …. lots to think about! Thank you, Tamela!

  7. Avatar
    Cathy Primer Krafve June 25, 2020 at 6:44 am #

    I am Aline Attentive. 🙂 Okay, maybe I’m Winnie Wired.

    About Cathy

    Queen of Fun and Coffee Cup Philosopher, Cathy Krafve joins us today. If one word describes her, it is unexpected, so we are in for a fun conversation!

    Cathy understands companionship begins with authentic conversation. With journalistic fervor and a knack for laughter and story-telling, Cathy puts a snappy spin on deeply spiritual truths.

    Host of Fireside Talk Radio, her weekly blogs and podcasts reach over 2 million listeners and readers annually. She invites you to create life so beautiful in its imperfection generations after us will be retelling our stories with joy and laughter. She speaks Truth with a Texas twang!

    Love your stuff, Tamela. Say hi to Steve and Bob for me. Great article. Thank you!

  8. Avatar
    Cathy Primer Krafve June 25, 2020 at 6:48 am #

    PS I send my bio directly to the event chair’s inbox because they are swamped enough without having to search for my stuff online. Twice, once immediately and once right before the event. Plus, I bring a hard copy and hand it to whoever introduces me. Things change at the last minute and sometimes event planners feel like they’re deer in the headlights. I’ve been there; it’s a relief when someone hands you what you didn’t know you needed until minutes before.

  9. Avatar
    Jay Payleitner June 25, 2020 at 6:52 am #

    Steve, the ultimate goal, of course, is to be introduced with as few words as possible. If the audience already knows who you are, your name is all that’s required.

    I’m not quite there yet.

    My website has three bios. 225 words for “About Jay.” 144 words for media interviews and speaker introductions (which can easily be edited down even further on the spot.) And 717 words which amusingly follow all the twists and turns of my ridiculous career path.

    And, yes, I always cringe when the person charged with introducing me literally picks up one of my first books and reads a 15-year-old bio.

  10. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson June 25, 2020 at 8:29 am #

    Calista Caffeinated. Ready to move on and get to the meat of the class. After reading this post, I’m going back to the drawing board to revamp my not so timeless bio. Thank you, Tamela.

  11. Avatar
    Sheri Dean Parmelee, Ph.D. June 25, 2020 at 9:14 am #

    Sheri Dean Parmelee is a former homeschooling mom whose 15-year-old son was accepted at the University of Maryland, College Park. Since he was too young to drive, she applied, was accepted, and they started college one hour apart. Five years later, they graduated, one hour apart. He works for Cru, while she teaches residentially for Liberty University.

    She loves reading, counted cross stitch, running, and serving the Lord as a choir member and sign language interpreter at her church. She was an original cast member at Walt Disney World. She tried out for the parts of Alice in Wonderland and Snow White but she didn’t have the nose. A fellow who was picking up trash while trying to avoid Sheri’s tram in the parking lot, a dude named George, is now the president at WDW. He stuck with it; Sheri didn’t. Live and learn. She has.

  12. Avatar
    Paula Geister June 25, 2020 at 9:29 am #

    After spending the morning as Calista Caffeinated, I make the plunge to Winnie Wired. To help the audience get a feel for who I am (let’s face it, they either want to identify with you or pick you apart), my bio is as goofy as it can safely be while giving valid credentials.

    Paula Geister considers herself a Word Wrangler and Grammar Grappler. Because she was an awkward child, vocabulary quizzes in grade school gave her more satisfaction than recess. Paula’s love of language isn’t limited to her native tongue. Her big sister invited her to help with drills in high school Greek and she was proud to learn three forms of the word “farmer.” But don’t test her.
    Her early years as a writer included jobs writing obituaries, editorials, press releases, hard news, personality profiles, instructional video scripts, and television advertising. Television ads gave her a formidable challenge. “Now I only have thirty seconds in which to bore people.” She believes she can also create kick-butt resumes.
    Paula’s received her degrees in journalism and television and film production from Ferris State. She also has remedial education in writing fantasy stories having directed her siblings in re-creations of classic fairy tales. She now writes for Christian publications and focuses her work on discipleship, humor, and mental illness, which to her mind, make a sensible combination.

  13. Avatar
    Audra Sanlyn June 25, 2020 at 1:02 pm #

    I’d say I’m a combination of Calista Caffeinated and Nestor Nervous. The java helps with the latter.
    My bio’s short and to the point and fairly timeless. Audra Sanlyn is the author of Through the Eyes of A Veteran: A History of Winchester, a biography/local history based on the life of her husband’s grandfather. She is a member of ACFW and ACFW Virginia Chapter and serves as Secretary for Capital Christian Writers Fellowship. Audra stays at home with her two children, writes a monthly encouragement blog, and leads her church’s youth ministry with her husband.

  14. Avatar
    Tamela Hancock Murray June 26, 2020 at 7:50 am #

    This has been such a fun post! I’ve enjoyed reading all the bios!

  15. Avatar
    Susan Sage June 26, 2020 at 11:03 am #

    I am at first Delores Devout but then quickly change to Understanding Ursala.

    Susan has created stories throughout her lifetime but has seriously written since 2011. She uses fiction and nonfiction as venues for pointing others to God’s hope above fear and lies. She loves using nature, especially the ocean, as her story-source and tends to find teaching-themes from creation to weave through the words she writes. Susan married her childhood sweetheart and they have a son and daughter-in-law. When given the opportunity to travel, you will find her at the edge of a body of water enjoying the chance to be refreshed and renewed, and she will have a book in hand.


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