Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The evolving role of the author bio

image

“Blythe Woolston doesn’t remember learning how to read, but she suspects someone taught her as ploy to keep her out of trouble in a slightly dangerous world full of bears and chainsaws and swift rivers. Today she reads books and writes the indexes that appear  on their final pages. She lives in a wonder cupboard: One drawer is full of peppercorns, another holds the skull of a hoplitomeryx, another collects lint that might be useful in making bandages if it comes to that. The Freak Observer is her first novel. Follow her  blog at www.blythewoolston.com.”

Has the role of the author bio changed? With authors on social networks and with web sites an absolute requirement, has the biographic role of the author bio been replaced by the need to be more demonstrative of the author’s personality? Put it another way: do author bios need to have a voice more than they need facts? I tend to think so. I think author bios are now more enticements to further interaction than statements of useful fact. Contradictory opinions?

(Yes, Blythe Woolston’s The Freak Observer has a photograph of a brain on the back. Wait until you see the front.)

image

1 comment:

Wyman Stewart said...

I prefer bios as I currently find them. Then I wish to have a link to the authors webpage. Preferably one that goes deeper than his/her latest book. If they wish to list their Facebook link and/or MySpace link, Twitter link, I have no problem with those either, but I want the website link, since I don't bother with the others, which are sure to fade in relevance with time.


I have read many a book with no author bio at all, because that was once the way many books were written. For a modern author, that would put too much distance between author and reader. The website link gives an author a chance to communicate with readers or any happen-by visitor. With a "contact" listing or guestbook section, there can be audience and author feedback, which is necessary for promoting and maintaining an audience platform.

That's a few of my thoughts. I feel it begins with a traditional author bio, followed with links to the author's website, etc. The links, not the bio, is where an author personality is best shown. The bio may wish to show some personality, but keep the facts. Thank you.