The topic came up elsewhere and got me thinking of the infamous Author Bio-Blurb. You see it in books, sure, but those of us who write short stories as well, or even primarily, have to deal with it too and a lot more often. I know. It’s really a sort of “high-class worry” to people who haven’t sold at all or barely. “Writing author blurbs is hard? My heart frickin’ bleeds for your anguish.” I’ll grant you, the first few are kinda fun. Then you’re selling maybe five or six stories or more every year, year after year, and it’s become a chore.
“Again, my heart frickin’ bleeds—“
Hush, you. I wasn’t finished. See, the reason it becomes a chore isn’t because they’re hard to do. They’re ridiculously easy. They become a chore because, after a while, you come to the conclusion that they just don’t matter. So far as you can tell, no one’s even reading the darn things. It’s not as if anyone ever writes you a fan email and says, “Loved your bio in Amazing Weird Yarns to Disarm.” Just doesn’t happen. The venues still want them, for some reason, but after the fifth or the tenth or the hundredth, it just becomes very hard to take them seriously. How not seriously? Let me show you the bio I actually wrote for Robert Bloch’s Psychos back in 1997. And keep in mind that, at this point, I’d only been selling short fiction regularly for three years:
“Richard Parks lives in Mississippi, works with computers, and writes. He has a wife named Carol, whose first date with him was a campus screening of “Psycho.” As for other details of his personal existence, well, the less said the better. Richard firmly believes that his stories are much more interesting than he is. Humor him.”
See my point? Left to my own devices, I’m far too prone to the kind of flippancy shown in my example above. I’d rather not repeat that for obvious reasons, so let me ask this of anyone reading this—when you’re going through a magazine of anthology or novel(assuming you do), are these things really useful to you as a reader? And, if so, what sort of information would you like to see in them that you are not seeing?
Inquiring minds want to know.