A biography of John Mark Warren? Let’s be honest. Most people—consumers, don’t realize that the person writing these back-of-the-book and webpage biographies is the writer himself, or herself. And writing them isn’t so easy to do, either. Especially when you’re modest, and when you’re uncomfortable talking about yourself and your own accomplishments. And it makes you feel even creepier writing about yourself while pretending to be someone else writing about yourself.
Thereto, writers tend to exaggerate their accomplishments, and even their credentials—the significance of them, at least. Sort of like being a garbage man but calling yourself an Environmental Maintenance Officer. And why do writers do this? Well, for most, no one knows who they are. Mainly it’s because writers want to present themselves as an authority, so as to make themselves more credible, so as to increase the odds of selling their work to potential consumers who, again, don’t know who they are.
As they say, image is everything. Not to me, obviously. Actually, I don’t think consumers are all that interested in author bios.
As actor Sean Connery, playing a recluse writer in the film Finding Forrester, said, “Writers write so readers can read.” You can hear his trademark voice when you read that, right? Nevertheless, I figure: forget the award-laden and self-congratulatory author bio. Can you write or not? Can you be interesting, entertaining? Can you hold people’s attention? What better place to demonstrate that ability than in an Author Bio. And what better way, and what a prime venue and opportunity, to intrigue consumers and to sell your work.
I write because I enjoy it. What would be isolation to most—sitting alone at a keyboard in a small office every day with nothing but your thoughts, is solitude to me. I take on subjects that interest me, research them extensively, and then write the hell out of them. No soft-sell. No deep, therapeutic massage of the reader’s feelings. My manuscripts have a tone: just grip-it and rip-it. My motto is: if I’m bored writing it, then readers will be bored reading it. Readers can rest assured I don’t fiddle with subjects that bore me.
By the way, I have a wife and daughter—a 28 year relationship and 16 years of fatherhood. Familial information is yet another author bio custom. I was disinclined to include such information for thinking it also unnecessary and boring to consumers. But my agent Scott basically said, “Just include it. Why can’t you do things like everybody else, asshole?” So …
Incidentally, I have some awards, too. They’re all sports related. And I’m most proud of my first youth football league championship trophy—I should probably capitalize that. Shouldn’t I? I’m not sure. Capitalization rules have long been my writing nemesis …