In years past I didn’t worry so much about an author’s bio in the query. In fact, I could be quoted as saying, “don’t worry too much about the bio, it’s the blurb that really matters.” Times have changed, or at least I have changed, and the bio has become an increasingly important part of the query.
As I read through queries I find myself, more and more, looking to the bio to get a sense of the writer. A lot of this has to do with the #metoo, #diversebooks, and #ownvoices movements. For example, I am actively seeking books featuring LGBTQ and specifically transgender protagonists, characters, and storylines, but I’m also looking to #ownvoices authors for those books. That doesn’t mean I refuse to consider an author writing a manuscript that’s not #ownvoices, but it is something I want to know before even requesting material. It’s important.
For those not writing #ownvoices material, or who don’t have a #diversebooks story, never fear. That doesn’t mean I’m discounting your book, but I am also a little more curious about you than I have been in the past. If you say you’re published I need to know who you’ve been published with. If you’re writing in a genre, I’m curious to know if you’re a member of that genre’s, or any genre’s, writing organization. Are you part of a writing group? Do you have a personal connection to the story? Are you passionate about the subject you write on? What makes you the right author for what you’re writing. That’s what I want to know.
The bio doesn’t need to include every nitty-gritty detail (check out an author’s bio in her book, it’s usually chock-full of information without being overly long), but it should tell the agent a little bit about you. It should tell us a little bit about who you are.