Writing an author bio

I’m curious about the advice given to authors to write one’s biography in the third person. I’ve never seen it stipulated anywhere that one should write it that way, but it certainly seems to be a universally accepted convention adopted by most authors.

I can understand why it’s presented that way on the cover of a book, but not on an author’s personal website or blog, or in an enquiry letter to a literary agent.

I tried writing my own bio that way, but I felt it was too impersonal; it made me feel detached and incredibly pretentious (surely that’s not just because I’m British?).

I wouldn’t dream of introducing myself in the third person, especially if I’m hoping to work with the person I’m addressing, and I can’t help wondering if editors and agents really want such an impersonal approach? I’d also love to know what readers think of an author presenting themselves in the third person.

I’m not being facetious, by the way: I’m really interested to know where the idea came from, and why it’s regarded as a golden rule for writers.

What do you think?

Do you prefer to read an author’s bio written in the first or third person? When is one form more acceptable or preferable than the other?

If you share your view on this, please let me know whether you’re a reader, or a writer, or a publishing professional: I’m curious to know how this conundrum is perceived from the different sides of the fence.



Prompted by How to write a compelling biography

Related articles:
Tips and Examples For Writing Interesting Author Bio For Blogs
How to Write an Author Bio
How to Write a Short Author Bio


About johannanield

Welsh author of a contemporary British romance trilogy
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