2/08/2009

Author bio's

It's long been the case that authors tend to have dodgy jobs on the road to professional publication. It used to be that writers would compete on a friendly level to come up with the most lunatic possible list of prior occupations with which to fill the author's biographical notes on the inside flap of their books, just below the photo of them looking far more dashing and handsome than they are in real life; the trick being, they had to be real jobs, part of the inevitable graft and grind to be endured before scoring that first publishing deal.

A friend of mine was rather proud of having briefly worked while a student at a psychic hot-line business where he was employed to read the tarot to old ladies over the phone (they train you over a weekend), the trick being - of course - to keep them on the phone for as long as possible. Despite its slightly dodgy moral aspect, he rightly believed it was the perfect job to put in an author biography along with ferret salesman, turkey semen extractor and other thankless occupations that no doubt help prevent our civilisation from collapsing into ruin.

My own author bio has been really boring for a while. "Gary Gibson lives and writes in Glasgow and works as a graphic designer". I couldn't think of anything interesting until I really tried earlier today and sent it off to my editor to see if she liked it. The jobs aren't unusual, but the people I worked for ... that's another matter. Here it is:

'Prior to becoming a professional writer, Gary Gibson worked for an environmental agency, but left shortly after members of staff attempted to levitate a local bridge as a protest against road traffic.

Following this, he worked as a graphic designer for a printing firm that turned out to be run by a gang of convicted forgers, hastening his departure: and then for a small publishing company otherwise notable only for producing a Freddie Mercury impersonator well-known on the Scottish cabaret circuit. He currently resides in Taipei with his wife, where the only lunatic he has to answer to now is himself.'

All true.

8 comments:

Lawrence said...

No mention of the time you spent as an inmate at the Glasgow branch of a certain bookshop chain?

gary gibson said...

I prefer to think of those as my 'wilderness years'.

Chris Murdoch said...

its a shame that only previous jobs get mentioned....the rest of your personal life would be a book alon

satoribomb said...

Gads! Here I finally accept what my fears tell me, that there is no hope of escaping the slush pile, and you gotta rain hope all over my parade of self-pity. Great. Thanks for that.

Anonymous said...

yes.......why is it that you did not mention those oh so happy days at Borders????? hmmmmmmmm?

gary gibson said...

I didn't mention my time at Borders for the same reasons I didn't mention a couple of other jobs working behind counters in shops before Borders, or what I had for breakfast last Tuesday, or what my favourite colour is, or where I went to school, ie, they are neither interesting enough to make the grade of what is intended to be a short, snappy and hopefully witty author biography, not a detailed chronological summation of my life to date.

And why exactly, dear 'anonymous' (and by the context of your message you are clearly someone who knows me), would I want to drop in a minor job that barely lasted a year and a half and suffers from a distinct lack of ninjas, earthquakes, giant lizard attacks, vengeful spirits and all the other elements that might have made it interesting enough to include?

Anonymous said...

no need to get snarky. was just trying to lend an air of lightness. yes we do know each other....but with your oh so snide reply no need to reveal myself. by the by.......you are still one of scotland's best writers.
cheers

gary gibson said...

Didn't really mean to be snide, anon, but guess it came across that way rather than light-hearted. Eh, too much coffee in the morning makes one snarky.