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.
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