Writing an Author Bio: Oh, the Horror!!!


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My Official Author Photo

I’m about to submit some poems to a publisher for the first time in years— this particular publisher, I submitted poems to about 24 years ago. And now that I’m submitting again, for some markets I need to have an official Author Bio. And, well, I’m working on it.

The author bio from the back of my book ‘Where the Opium Cactus Grows’ was the first place I looked. I corrected it from first person to third:

Nissa Annakindt is a crazy cat lady from the state of Upper Michigan. Want a kitten? No, you can’t have that one. No, not that one either. And don’t even think about that one there— the one that hisses and bites everybody. That’s Nissa’s favorite.

Nissa’s hobbies are world domination, Doctor Who fandom, having an autism spectrum disorder (guess which one?), and collecting organized crime ties.

This is what I had on the back cover of ‘Where the Opium Cactus Grows’ as an author bio. It needs work, I’m thinking of replacing ‘Doctor Who fandom’ with ‘zombie hunting’. By ‘collecting organized crime ties’ I’m referring to neckties, which I can’t actually afford to collect.

I then read up on writing author bios and came up with some good advice even though one is from (gasp!) Huffington Press:

Ten Tips on How to Write an Author Bio

Writing an Author Bio

How to Write an Author Bio when You Don’t Feel Like an Author…. Yet

Armed with the information in these articles, my computer, and my new purple Uzi (just in case), I came up with my Version 2 author bio:

Nissa Annakindt is a published poet, impoverished sheep farmer, and person with an autism spectrum disorder. Her poems were first published in ‘Struggle: A Magazine of Proletarian Revolutionary Literature’ in the Winter 1989/90 issue and her work has appeared since in ‘Social Anarchism’, ‘HEATHENzine’ and a fair number of outhouse walls. She lives on the land— well, on a house on the land— in Menominee county, in the state of Upper Michigan, USA, with her 35 or so barn cats— Umberto, Consubstantial, Scylla, Charybdis…. and her pet turkey Imelda.

This one is slightly more informative though it keeps up the weird-and-quirky author persona I’m going for. I don’t really like the phrase ‘person with an autism spectrum disorder’ but just putting ‘autistic’ would lead people to believe I had low-functioning autism and overcame that which isn’t true. I would have put ‘Asperger Syndrome’ but that’s been abolished by the government I think. (I want to include that factor because of the weird-and-quirky thing, and also because it gives me credit as a ‘minority’— disabled person— with the kind of people to whom that is important.)

For cases where I need an Even More Serious short bio, here is the stripped down and boring-ized version of the above:

Nissa Annakindt is a published poet and person with an autism spectrum disorder who lives on a small farm in Upper Michigan, USA. Since 1989 her poems have been published in various magazines including ‘Above the Bridge’ and ‘Struggle: A Magazine of Proletarian Revolutionary Literature’. She has cats.

Anyway, I’d appreciate any advice on my new bio, which I shall likely ignore in favor of including more weird cat names.

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