To Be the Main Speaker at This [Fictional] Author Event
But What On Earth Were They Thinking?
By Jeff Salter
LOL. If I ever found myself the “head-liner” at an author event, I’d contact the conference organizer and ask how they got their wires crossed. Ha!
Seriously, I’d love for my books / stories / poems to achieve such recognition (and sales) that author events would want to book me as their featured speaker. But as of now – in the REAL world – I’m faced with what to include in the short bio of this week’s 4F1H topic.
Before I produce for you my bio blurb, however, I shall – as others have done so far this week – tell you a bit about the development of my vita / resume.
The first time I can recall anyone requiring any detail about my accomplishments (education, work history, recognitions, etc.) was when I entered the Air Force — and this was for the federal background check which ultimately resulted in my receipt of a SECRET security clearance. On that multi-page form, I listed my education (high school, college board test scores, two years of college, etc.)… and my work history (beginning in 8th grade when I cleaned floors and windows at a retail store, my summers and Saturdays at a Feed and Seed store, and my jobs on a small-town daily and small-town weekly newspaper). Plus, all the residences (including street addresses) going back to birth… if I could remember them. [I couldn’t remember a numerical street address any earlier than 1st grade.]
At some point in those early years, I took a civil service exam and completed their version of a resume / bio.
The next time I needed a resume was when I was leaving library graduate school and looking for a job to support myself, my wife, and two kids. By that point, I’d added (to the resume) my B.A. degree, my upcoming M.L.S., my writing awards, my growing list of bylined articles, and my work in the LSU Middleton library for three semesters. Oh, and my military assignments and recognitions at three different duty stations.
After my first library job, I didn’t really need a vita, since I was recruited for my second library job. From that point forward, I only needed to update my bio for my certification renewal by the State Board of Library Examiners. And in those years, I was adding my published reviews, library articles, my active involvement with the state library association, and the workshops I’d conducted.
At one point during my second library job, a position opened in a nearby parish for director of their library system. It was not so much that I was eager to move on… but such vacancies (directing a sizeable library system) were quite rare, so I felt I had to strike while the iron was warm. By that time, the non-fiction book I’d co-authored with my brother had been published and that was a big item to add to my resume. [I did not get the job — it was only a “courtesy” interview, since they’d already decided on a different candidate.]
Later on, the Graduate Library School recruited professionals to be adjunct instructor at satellite campuses. For their consideration of my qualifications, I dusted off and updated my vita, adding my second co-authored non-fiction book and other publications. [Before the technology allowed them to convert to “tele-learning” hook-ups, I taught one graduate class in the spring semester of 1992.]
I believe that was the last time I seriously fiddled with my vita / resume … until I needed a bio blurb for fiction book back covers and some of the forms my three publishers require for fiction contracts. As others have noted this week, a bio BLURB attempts to condense one’s life to a statement of (usually) just a few short paragraphs. Over the years with these published fiction titles, I’ve arrived at the following as my “go-to” bio blurb [187 words].
Current Bio Blurb:
Writing has been my driving interest since about fourth grade… and I’ve never stopped. I love creating believable characters and turning them loose with interesting and/or humorous situations. The result has been romantic comedy, screwball comedy, romantic suspense, time-travel, and other science fiction.
I’ve worked with three royalty publishers in releasing fifteen novels, four novellas, and a co-authored collection of short stories.
I’m co-author of two non-fiction monographs (about librarianship) with a royalty publisher, a signed chapter in another book, and a signed article in a specialty encyclopedia. I’ve also published articles, book reviews, and over 120 poems; my writing has won nearly 40 awards, including several in national contests. As a newspaper photo-journalist, I published about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos.
Before I worked nearly 30 years in the field of librarianship, I was a decorated veteran of the U.S. Air Force (including a remote tour of duty in the Arctic, at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland).
I’ve lived in eight different states (including FIVE different cities within one of those states) and traveled to (or thru) some two dozen other states. Married, I’m the parent of two and grandparent of six.
Of course, that blurb does not cover every aspect of the Jeff Salter I’ve known for 70 years, but I think it hits most of the important spots… and lets the reader learn a bit about where I’ve been and what I’ve experienced. I’ve been around the block a few times, folks… and this is NOT my first rodeo. LOL.
[JLS # 537]