Keep it Short and Sweet, Please

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Our Friday Fox asked, “Do you enjoy reading about other writers, their bios and writing processes?”

My answer is yes, to an extent. I don’t enjoy reading long bios — three paragraphs is about all I’ll read before I lose interest and scroll down to read about the featured book. I don’t read long interviews about the writer’s life, either. Normally I’ll read the first few questions and then skip down to the last few. I’m not sure if this is due to ADD or if I simply lack empathy. (Caveat: I’ve noticed that this disinterest in bios does NOT apply when the author in question is someone I know and have met in person.)

The same applies to articles/posts about someone’s writing process. I do attend several workshops each year dealing with various writing software tools, writing strategies, and time management, but for those I expect to learn something and will generally pay attention. However, in that situation, I’m listening to a speaker, taking notes, and hopefully following along with the handout. When I’m reading something, I expect to be entertained – unless I’m researching, of course. So again, I’ll read a paragraph or two before I start skimming.

So why do I continue to feature an author here at this blog every month? There are a few reasons:

  1. When I first started publishing, I was very grateful for the opportunity to share my books on someone else’s platform. Now, it gives me pleasure to give that opportunity to others.
  2. Finding and featuring a guest each month requires networking, and I’ve met many fascinating people and their books.
  3. This occasionally forces me to step out of my comfort zone and read other genres.
  4. I already post my book reviews during my free week, so I figured I might as well use my guest author/review week to feature someone else. 

If you’ve read my guest author posts, however, you might notice that they rarely talk about their writing process. That’s because when I ask a guest to join us here, I ask them to tell us about what inspired either the story itself or to expand on an issue that their book deals with. I ask that these posts be no more than 500 words – about my reading limit. Most of the time, this results in an interesting snapshot of the author’s life, because often a writer’s story springs from something he or she has experienced personally. 

To me, that’s much more interesting than learning about the minutiae of the person’s life.

Do you like to read author bios? Do you prefer them long and detailed, or shorter with one or two interesting tidbits about their lives? Are you curious about the writing process for someone else?


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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10 Responses to Keep it Short and Sweet, Please

  1. Grant at Tame Your Book! says:

    I like to read short and fun bios, Patricia. I’m always on the hunt for clever processes, so checking out writing techniques interests me, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I rather miss doing interviews and the rare guest posts, but the pressure is off. I have one in mind and I may get back to it.
    I guess I will have to hold back on much more since I better answer my own question!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    Like you, I’m not terribly interested in “the minutiae of the person’s life” — however, I do apparently have more interest that those few paragraphs you mentioned.
    For most authors / writers who are unknown to me — but apparently NOT nationally recognized yet — I think I prefer just a brief summary of their background, education, career, interests, and some sense of how they ended up dealing in words.
    I’ll have more to say on HOund Day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Your list is good, unless like me, their interests are many and varied – in that case I’d read about one or two. I’d also be interested in finding out what led to the writing of whatever book they’re promoting. Looking forward to reading your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Diane Burton says:

    Short and sweet works for me. Three paragraphs is my limit, too. Like you, when it’s someone I know, I’ll read whatever they write. LOL What goes around comes around–that’s my reason for having guests, too. We think so much alike. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I’m with you. I probably don’t want to delve too deeply into a biography.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Short bios are fine. I like the ones that say something along the lines of “Mom to four cats, three dogs, a horse, three wile boys, and wife to the most handsome man in the world” or something that is short and sweet but still gives you a little information about them.


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