Let’s Just Talk About Biographies

Martin L. Shoemaker

By the time you read this, I’ll have been interviewed by Kathryn Raaker for Let’s Just Talk! Kathryn is an international/domestic radio and TV personality, a motivational speaker, a public relations consultant, Founder and CEO of the Tri State Connection, a multi-media PR and marketing company, and also a co-author of Elizabeth Bromwell: Chronicles of an Expat Spy.

How do I know this? I read it in her biography.

So tell me, writers and artists: What will someone learn from your biography? Do you even have one? Can people easily find it?

Kathryn called last night to prepare for the interview, and she gave me a little free advice in her role as a PR consultant: Have a biography, have it ready and easy to find. She said that public interest shows like hers interview a lot of authors, artists, musicians, etc. “I have a new book” is an old story to them, boring. Sorry, but it’s true: they see a new book every week or more. That in itself is not the story.

No, you are the story. You’re what makes the interview interesting. They want to talk about people who write books or paint pictures or sing songs, not just the books and pictures and songs.

That doesn’t mean your biography has to be full of big accomplishments or funny quirks — though both can be helpful. What’s important is that it introduces you. Who you are. Where you’re from (though keep this vague if you’re worried about your privacy). Your background, and what led you to this work. You want to give interviewers (and others) a few good hooks to hang a story on.

Here’s mine. Feedback welcome. It’s a work in progress. Like me.

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