Jemima Pett – that’s me.  I write books.  And if you write books, you probably feel much the same as I do about that dreaded thing – the biography. Cringe.

I admire people who can deliver brilliant summaries of their life and career in such a way that its encourages people to pick up their books.  It seems to me that everyone’s biography is better than mine.  If you stroll around my various biographies, on blogs, sales pages and social media, you’ll find some variations on the theme.

The ‘What are your strengths” question

I read other people’s biographies and admire them. They sparkle with wit and personality.  Mine don’t seem to, in my eyes.  Some people have that knack of presenting themselves in the best possible light; others shy away, trying to hide their light under a bushel – just read the books, don’t worry about who I am.  And you know what – that’s just who we are.  It’s exactly the same when it comes to ‘selling’ yourself in a job interview.  Some people can list their strengths and point out exactly why you should hire them without batting an eyelid.  Others mumble and stumble, wishing the earth would swallow them up.  I should know, I used to be a recruiter – I have done thousands of job interviews… and I’m rubbish when it comes to being interviewed!

The key thing is – you know this question is coming.  It’s something you can, and should, prepare.

And it’s no different for author biographies.  Everyone has to have one.  Biographies have an advantage over the job question: we can write and rewrite it until we’re satisfied, and we can change it after the event.

The critical thing about my first bio is that I was caught between two stools.  Confession: Jemima is a pen name.  The question became ‘Who is Jemima Pett?’  I decided that she was me, to a point; there was no benefit of doing my own life story if I wasn’t writing under my own name.  So a whole load of things have been skimmed into their relevance to Jemima as an author.  In fact, that is absolutely no different from tailoring your strengths for a job interview question.

jemima pett beachC.V.s need updating, and so does the author biography

As time has gone on, more of the ‘me’ has become Jemima.  It may be the name I write under, but I am now Jemima as much as I am J M (which is how I do legal things, like my copyright).   The Jemima Pett you find on the blog now is the me as I am, but the author me, rather than some character I had invented.

It may be time to update my biography.

So, the cute little book that I wrote when I was eight years old may go, and the apology for not writing fiction for years because I was told I was rubbish may go.  That comment may help others, but I don’t want it in my biography.  I say I had no plot or characters  to write about – but really, I had both. I didn’t write about them because I believed I couldn’t. The guinea pigs who inspired the Princelings of the East were better, though!

Am I ready to write this new biography?  Check back at letter U, which may well be “Updating my Biography” 🙂

What do you think?  Is describing yourself as painful as it is for me?  Got any tips to share?

Jemima Pett: who is she anyway? #AtoZChallenge

8 thoughts on “Jemima Pett: who is she anyway? #AtoZChallenge

  • 12 April, 2017 at 7:10 am

    Yo know what I feel the same way, everyone else’s impressive. I’ve always thought yours was great, so there you go.

    • 12 April, 2017 at 7:20 am

      I’m positive it will be inspiring and a fab read… hopefully some tips on writers block to share….
      Looking forward to reading it

  • 12 April, 2017 at 7:17 am

    I am like you. I feel like my life has been pretty ordinary and boring whereas everyone else seems to have achieved so much more. You are one such achiever.

  • 12 April, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Hi Jemima – yes you are you … but you’ve had an interesting life I feel .. and have noted aspects as I’ve been around … it’s cobbling the ideas and thoughts together into an inspiring and readable read … not easy I agree. I shall look forward to U … in my eyes you’ve done wonders … and those Guinea Pigs certainly help … cheers Hilary

  • 12 April, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Ugh. Yeah, I’m no fan of writing my bio. And, like you, I realize I need to update it (I also eventually need to face the “real author photo” question, though I kind of like my mystery pictures where you can’t really see too much detail). I think my bio still talks about living with my 2 teen sons. Well, they are still teens (barely), but the time of living with them is about at an end! And that may provoke a whole new crisis of identity…

    The nom de plume issue creates another whole layer for bios, though I’m not sure what the protocol is for that!

  • 12 April, 2017 at 9:33 pm

    I know what you mean, I find it really hard to sum myself up in a few pithy lines. Like you say though, it’s something that can keep being a work in progress.

  • 12 April, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    Boy, do I hate writing biographies! I’ve written several now and have them in a file and and update things I’ve done occasionally. then i can just get them out idk anyone asks and add a bit or take stuff away. Ugh!

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