Cover letter, bio requested

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Cover letter, bio requested

Postby Snapat » Sat Jun 13, 2015 9:08 pm

I'm wondering about the biographical statements included with short stories in magazines when published. A short bio that is sometimes to be added in the cover letter. Can they publish also the information (the bio) in a cover letter without mentioning it precisely.

Sometimes the guidelines say they want one and it will be added. Sometimes they might ask for one if they accept. But what with when they don't say anything but to write a cover letter bio included?

I understand cover letter is just an introduction, great, but can I be sure they won't add a bio from there to the magazine with out mentioning it?

I would like to think not. But wanted to know if you might know better. Any policies here?

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Re: Cover letter, bio requested

Postby mammamaia » Sun Jun 14, 2015 8:59 am

since you can't possibly read the mind of every editor, to be on the safe side, simply never put anything in them that you don't want to see in print...
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Re: Cover letter, bio requested

Postby James A. Ritchie » Mon Jun 15, 2015 10:55 am

When they say "bio included", it usually has nothing at all to do with the bio they may, or may not, publish along with a short story. The bio in a cover letter is there to let them know whether you have the experience, and/or the credits to make them believe you can write a good story.

Editors really don't care that you live with a German shepherd and a parakeet. Editors are wanting to know if you have a writing degree, if you've attended writing conferences and seminars, if you've had previous sales, etc. They also want to know if you're writing in an area of expertise, such as writing a crime story and being a police officer.

I've never known an editor to use this material without asking for permission. With any good magazine, you'll have at least four months, and up to two years, to supply whatever bio you like after they buy your story.

I'm not sure why you would worry about them using what is in a cover letter, though? There shouldn't be anything in the cover letter that isn't true, and that does not pertain directly to writing.

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Re: Cover letter, bio requested

Postby DrG2 » Mon Jun 15, 2015 7:36 pm

Unless the outlet really wants a bio, what they usually mean is what James said, which should amount to a sentence or two.

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Re: Cover letter, bio requested

Postby Jowen » Tue Jun 16, 2015 1:31 pm

When editors ask for a bio, they do not want your entire life story or dark, carefully-guarded secrets. They want only information that supports your credibility as a writer of the piece at hand--educational background, areas of expertise, previously published material. If you are writing non-fiction (although the information would be included in a query letter, not a cover letter), such as a piece about how to train your dinosaur, you would include information about your education, veterinary background, the years you spent working with dinos at Jurassic Park, and your special expertise as a T Rex trainer. That should get the attention of an editor, and, if shared with a dino-loving audience in a bio when the piece is published, should not be in any way embarrassing.

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