How much information do you really need - or want - about an author?
When I was much younger, if I'd just finished a really good book, all I really wanted to know was whether the author had written any more, so a list of titles was all I wanted. Sometimes though, reluctant to put the book down, I'd read the bit of bumph about the author found at the front of the book in paperbacks, and on the dustjacket if it was a hardback still in possession of one.
Occasionally it offered tantalising little snippets of information: my Narnia books informed me that the young Clive had lived in Belfast (where I was living at the time, instantly making me feel there was a special bond between us) and had decided to write the sort of books which he would have liked to read when he was young. I learned that Gillian Baxter, who wrote some brilliant pony stories, had written - and got published - her first novel when she was fifteen; there's an inspirational act to follow. In later years I enjoyed the constantly evolving humorous mini-biogs of Terry Pratchett, and loved Anne McCaffrey's description of herself - "My eyes are green, my hair is silver and I freckle; the rest is subject to change without notice."
But set against this was the terrible disillusionment of author photos. So often they were not how I'd imagined them to look: as a child I remember the bitter disappointment of discovering that TH White didn't look like Merlin and Tolkien didn't resemble either Gandalf or a hobbit. Yes, very shallow of me, but hey, I was a kid. I found that I much preferred my authors to preserve a little bit of mystery and magic and stay firmly out of my eyesight. And as a childish adult, I've retained the same feeling.
So how much - and what - information should you include when writing up your author blurb? Personally, I'm all for keeping it minimal. I like my privacy and I'd hate to disappoint my readers by not coming up to the mark appearance-wise. And if a reader really wants to find out more, everyone seems to have a website and/or blog these days (even my whippets have one) and the internet makes it easy to research writers.
So how do you prefer your favourite authors? Lots of info available about them, or remaining shrouded in mystery, living an imagined exotic and out-of-the-ordinary life ...
The Great Rosette Robbery and other stories
available on Kindle with truthful but exciting author blurb included and absolutely no author picture!
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