Seems like a pretty simple question, doesn't it?
And on the surface, I guess it is.
I'm a woman who has been married for more than half of my life. I'm a mother to four amazing individuals. I work full time in a busy office. I have friends who I join for dinner at least once a month. I write as much and as frequently as I can. I watch baseball, basketball, and dance competitions. I work on fundraisers for my kids and their teams. I serve in my church. And I read when I can.
In my downtime (snicker - yeah, right) I dream of traveling and being published. Maybe traveling to promote my book, even.
But when I'm asked to include a biographical paragraph in a query, I freeze up.
All of the things I am, all of the things I do, well, they don't count in that particular paragraph.
Agents are looking for information about prior publishing experience. And well, I don't really have any that's relevant.
Sure, I wrote for my high school paper for three years, I interned for a year at an all-news radio station writing stories to be read on the air, I wrote software documentation for clients, and thousands of letters to those same clients. I've even written a successful grant - in less than 24 hours, and with very little to go on.
But I haven't been published.
No small articles in major sources, no books. Nothing that I can add to that paragraph. Yet.
Part of me winces when I get to that point. Another part says 'skip it, just say thanks, and let it go'. I try to listen to the second part of myself.
You see, I'm pretty happy with all of the things in my life that I can't include in that paragraph. And really, when it comes down to it, those are the things that shape the way I write, the ideas I put into words.
My 'biography' may be unstated in my query letter, but it is ever-present in my work.