Random Thoughts on Pen Name Bios

I spent part of today loading files to the Nook platform.  This was for books that I’d originally published via D2D but I’d recently updated the covers and figured it was a good opportunity to move them direct to Nook.  (I signed up for an account there sometime in 2015 but hadn’t bothered to list any titles with them until May of this year…)

Anyway. As part of that process, I had to input my author bio for each name.

The most recent one I’ve been using for M.L. Humphrey with respect to my financial advice titles is:

M.L. Humphrey is a former stockbroker with a degree in Economics from Stanford and an MBA from Wharton who believes anyone can learn to manage their finances if given the right tools.

Which is true. I was a registered stockbroker when I was 20 (and then spent close to a decade regulating brokerage firms) and one of my undergrad degrees from Stanford is in Economics and I do have an MBA from Wharton.  All of which are facts that lend credibility to my telling people how to manage their finances.

But of course, that’s not all I am.

My Cassie Leigh bio usually reads something like this:

Cassie Leigh likes to write about the things she knows, which it would seem are online dating, puppies, and cooking for one.

Also true. Those are the things I’ve written about under that pen name.  And they do seem to be the topics that interest me since I’ve chosen to write about them.  And the slightly humorous tone fits the tone of those books, which are all somewhat flippant.

Of course neither bio is completely me and they almost seem contradictory when you put them side-by-side.

You’ll note, too, that the M.L. Humphrey bio doesn’t specify a gender, which means a lot of times reviewers or commenters default to assuming M.L. Humphrey is male even though I never represent myself as male.  (Although I do self-censor my examples sometimes.  So I might refrain from mentioning that I’d crocheted a baby blanket but would freely mention that I’d gone sea kayak fishing.)

Personally, I would never feel comfortable having a bio that wasn’t factual. When people think you’re one thing but then find out your something entirely different it’s a bit of a betrayal.  And you never know which pen name is going to take off to the point that that becomes an issue.

Of course, as I’ve just shown with my two bios up above, a short bio still leaves enough gaps for people to assume something that isn’t true even when all you’ve done is tell them the truth…

It’s all fiction at some level I guess.  We’re always applying our assumptions and defaults to the people we meet and filling in what little we do know about them with all the things we think we know about people like them and it’s so often not true…

Anyway.  My sort of deep thoughts for the day.

 

Author: M.L. Humphrey

I'm a consultant with a focus on financial regulation and a writer with too many pen names.

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