The Art of the Contributor Bio


Congratulations! Your work has been accepted into a literary journal. Now here’s the hard part– you have about three lines to describe your essential being in the third person.

I’m awful at contributor bios. Just plain useless. I think each time (not that there have been many, but we can pretend) I somehow become more boring. And that isn’t uncommon– nearly every contributor bio I’ve ever read is formatted with the basic:

_________ is a writer living in _________. His work has appeared in ____________, _____________ and ____________.

And that’s all, folks.

I’d like to use this post to shed light on some authors who wrote contributor bios that broke the mold. Below are some of my favorites. Each contain a link to their article, so feel free to check them out!


1. The Sun Magazine

DOUG CRANDELL’s most recent novel is They’re Calling You Home. He lives in Douglasville, Georgia, where his wife has crocheted him nine winter hats while watching The Andy Griffith Show.


2. Pank Magazine

Samantha Otto is a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia. She will graduate in May 2014 with a BA in English, CNF. This is her second publication as an undergrad, the first appearing in Mizzou’s EPIC. Her boyfriend didn’t know she wrote this so she had to bake apology brownies.


3. Gravel Magazine

Ben Marshall earned an MFA in fiction in 2012 and has written only nonfiction ever since. When not writing or reading, he can most often be found in the kitchen ignoring a recipe. This is his first publication.


4. Nowhere Magazine

LAUREN Doty has spent most of her life in California working as an Accounting Manager for various companies in the music or gaming industries. A new work opportunity for Juan transported them both to Brooklyn in 2013. While Juan works in the creative world and Lauren in business, they complement each other by exploring the outdoors and scheming grand adventures. This adventurous spirit emerged on their second date when they went on a hike ill-prepared in Point Reyes, California. Sundown came earlier than expected and they found themselves lost in the woods. They spent the night wrapped in a picnic blanket continuously clicking two empty beer bottles, hoping it would deter mountain lions in the brush. This was only the beginning of many adventures to come.


5. Fogged Clarity

Tobi Cogswell did nothing but format this post.  She is a two-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee.  She is the co-editor and co-publisher of San Pedro River Review (  She’s going to go do some submissions now.


6. Carnival Literary Magazine

Dillon J. Welch often spends his free time having lengthy conversations with tollbooth workers, or musing on the frail existence of life while drinking gin and smoking a very long, slender cigarette. His poetry has been published in Extract(s) and on the fridge in his apartment.


7. Inwood Indiana

Tony Colella is not, and never has been, a dragon.

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