When I first started Wordmunger.com a few years ago as a satire Web site, I was surprised to find the most clicked-on story was my own biography. Who cares, I thought to myself — isn’t this site supposed to be about the satire, not the author?
It turns out, everyone cares. They want to know who’s churning out this drivel (or this enchanting prose, as the case may be). Now I’m trying to publish my first creative book (a memoir about my childhood), and guess what prospective agents want to see. You got it — not the memoir itself, but a separate “writer’s biography.” I think I know what that is: basically it’s a prose resume, which indeed is different from a childhood memoir, but I still can’t help feeling it’s a little redundant to ask a memoirist for an autobiography.
I don’t want to write it, and I know why. Even thought both things seem horribly egotistical, the point of a memoir is to tell a story. The point of a resume/cover letter/writer’s biography is to sell yourself, and that’s something I’m much less comfortable doing. Now the time to sell has arrived. If you don’t want to read a formulaic sales pitch, stop right now. Otherwise, read on and see how I plan on pitching myself to agents and publishers.
Dave Munger has always been a reluctant writer, but he has also always returned to writing. As a child, he devoured non-fiction books like All About the Ice Age while turning out creative works such as a rewriting of Jack and the Beanstalk set in a postinflationary future and told from the beans’ perspective.
After serving as editor of his high school newspaper and columnist for the University of Chicago Maroon, he moved to New York to become an editorial assistant for HarperCollins Publishers. Within a year, he was again tapped as a writer, collecting readings and writing author biographies for the anthology 80 Readings (HarperCollins, 1992) and earning sole author credit for his work.
When his first child was born, Dave quit his job and started a business he could operate from home while caring for babies. Over the next ten years, he and his wife had a second child, and he grew his business into The Davidson Group, an editing and book design company with its own offices in Davidson, North Carolina. All the while he continued to write, authoring six editions of three different books for college writing students: a 1998 revision of 80 Readings, The Pocket Reader (Longman, 2000), and Researching Online (Longman, 1999–2001).
In 2001 he sold his business to become a full-time writer. He began a satire Web site, Wordmunger.com, which has since been resurrected as a popular blog. To hone his writing, he enrolled in the graduate writing program at UNC-Charlotte and began composing his memoir Small Journeys in a class on expository writing. The memoir, completed in the summer of 2004, became his thesis and his first book-length creative work. He is now seeking a publisher for Small Journeys and starting work on a novel about a long-distance marriage.