As you know, every agent/agency has different asks and preferences--some say "include a short biography" in the query letter and others have online forms with a specific text box (a required field!) and others don't mention it at all. Since I am unpublished and my life experience doesn't really have anything to do with the fiction I write (i.e., I am not a former spy writing about spying)... I was planning on just saying, "This is my first novel."
But for those who specifically ask for it (especially those pesky online forms) -- and because I promised you a question at the beginning of this email -- is there any currency in an "interesting" bio rather than a "relevant to this story I'm querying" bio?
I understand everyone thinks their own bio is interesting, which is where this idea gets hairy (and why so many folks try their hands in memoir)... but I think my life has been interesting so far: I do make my money from writing (copywriter at an ad agency), I've written / directed several video ads, I co-directed (but did not write) an indie feature film (very small budget, around 200-300k, that is playing at festivals), and I kinda almost starred in a Reality TV Show along with my 4 brothers for a major cable network (we filmed the entire first season before the show was cancelled before airing, womp womp), and I've even sold a Reality TV Cooking Show concept (which also didn't air, womp womp); oh! and me and my brothers have created and sold several board/card games to major gaming companies ... all things that are the result of being "Creative" and even some writing, but none of which have anything to do with novel writing / publishing.
Because the show didn't air, I wasn't able to benefit from developing a social platform, though my brothers and I have a mailing list of about 6k people ... so I guess that's something?
Anyways... my book I'm querying is a YA speculative fiction that has nothing to do with board games, reality TV, or advertising. Do you and your agenty folk care about an Interesting Bio. Or do you only care about a Relevant Bio?
What's the purpose of a bio? It's to find out things about you that are interesting (clue!) and info we can use to pique the interest of an editor, then the marketing team, then the book buyer at B&N, then prospective readers.
So, yes, this is your first novel. BUT you've had some grand old times with all this other stuff. Write it up as humorously as possible, limit yourself to 100 words or fewer, be self-deprecating, rather than self-aggrandizing, and you'll be fine.
You should know: The most compelling and enticing thing you told me was you had a mailing list of six thousand people.
The general rule on bios is give me something I can use to help you stand out from the crowd. I've never rejected a book because an author sounded boring, but I must confess I've read pages when an author sounded witty, funny, and interesting.