Biographer

Recount the life stories of notable people.
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Quick Stats


Salary Range
$29,000 – $109,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Biographers do?

As the saying goes, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” And there are some people out there with crazy life stories you couldn’t make up if you tried. Luckily, Biographers don’t have to make up their stories, they just have to report them.

Biographers’ storytelling can go one of two ways. If you’re a Biographer, you can talk directly with the subject of your story, and through interviews and research into the details of their life, come up with their biography. This is known as an authorized biography, and it means the person allowed you to write that book about them. Even a dead person can have an authorized biography. In this case, the person’s family or estate gives you permission to write away. With an authorized biography, you get a more personalized look at the person since you’re able to interview them or their friends, family, and former co-workers. You also usually get access to things like old letters or pictures.

One issue with authorized biographies, though, is that people usually don’t allow less-than-flattering things to be written about them. When you write something your subject doesn’t want revealed, your story can quickly turn unauthorized. Which brings us to the second way to write a biography. An unauthorized biography means you don’t have the consent of the person you’re writing about, and you also don’t have access to their personal effects. You can still interview their friends and family members, but it’s often a lot harder to meet these people, and they’re not always willing to talk. In this kind of biography, most of your research revolves around what’s available in public records.


Should I be a Biographer?

You should have an associate's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.

  • How to become a Biographer

    Most Biographers have a Certificate or no higher education and get on-the-job training. Think about earning a Certificate or Bachelor's degree to increase your competitiveness in the field. Chart?chd=s:9matdd&chl=no+college+%2848%25%29|certificate+%2810%25%29||bachelor%27s+%2835%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29|doctorate+%283%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,48,48
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