Unauthorized??? vs Authorized, there's a difference?
Q: I’m considering writing a biography about someone relatively famous in my hometown. I’ve noticed that biographies fall into one of two categories: authorized and unauthorized. What’s the difference?
A: The difference between an authorized biography and an unauthorized biography is this: An authorized biography is written with the help/cooperation of the person whom the book is about and an unauthorized biography is not.
In an authorized biography, the author typically holds interviews with the subject of the book, the subject’s family members and friends, co-workers, etc. The author is privy to information only attainable from the subject of the book. So, let’s say you wanted to write Brian A. Klems: Man, Writer, Softball Champion and wanted it to be an authorized biography. You’d contact me and ask for my blessing and cooperation, getting as much information as you can directly from me (and those around me). If I were deceased (yikes!), you’d need the blessing of my estate.
Also, depending on level of involvement, sometimes the subject will get a shared byline and possibly a share of the book’s revenue. Issues like that can—and should—be addressed before the book is started.
On the flip side, if you call for my help and I tell you to buzz off, you have two options: 1) to actually buzz off or 2) to go ahead and write the biography anyway without my help. Here you’ll have to gather info on your own from public records and other resources, but you won’t have to make any professional compromises or financial concessions.
Christy Clark bio goes beyond the smile
Former B.C. MLA Judi Tyabji pens an unauthorized biography of the B.C. Premier
June 4, 2016
....... She described for Tyabji the moment she was able to turn it around. She was swimming in the cold Pacific Ocean, near her family cabin in B.C.’s Gulf Islands. “For the first time, I felt overwhelmed, thinking that I just didn’t know how we were going to win the election.” She’s always been a nervous swimmer, she admits, wary of the creatures beneath her, and of the open ocean after her father’s and sister’s near-drowning in a boating accident. “I remember swimming and thinking, I don’t know if I’m going to win the election, but it all depends on me, and I’m not going to be scared about the outcome,” she tells Tyabji. “I’m going to let go of all my fear about it.”. In that moment, she “stopped being afraid. ......
..... The biography was unauthorized, but it’s not clear the premier will appreciate the help. ......