Can a biography go wrong? (17 things to avoid!)

Can a biography go wrong

Writing a biography after much efforts, resources and time without seeing a significant success is very painful to face. You may be asking your self, how can a biography go wrong after all the efforts?

In this article, we focus our attention on different ways in which a biography can go wrong and how you can avoid it.

Can a biography go wrong?

A biography can go wrong because of several issues such as, plagiarism, poor research work, litigations, poor editing among others, can, which can impact the success of a biography.

Different ways a biography can go wrong.

The following are reasons that can cause a disastrous outcome to a biography;

  1. Mispresentation of information.
  2. Poor research work.
  3. Plagiarism.
  4. Series of litigations.
  5. Rejected by the public.
  6. Adverse publicity.
  7. Fictionalised and provided as Non-fiction.
  8. Left on the shelf for long without patronage.
  9. If it is about an unknown person with no known achievements.
  10. Poor editing.
  11. Author is a known convict or fugitive.
  12. It exposed classified information got through an illegal method.
  13. Zero rating from readers.
  14. Poor review.
  15. If content is not family friendly.
  16. If ban in many countries.
  17. Higher cost of publishing that are not recovered.
  18. Court order recalling the biographies long after publication.

1. Mispresentation of information.

When informations contain in the biography is showcase for mischievous reasons in other to settle a score or to damage reputation of the individual, the biography will go wrong very.

All facts in a biography are to be presented in the actual way it happened without distortions, changes or additions that will present the subject of the biography in poor light.

When you come across a biography with these distortions, just know that it is bound to fail the integrity test of the readers and litigations are going to take place in a court of law.

2. Poor research work.

When a biography research is poor because of the author, unverifiable information will pollute the whole research that can cause issues to the writer of the biography.

If such occur, the biography is going in the wrong direction.

A biography needs to be factual, balance and verifiable without significant errors.

However, doing a shoddy job regarding research for the biography will make the biography not only a failure but other negative consequences like litigations that will hurt both the writer and the publishers.

3. Plagiarism.

Contents of books are supposed to be original with no act of plagiarism that is illegal.

If a biography is not based on original research of the writer with a majority percentage copied from other people’s works, the public will not well receive the biography.

Plagiarising a content will lead to litigations that will affect both the two parties involved and court will award damages against the writer when found guilty.

4. Series of litigations.

If you come across a biography with tons of court cases against it, just know that the biography has already gone wrong.

Many reasons can lead to legal battles with a biography ranging from plagiarism, wrong informations, mis-presentation of facts, getting information through illegal method and many more.

Meanwhile, people will not drag a biography into court cases if the biography is accurate and verified.

But a biography with criminal or malicious intent will have to a face a legal battle can drag on for years which will affect both finances, production and integrity of the writer.

5. Rejected by the public

Biography that is rejected by the public who are the target audience is a biography that has gone wrong from all indications

public will always reject what they consider as offensive, malicious and outright lies in a book so as not to encourage others from following the same wrong steps in the future.

Therefore, a biography can go wrong if it is rejected, discarded and shun by the public.

6. Adverse publicity.

Negative publicity is a recipe for disaster on a biography

Any biography that before it is publish or after publication generates adverse publicity is likely not going to have a long-lasting impression on the people.

However, sometimes negative publicity is a good thing for a biography because it will generate discussion and debates among people and many people that are not familiar with the issue will develop curiosity and get the biography when it reaches publication stage.

7. Fictionalised and presented as Non-fiction.

Nonfiction is the category known for a biography

Therefore, any biography that is fictionalised and presented to the public as non-fiction is going to fail the public perception.

However, fictional biographies are not alien to people, but if they present it as Non-fiction, it will create trust and credibility problems that will make it fail in the long run.

8. Left on the shelf for long without patronage.

A biography that is left on the shelf for years without patronage is a simple example of a biography that has gone wrong.

The aim of biographies is to get an audience that will read and benefit from the life history of others through past mistakes, risk and hard work of the subject that leads them to success.

However, if after all the research process, time and resources put into the publication of the biography people refuse to read it, that biography has gone wrong against the intention of why it was published.

9. If it is about an unknown person with no known achievement.

Unknown individual’s biography rarely perform well in the market.

People are more interested in reading about celebrities and other successful personalities.

Unknown individual biography cannot generate interest from the public if the person has done something extraordinary.

Going bad is a most for a biography of an unknown subject with no known verifiable achievements to show.

Majority of us don’t look for an unknown biography twice on a bookshelf but a familiar name on a bookshelf can get our attention.

10. Poor editing.

Editing is an important aspect of writing any type of book.

Poor editing of a biography can cause more damages that cannot be quantified.

After writing a biography draft, there is a need for a for a wonderful editor or group of editors to work extensively on it in other to remove all types of errors that can cause damage to the biography.

However, when a biography is poorly edited before publishing, the consequences of that decision may lead to the failure of the biography.

11. The author is a known convict or fugitive.

A biography can go wrong if the author is a well-known fugitive or a person with a criminal offence record in the past.

Integrity of a writer is very important to the success or failure of a book.

Therefore, no matter the good content in a biography, people will not patronise it if the author is a known fugitive.

12. Publishing classified information got through an illegal method.

Classified information that is kept as a secret or the owner discuss it in confidence with another person cannot be use in a biography without the person’s consent.

Publishing informations that is not generated through legal means is going to cause the failure of the biography because of the possibility of seeking legal redress in a court of law.

13. Zero rating from readers.

Rating from readers is a judgement to any book or product on whether it is good or bad.

If a biography is receiving poor rating from readers is a sign that the biography has done something wrong.

A well researched and edited biography with good content is going to receive a favourable rating from the readers while a poorly research, poor content without good editing is going to receive bad ratings from the readers in other to show their displeasure on it.

14. If content is not family friendly.

All biographies are family friendly, that all categories of people can read without restrictions.

However, when a biography is full of nasty words, sexuality related contents and other illegal activities that can cause harm to some categories of people, particularly children, it is a simple example of a biography that has gone wrong.

A biography with adult related content is not a biography that is going to do well in the market.

The moral standard of our society frown at such type of informations in a biography.

15. Ban in many countries.

Books that are injurious, false or countries that view it can ban a harm.

Therefore, your biography can get go wrong if many countries ban it because of the contents or to protect public interest.

However, a biography with good content that has violated no law cannot be banned with no justification.

16. Higher cost of publishing that is not recovered.

We can use hundreds of thousands of dollars in conducting research and publication of a book in anticipation of the book becoming an instant bestsellers.

However nobody has the guarantee of the success or failure of the biography after its publication.

They subjected the biography after publication to external forces that are not under the control of both the writer and the publisher

Therefore, we can assume that a biography has gone wrong if the cost of producing the biography is much higher than the revenue it generates.

A biography that consumes five hundred thousand dollars in research and publications while it generated only ten thousand dollars in a year is an obvious example of a biography gone wrong.

17. Court can initiate a recall long after publication.

Legal cases take a significant amount of time, especially if it is very technical.

A competent court of law can order the recall of a biography long after they published it in other to correct a false information or to remove an injurious information that can damage the reputation of another individual.

Meanwhile, if they decided long after publication a biography court case against a biography, recalling the biography will cost both the publishers and the writer severe financial implications and future reputation.

18. Poor review by literary giants.

Poor review from influential writers and publishing magazines will have a negative effect on a biography.

The people that are considered leaders in the in the industry have a lot of influence when they give a negative reviews on a biography.

When it is not favourable, it will impact the biography.


A biography can go wrong if one of the following issues occurs. The issues that will impact a biography include:

  • Mispresentation of information.
  • Poor research work.
  • Plagiarise content.
  • Series of litigations.
  • Rejected by the public.
  • Adverse publicity.
  • Fictionalised and presented as Non-fiction.
  • Left on the shelf for long without patronage.
  • If it is about an unknown person with no known achievement.
  • Poor editing.
  • Author is a known convict or fugitive.
  • It exposed classified information got through an illegal method.
  • Zero rating from reader
  • Poor review from literary giants.
  • If content is not family friendly.
  • Ban in many countries.
  • Higher cost of publishing that are not recovered.
  • Court initiated recall long after publication.



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