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Presumably, in order for there to be a biography of someone, someone else must decide that they're worth writing a biography about.

How is this determination made? I assume that publishers are interested mostly in selecting biographies that are likely to sell well. Some prominent public figures (autobiographies by ex-Presidents, for example, typically make the bestseller list) are obvious candidates, but what about "lesser-known" individuals?

Is there a particular standard for how notable or "interesting" someone had to be?

It seems a bit arbitrary at times why certain people have biographies written about them and other people don't. For every prominent public figure who has a biography, you could probably find dozens of equally prominent people who don't.

What's the usual process for an author or publisher deciding to write (or publish) a biography on someone? What kinds of things might a publisher consider? What reasons might they give for publishing a biography on a particular individual, and what reasons might they give for not publishing a biography on a different individual?

closed as too broad by user111, Rand al'Thor, user800, Skooba, Riker Jan 3 '18 at 16:10

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • This is way too broad. There isnt a set process for which biographies make it to publication in the same way that there isnt a set process for which books get published. It depends on so many factors. – user111 Dec 28 '17 at 17:48
  • @Hamlet I would imagine that there's not really a set process, and that it would likely vary some between publishers, but what kinds of things might a publisher consider when deciding which biographies they should publish? Why might someone have a biography published about them, and why might someone else be "passed up"? – EJoshuaS - Reinstate Monica Dec 28 '17 at 19:19

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