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, Christophe Strobbe, Skooba, Riker Jan 3 '18 at 16:10

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  • 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 Dec 28 '17 at 19:19

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