+44-203-885-5296    |

[email protected]    |

   Talk to an expert

What Is the Difference Between a Biography and an Autobiography

  • |
  • August 4, 2023
  • |
  • 6 min read



Biography and autobiography are two different ways of telling someone’s life story. Biography is nonfiction writing that tells someone else’s story, while an autobiography is about yourself and your own experiences.

However, they aren’t always that different from one another. Both types of writing tell stories with facts and details about specific people or events.

So, whether you’re a literature enthusiast or simply curious about the world of words, join Book Writing Founders UK on this enlightening expedition of biography and autobiography. Let’s journey together through the pages of history and learn about the difference between these two similar but very different genres.

Story Aspect:

Biographies tell the story of the person’s life and work through research. Biographers usually aren’t friends with their subjects, so they must learn everything about them from other sources.

Biographies can be written by people involved in the subject’s life (like family members). For example: if your dad was an Olympic athlete, he might write a biography about himself!

Biography is often confused with autobiography because they’re both nonfiction forms that tell real stories about real people. But whereas autobiographies are written by their subjects after they’ve died. Or sometimes, even before they die–biographies are usually written by someone other than the person whose life it is telling. This person may even have never met them at all!

An autobiography is like a personal journey put into words. It’s a story about things that happened to someone, even if they didn’t plan for it. Dive deeper into the world of autobiography in our blog post on how to write an autobiography and its example.

When writing an autobiography, the person usually talks about themselves using words like ‘I’ and ‘me.’ Imagine it’s like they’re telling their story directly to you.

Now, consider a biography a story about someone else’s life. It’s like returning to learn about people who made a mark in history.

For instance, Abraham Lincoln, born on February 12th, 1809, became a President and faced many challenges. He was even at a theater when something terrible happened.

The tone of writing:

Biographies are written in a more formal tone than autobiographical works. The author of a biography is often not involved with the story and, therefore, must rely on research to tell it. In contrast, autobiographers write from firsthand experience and do not need outside sources. They can simply relay their own experiences as they remember them.

Autobiographies are written in the first person and focus on the writer’s experiences. For example: ‘When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut.’ Discover more about autobiographical writing in our post about how to write a copywriting brief that helps. For example: “When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut.”

Biography and autobiography differ because biographers usually write about other people’s lives. They’re usually not writing about themselves or their own experiences. Instead, they’re writing about someone who has lived through a significant event (like being president) or has made a significant impact in their field (like Albert Einstein).

Objective vs. Subjective:

Let’s dive a bit deeper into biography and autobiography. They’re like stories about people’s lives, but guess what? The ones writing these stories weren’t part of the action. Learn how writers approach the subject in our article on how to become a ghostwriter. They might have talked to the person they’re writing about in a friendly chat, but that doesn’t mean they agree with everything that person says. These writers are like detectives, looking for clues to tell the story as honestly as possible.

Here’s the cool part: about biography and autobiography. These writers of biographies are professionals, and you will very often catch them slipping up. They don’t take sides or let their opinions get in the way. They wear special glasses to see things clearly and show us the facts.

Autobiographies tend to be more subjective, focusing on one person’s perspective. An autobiography is a special kind of true story where the author writes about their own life. They talk about what they’ve done, how they feel, and what they think. Sometimes, they also share a bit about what happened before they decided to write their autobiography. Dive deeper into autobiographical perspectives in our blog post on what is ghostwriting and how does ghostwriting work.

An autobiography is a special kind of true story where the author writes about their own life. They talk about what they’ve done, how they feel, and what they think. Sometimes, they also share a bit about what happened before they decided to write their autobiography.

But it’s not just a list of things that happened. Autobiographies help us understand ourselves better. Imagine it’s like looking into a mirror, but instead of seeing your reflection, you see your choices, what’s important to you, and what you believe in. These stories are like a peek into someone’s heart.

So, when you read a biography and autobiography, you’re getting to know someone in a personal way.

Perspective of Writing:

Biographies are like special stories about people who are no longer with us, but sometimes, they can also be about people who are alive and have done something important.

Let’s say you wanted to write about Albert Einstein and all the amazing things he did with the theory of relativity. Since he’s not here anymore, that would be a biography. But if he was still alive and you were writing about his life, that would be an autobiography.

Biographies aren’t just about the big moments in someone’s life. They can also talk about what happened even before they were born or after they passed away. Imagine reading about where they grew up, lived, what they liked to do for fun, and even where they went to school. It’s like getting a behind-the-scenes look at their entire life journey!

Autobiographies are written by the person themselves or from their perspective (if written by someone else) while they are still alive. Generally speaking, they will not include any information that would otherwise cause harm to someone who is still living after the publication of the book/article etc.


So, what is the difference between a biography and an autobiography?

A biography tells the story of someone’s life through research by an author who chooses what information to present. An autobiography is written by someone who has been through an experience (even if they didn’t want to be in that position). It uses a more casual, conversational tone than a formal one, like in biographies.

That was quite a journey through the realms of biography and autobiography. By now, you’ve probably picked up the differences like a pro between biography and autobiography. Remember, biographies let us explore the world through different eyes, while autobiographies invite us to walk in the author’s shoes.

So next time you grab a book about someone’s life story, whether a biography or an autobiography, you’ll know exactly what to expect.

Ready to Become a Published Author?

Let us guide you through the book writing and publishing process. Your story deserves to be heard!

Publish My Book!

Get In-depth Consultation Today!
Connect Now for Comprehensive Book Publishing Support!

Get Started +44-203-885-5296 Live Chat
Google books icon
amazon books image
alibris books image
ingram image
barnes and noble image