Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Query question: writing credits

I know the query is really all about the book and writing creds don't matter that much, but what if the agency specifically states "writing credits" in their submission guidelines? As a writer who really doesn't have many to boast of, should I just send in the query without a bio anyway?

A bio is NOT the same thing as writing credits. My bio is: Janet Reid is a fearsome shark who gnaws on writers for fun and profit. My writing credits are: zilch.

If you've had work published you list it.
If you haven't, you don't.

Under NO circumstances do you reach back to "I was  published in my high school newspaper" unless you are still attending high school.  Writing contests are not writing credits. Published work is the only thing that counts (and not self-pubbed either, sorry.)

And while I'm emailing you, I would like to give you a big pile of hypothetical bunny rabbits, because your blog and Query Shark are SO helpful.

I was wondering who sent these guys.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

"Published work is the only thing that counts..."

Actually I don't think all published work counts unless it's in your genre. I'd like to be wrong on this bbbut, bbbut...I stutter when in the mist of ye who knows all.

LynnRodz said...

@Carolynnwith2Ns: Bbbut, my "Bunny Tales" in the Bunny Bi-monthly Bulletin are an exception to that rule, right?!

Melissa said...

Carolyn, I've had agents tell me to include my nonfiction books in my bio because, though I'm querying a thriller, it shows that my writing has been selected by a publisher and I have experience in the publishing world. Other agents might have different opinions.

I would also recommend to any writer to work on their short stories. It's a great way to hone your writing and editing skills, practice submitting, and bone up your writing creds. I use to find publishers of short fiction.

Janet Reid said...

Published work, even if not in the genre being queried, can be listed if needed. Published work in another field > zilch.

I second the short story idea.

Colin Smith said...

How about a win in a Janet Reid Writing Contest? Those are universally recognized, aren't they? ;)

Emily Shotwell said...

So if you are querying an agent for the novel you have written, then in the writing credits you shouldn't list credits other than any fiction that you have authored that has been published, correct? I have done editorial and investigative work for several magazines. That would not be listed unless I was querying about a non-fiction book that was on the same or similar subject as a particular editorial/investigative piece?
ps- love query shark. querying is the most terrifying part of the process IMHO.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I'm with Colin on that one. :)

Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption

Christopher Meades said...

I suggest all unpublished writers should spend at least 6 months trying to get short stories published in literary journals. If your work is really good, you'll have publishing credits in no time. The cream really does rise to the top.....

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Hypothetical Bunnies?

I saw them open for the Animals.

But seriously, hypothetical, conjectural, assumed rabbits? Bunnies not supported by evidence? I'm just trying to figure out what that means.

Michael Seese said...

You say not to mention awards. But what if it's a major award that people will recognize, like the Nelson Algren Literary Awards of the Chicago Tribune, which I plan to win in about a month.

DLM said...

@Michael Seese, she said not to mention contests, but I would imagine a win/award is a different thing. Good luck next month!

Terri Lynn Coop said...

So, leave out my 4th grade reading award . . . *check*

Since you already have plenty of bunnies, I'll pay you in pandas:

Tom Piccirilli's Panda Stampede


LynnRodz said...

I love it! Thanks for sharing, Terri.