Saturday, April 20, 2019

my pub credits are two academic books

Dearest Query Shark,
When I write my query letter for my Young Adult novel, should I mention the fact that I have published two academic history books with university presses? Or will such information just seem obnoxiously irrelevant, given that the novel is not historical fiction?

There are two questions here.
1. If I mention this will I look obnoxious?

2. Will it help me to mention it?

The answer to both is no.
But the real answer is it won't hurt you, either.

But the best answer is: don't take up scarce real estate in a query (remember you've only got 250 words!) with something that isn't a plus.

While two academic history books are indeed a publishing credit, they are not the kind of writing you're doing now; they're sold to entirely different markets, and in entirely different ways.

The publishing credit that does help you are books or stories that were acquired for a trade audience. Not necessarily YA but trade in general.

Bottom line: I never passed on any project that interested me cause the author didn't have any pub credits, or had pubbed Studies in Shark Bites: An Analysis of Query Letters Received by Barbara Poelle.


Joseph S. said...

Today's question and its answer are helpful to me, too. Thanks.

(Speaking of which, Wolters Kluwer published the sixth edition of my co-authored Property law treatise earlier this month.)

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Joseph S., congratulations! I have very little interest in property law, other than where it intersects exactly with what we're allowed to do with our library building/park according to the bequest (they call it a bequest, the dude who gave it to us was still alive in 1917 when he gave it over??)

I've thought (though I'm not sure where I got this thought) that pub credits were still relevant because it showed that you could function within a professional publication agreement. But...anybody who wants to can learn, I suppose!

AJ Blythe said...

It's so hard to know what will work in your favour, and what won't when it comes to the bio and writing credits. Congrats on the previous publishing credits, OP. Shame you haven't written historical YA =)

Joe, that is brilliant news. I'm sure you've told me but as you know I am behind in my emails.

Pericula Ludus said...

Very interesting! I mainly regard my academic works as a shameful secret that my fiction-writing alter ego has to hide. Somehow there isn't much call for my talent for stringing together dreadfully long sentences full of the most Latinate and archaic words.