Nathan Bransford, Author


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

How (And Whether) to List Your Publishing Credits

**It is my duty to report that there is a new scourge sweeping our nation's queries: people are saying they are a published author without providing (1) the publishing house and/or (2) the year it was published. Please be vigilant. This is a code orange.**

I've previously blogged about what to do if you don't have publishing credits, but after yesterday's seven hundred page dissertation on The Wire I thought I'd do more of a nuts and bolts post that encompasses everything publishing credity.

- As mentioned, if you have published a book, whether through a maintstream publisher or self-publisher: I need 1) the publisher and 2) the year, and this goes for every book you list. If it's not there I'm just going to go look it up anyway, so might as well save me a trip to my local neighborhood Amazon.com.

- Self-published authors: I am sorry to say you are not a "published author" by the parlance of the industry, and should not use that term to describe yourself. "Published," at least according to this publishing industry member's reading of the term, means that an editor judged your work acceptable, paid you for it, and published it in physical book form. If you are self-published it is perfectly acceptable to say you are self-published, although you might look at this post for some tips on some of the things I look for in self-published authors.

- Publishing credits from journals and stuff: these should only be listed if they directly relate to your project. So, for instance, if you have a novel, it's totally fine to list the literary magazines and journals where you have been published, even if it's not a strict genre match. Some newspapery articles might be fine as well if they're in the ballpark of your novel. But if you're pitching a novel to me I really don't need to know that you had articles published in, say, medical journals (unless obv. it relates to your project) or if you wrote a lot for your advertising agency once upon a time. Make sure it's germane. Same (in the reverse) goes for nonfiction. But in the end I'd rather see no publishing credits than a list of things that have nothing to with your project.

- If you have a MFA: absolutely please mention it. However, be aware that while I'm sure you're awesome, for some reason MFAs are notoriously bad queriers, and you should not assume that your MFA alone is a ticket to a partial request or more. You're being held to the same query standards as the non-MFA crowd, although perhaps with a small bump. Wait... no... sto... DON'T TORCH YOUR DIPLOMA! YOU GOT TO WRITE FULL TIME FOR TWO YEARS!

- If you don't have publishing credits: do not worry. They're not necessary. The ranks of people who have been published without a single credit to their name are legion. Just say "This is my first novel" and say it proud. Don't apologize, don't spend two pages telling about how much you love to write. Heck, you could hate writing more than life itself and if your book is good I won't even care. Whatever it takes you get the job done.

The most important thing to remember about publishing credits big and small is the focus should be on the project you are querying about, not on your credits. You could be the author of the Bhagavad Gita and I'd still be wondering what you're working on now. Publishing credits can certainly boost a query, but it's your description of the project you're querying me about that is key.






77 comments:

Adaora A. said...

I had my book published...at my local staples. They bound it for me and I passed it around in my local train station. $20 a pop. Can I mention that? Do you get those sort of 'publishing credits?"

MFA's have worse queries then non MFA's? Wow, I would have thought they'd be stellar for sure. Then again, many great authors out there didn't even take an MFA. ::cough::; John Grisham was a lawyer!

I remember that post about not sweating the lack of publishing credits. It was the day collective sighs - of relief - from around the world were heard.

Mark Terry said...

Dear Nathan,
I've only published four novels, but my last one did pretty well. It was called The Da Vinci Code. I'm looking for new representation? Are you interested?

Cheers,
Dan Brown

Nathan Bransford said...

Dear Dan,

Yes.

Smooches,
Nathan

Elyssa Papa said...

Stupid question: But why does a MFA seem to get more of a bump over other queriers?

Nathan Bransford said...

Elyssa-

Because (presumably) someone believed in their talent to let them into school and they spent two years honing their writing skills. I think it will increase someone's odds of getting some attention, but it's not everything.

Anonymous said...

So what if your work was bought by an editor, paid for with real money, but only published online? What if you're neither self-published nor mainstream-published?

Nathan Bransford said...

anon-

Yeah, I parsed my words intentionally. I don't think most agents and editors would consider an e-published work under the "published author" rubric. Yes, there's a bias. Fair or not. It will probably change. For now, to me at least, "published author" means a physical book publisher.

I'm just the messenger.

Josephine Damian said...

Mark: Good one!

Nathan: I'd read in some agent advice book that if you're self-published and sold 5000 copies of your book, then mention the book in the query - if not, leave it out of the query entirely.

So many folks in my writers group have self-published and are deluding themselves into thinking it means more in the grand scheme of the real publishing world than it does.

Maybe the MFA types don't think they have to try as hard as the rest of us by sheer fact that they have an MFA, or maybe they think that since some school considerd them worthy of admission based on their writing, that there's no need for improvement. As if.

MFA or not, writers need to get the message that queries require a different skill set from fiction writing.

Nathan Bransford said...

josephine-

Yes, you're right. There's no rule that says you have to mention a self-published book in your query. You should mention it to your agent at some point, but you don't necessarily have to talk about it right off the bat.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

You mean that selfpublished zine I had ten years ago will do nadda for me? *g*

I do proudly state I'm shopping around my first book... and the contests it's won through RWA.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

Wait, did I read that right... You don't mention epublishers in mainstream?
They are pretty common in romance and erotica, and recognized by RWA as a serious publisher. Though some of them do POD and eventually release an actual book on paper (usually a year later).

Heidi said...

In Noah Lukeman's book, How to Write A Great Query, he basically says a huge percentage of agents will skip to the bio paragraph and throw out any letter without real publishing credits, without even reading the rest of the letter.

Is there a way to know before I query whether or not I even have a shot? If AgentQuery says they take on new authors, or their bio on Marketplace say that, I assume I don't need to have publishing credits. Is this naive?

Is it true that most agents do require credits (you aside, of course)?

Nathan Bransford said...

tiffany-

I think it's helpful for people to be specific. You're right that e-publishing carries more weight in certain genres than others, but someone who has successfully e-published should say they have successfully e-published rather than saying, vaguely, that they're a "published" author.

Nathan Bransford said...

heidi-

I don't agree that you have to have publishing credits, and the agents on the panel at the San Francisco Writer's Conference were also unanimous on this point. They can help, but we'd rather have a great project.

Tiffany Kenzie said...

Ah, gotcha. Merci. And heck yeah I wouldn't be vague.

AmyB said...

Thanks for this post; this is really useful information.

As one of those authors without publishing credits, I struggle with the bio paragraph. Is it of value for me to mention any of the following:

1. My profession and college degree (which are not relevant to the novel I'm querying)?

2. Participation in critique groups and/or workshops?

3. The fact that I read 100+ books per year?

Or should I just write "This is my first novel" and let that be my entire bio paragraph?

Steph Leite said...

You say you care more about the work itself, but I've always wondered what would happen if someone wrote this amazing novel that was sure to be a blockbuster, the agent called them offering representation, and they got a little TMI with them about their private affairs...

In any case, this surely does help. I've heard so many agents say DO NOT LIST PUB CREDITS IF YOU DON'T HAVE ANY ULTIMATELY WE CARE ABOUT YOUR PROJECT, that I'm more relaxed about the fact that I'm completely unpublished. I've never subbed to magazines anyway. :)

- Steph

Nathan Bransford said...

amyb-

I think it's good to provide some background. If you're a member of a critique group I think you can mention that. I don't know that I'd mention that you read a lot, because I think that would go without saying.

Heather Wardell said...

Thanks for this, Nathan. I have a self-published non-fiction book, which I've never mentioned in queries for my novels because it's not related to them, and I've always felt a bit weird "hiding it" from agents. I do intend to tell my agent (when I get one) about the self-published book, and it's good to hear from you that not revealing it now isn't a problem.

Heather

Jackie said...

O M G ! Nathan...if I were an Agent I would take Mr Brown as a client in a heartbeat!

Jackie said...

I agree with what he has written in the Da Vinci Code and read that (here comes my grey hair) when it first was published. Congrats, I read your follow up Blog entry

Jackie said...

sorry, my mind was fried for a moment...Mr Terry

Jackie said...

The Gnostic Gospels, by Elaine Pagels is quite interesting also

Anonymous said...

What do you want to hear from Memoir writers?
Are you still taking them on?
How long should they (a Memoir) be?

Should someone list an educational credit/teaching gig?

Anonymous said...

Nathan,

Let's say I queried you about my first novel, and you passed it. I wrote another novel and want to query you again. Should I still say, Oh, this is my great first novel? But what if you remember me really first novel?

Thanks.

clara said...

Nathan, thank you so much for this topic (well and all the other posts, too). I was actually just surfing in to ask about how agents view e-publishing credits in general and I have an answer appear before my eyes--it's magic!

As an aspiring romance author, I'd be interested in hearing what agents who rep romances think about e-publishing credits (or authors who included such credits in their queries and subsequently obtained representation--do they feel it made a difference?). For example, if someone had three e-books with Samhain, would that mean anything? (I was kinda thinking it would, but maybe I'm assuming wrongly).

Ok, so can this count as a shout out to Jessica, Kristin, and Rachel for some thoughts?

Again, thanks very much for the info!

Nathan Bransford said...

anon@2:48 #1-

Yes, I'm still taking on memoir, and appropriately enough, the "rules" for querying memoir is the same as with a novel -- unless you're an already published author, you're a celebrity or it's an extraordinary situation, you need to have the whole thing finished, and stories in journals work as publishing credits because memoirs depend on your writing ability. See my previous post on length. You can mention what you do for a living in your post, sometimes it helps give background, but it's not essential.

anon@2:48 #2-

If you never published the first one it's still ok to call the second one you've written your first novel. I know plenty of authors who were on their fifth or sixth novel when they had their "first" published.

Nathan Bransford said...

Clara-

I'd also be interested to hear from agents who rep romance on their thoughts on e-publishing, and so I hope any who happen to be lurking will feel free to chime in, or maybe they could blog about it soon.

Nathan Bransford said...

And please, as always, ignore the sketchy grammar in my (hastily written) comments. Yowsers!

Anonymous said...

Nathan, what about publication credits that are completely unrelated to the subject of a query. In my case, I have one book for a roleplaying game publisher--but it was for a science fiction game and I'm writing a mystery novel. Is the publication credit even worth mentioning?

Anonymous said...

I am wondering, some very small presses seem to charge a reading fee.
(25.00 to read your book.)
Other than that, they seem like regular presses.
Are they?
Or are they a segment of the "looked down upon?"

AstonWest said...

Real publishers don't charge you to read your manuscript...

Now, a question or two for Nathan: You mentioned that if the first manuscript was never "published" you could claim a second as your "first novel."

What if you have a first manuscript published, but it doesn't meet the requirements you set forth for being a "published" manuscript? Can the second manuscript still be called your "first novel" or do you call it your "second novel" without even mentioning the first?

Also, is there a set amount of money which triggers the "truly published" tag? I know at least one publisher (who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty) who pays their authors $1. By the strict definitions you set forth, their authors might consider themselves "published" (and have in the past).

Nathan Bransford said...

There are some respected literary journals that have certain charges for submitting to them, but I've never worked with a small press that charged to submit, nor would I.

astonwest-

If they're reputable, go for it. But I wouldn't recommend that an aspiring author leap to claim the "published" tag if they're unsure of their track record -- unless you're published by a mainstream house or reputable small press it may not help that much.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your answer, Nathan.
Is this still true, that they should not legitimately charge a reading fee for small "chapbook"or novella publishers?

(sorry to be so naive)

Deborah said...

Hi Nathan,
On the subject of publishing credentials: I am the author of two non-fiction books published by a reputable company that specializes in Pagan work (Llewellyn)--I am now shopping for an agent for a novel with a Witch as the protagonist. Is this a case in which listing the non-fiction published would work in my favor? Or are these books irrelevant because they are non-fiction and I am trying to find an agent for a novel?

Julie Weathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dr. Dume said...

I don't have any writing qualifications but I do have my own pencil. And a sharpener. And a well-used eraser.

I wonder if short stories are worth mentioning at all? Would it be worth saying where they were or just that there are some? Or even that? What about a relevant regular article slot - would that help or hurt?

I think a variation on the method suggested by Stephen King's 'Misery' would be best. Kidnap an agent, tie them down and force them to read the book. So much easier than writing the query. And it saves on postage too.

Nathan Bransford said...

Sorry, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to parse out different scenarios. Just use your best judgment, and don't worry too much about what you do and don't decide to include. The way you describe your actual project is far more important.

Anonymous said...

dr.dume...


nuts and bolts???

Kalynne Pudner said...

Just out of curiosity, Nathan, what would you want to see as a follow-up to the Bhagavad Gita?

Dr. Dume said...

Use my best judgement? Oh dear. On past experience I'm better off using someone else's.

I'll read some more books.

Anonymous - Sorry, I don't see how the head-retaining device fits into this. Perhaps I should loosen mine?

AstonWest said...

I'll probably hold off any mention of the "published" manuscript unless it sells a ton.

:-)

But once again proving that if you ask 100 writing professionals, you'll get 100 different opinions...this same point came up the other day on a writing website I frequent (where I'd posted a sample query for feedback). A published author who's plugged your blog in the past suggested I include it.

Publishing is such a crazy business.

:-)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Dude, I put up with anti-Semitism, sexism, slander, a hockey puck to the knee so hard I couldn't wear pants in the middle of winter ... and amazing professors and staff.

I ain't torching that diploma. Have no fear. I EARNED that baby.

Furious D said...

Dear Nathan.

I'm really Cormac McCarthy with a couple of books under my belt that won some prizes. I want to do something different and I need a new agent.

It's a 1,500,000 word about the romantic misadventures a wacky plastic surgeon in Beverly Hills, I'm thinking of calling it either All the Pretty Noses, or No Country for Old Women, So Get Some Botox.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cam said...

Anyone out there writing nonfiction? For a nonfiction query, which credit(s) should get top billing? Let's say you're a non-MFA holding zoologist writing a nonfiction book covering fascinating facts about animal genealogy and you've been writing a monthly column for a mainstream science magazine since 2002. Should you highlight the magazine pieces first - OR should you FIRST mention that, as a contributor to the anthology, MATING HABITS IN THE WILD, your essay, "How Parrots Do It" was singled out for praise in a New York Times book review of the anthology?

(Hypothetically speaking, of course)
-Cam

Nathan Bransford said...

cam-

You bring up a good point -- credentials are much more important in nonfiction than in fiction, and so more time should be spent establishing them. Use your judgment on which credits to give top billing, but it's more important to establish a platform in nonfiction than it is for a novel.

Luc2 said...

I read somewhere (can't remember where) that you shouldn't mention short stories published by magazines which don't pay anything for your work (and many magazines don't).
I'd be happy to hear your thoughts about that, Nathan.

another good thing said...

Quick thoughts:
In today's market with PLATFORM being key and MARKETING winning out over literature... isn't it important to show that you understand the industry? that you've been professionally editied and published - in print or online, from contests or lit mag submissions, in anthologies, etc...
I know my agent won't want a one-trick pony, or a hermit, or someone who is ill at ease in front of a camera or reporter or online. Spending a few years building publishing credits, winning writing awards, creating websites, blogs, myspace and facebook pages and making industry connections with authors, editor and agents can be the difference between a good book and a great career.
Isn't it true that publishers aren't as eager or willing to put out like they used to- with marketing and touring and publicists? Leaving it all to an energetic, savvy author.
After all, this IS a business, and what I bring to table brings more money to my pocket and my agent's bank account,right?

www.linda-sands.com
linda.sands@charter.net

Jim Schmidt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Schmidt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Nathan,
just wondering what is your opinion on fiction work-for-hire books with well rescpected packagers? do you list these too?

Jael said...

"Maybe the MFA types don't think they have to try as hard as the rest of us by sheer fact that they have an MFA..."

I don't think that's the case at all... I know my MFA program didn't teach query writing. You'd think there'd be some kind of correlation between being able to write book-length fiction and being able to write a query, but there's really not. So I don't necessarily think "MFA types" (not that there is a type) are being lazy or snotty... lots of them, just like lots of writers without MFAs, never learned the skill.

It's the work that matters, in any case.

Anonymous said...

ROFL ... okay. If I'm understanding correctly, the problem is not what they're listing, but that they're claiming the "published" title?

So me, anon #1 ... I'm quite proud of all the work I've done, and it's paid some of the bills. My question is: Is it more helpful or hurtful to list my experience?

I don't care if people want to call me published, semi-published, not really published, or Scarlett O'Hara.

Kara said...

Nathan,
What a wonderful blog (I am sincere!) and how nice to see you keep such close watch on the questions you get.
So may I ask:
A. do you consider fantasy novels? (you know, long ones, set in a different world, with possible follow up books)?
B. And if that's my genre, let's say, would the fact that I have a PhD in English (not creative writing) count as part of my credentials?
C. Do publications in my country of origin (short story, poetry) count? (they are over 10 years old, I admit)
D.If I become an MFA student (which is under consideration), does that count? I mean, before getting the degree.
E. One more thing - translation of poetry published in the US counts?

P.S. Congrats to your state!!!

Kady said...

In listing publishing credits do you mention books that were published more than 10 years ago and are now out of print?

Joseph L. Selby said...

I've been flip-flopping on whether I should include my writing credits. I was an author for a gaming resource (hardbound book and 33 PDF associated releases). I know they're not novels, but they were written under deadline, edited, and released to the general public. I don't want to seem like I'm padding my resume, but I don't want to sell my efforts short. Any guidance you might be able to offer would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

My name is Walter Moryan, listen and you will understand my reason. On November 27,2004 I trusted BOBBY BARRY after drinking with him when he said that we don't have to walk because hes sober and he can drive.
I was a restrained passenger with a seat belt versus poles. THE JAWS OF LIFE were needed to get only me out of the car. WHAT happened to bobby you ask? He walked away without a scratch or a seat belt.
Then I was in a COMA for 8 days, then brain surgery, neck surgery, and trust me, the list continues. This happened up in New Jersey and now I'm living in Florida proving DRS. and SURGEONS to all be wrong.
Since I am considered a MIRACLE and I WAS CHOSEN, I am begging you to help to get my amazing true story out to our nation. HONESTLY, I want all of the young adults to listen, look at what happened to me. I had my seat belt on while I was in the passenger seat. I THOUGHT I WAS SAFE. I thought he said hes sober, I'm not driving, AND my seat belts on. I THOUGHT AT THAT TIME, I'M SAFE. WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME?"
Before ANYONE gets into that car think about how DUMB that guy Walter was. I think I'm not going to get in. THATS MY GOAL. PLEASE help me and I'm driven on SAVING LIVES.
Being disabled living on social security disability with tbi traumatic brain injury nobody takes anything I say seriously. So, I asking you, with your structure to help me get my POSITIVE message out to the world. Thank You Sincerely,
Walter Moryan

Anonymous said...

My name is Walter Moryan, listen and you will understand my reason. On November 27,2004 I trusted BOBBY BARRY after drinking with him when he said that we don't have to walk because hes sober and he can drive.
I was a restrained passenger with a seat belt versus poles. THE JAWS OF LIFE were needed to get only me out of the car. WHAT happened to bobby you ask? He walked away without a scratch or a seat belt.
Then I was in a COMA for 8 days, then brain surgery, neck surgery, and trust me, the list continues. This happened up in New Jersey and now I'm living in Florida proving DRS. and SURGEONS to all be wrong.
Since I am considered a MIRACLE and I WAS CHOSEN, I am begging you to help to get my amazing true story out to our nation. HONESTLY, I want all of the young adults to listen, look at what happened to me. I had my seat belt on while I was in the passenger seat. I THOUGHT I WAS SAFE. I thought he said hes sober, I'm not driving, AND my seat belts on. I THOUGHT AT THAT TIME, I'M SAFE. WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME?"
Before ANYONE gets into that car think about how DUMB that guy Walter was. I think I'm not going to get in. THATS MY GOAL. PLEASE help me and I'm driven on SAVING LIVES.
Being disabled living on social security disability with tbi traumatic brain injury nobody takes anything I say seriously. So, I asking you, with your structure to help me get my POSITIVE message out to the world. Thank You Sincerely,
Walter Moryan

Anonymous said...

My name is Walter Moryan, listen and you will understand my reason. On November 27,2004 I trusted BOBBY BARRY after drinking with him when he said that we don't have to walk because hes sober and he can drive.
I was a restrained passenger with a seat belt versus poles. THE JAWS OF LIFE were needed to get only me out of the car. WHAT happened to bobby you ask? He walked away without a scratch or a seat belt.
Then I was in a COMA for 8 days, then brain surgery, neck surgery, and trust me, the list continues. This happened up in New Jersey and now I'm living in Florida proving DRS. and SURGEONS to all be wrong.
Since I am considered a MIRACLE and I WAS CHOSEN, I am begging you to help to get my amazing true story out to our nation. HONESTLY, I want all of the young adults to listen, look at what happened to me. I had my seat belt on while I was in the passenger seat. I THOUGHT I WAS SAFE. I thought he said hes sober, I'm not driving, AND my seat belts on. I THOUGHT AT THAT TIME, I'M SAFE. WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME?"
Before ANYONE gets into that car think about how DUMB that guy Walter was. I think I'm not going to get in. THATS MY GOAL. PLEASE help me and I'm driven on SAVING LIVES.
Being disabled living on social security disability with tbi traumatic brain injury nobody takes anything I say seriously. So, I asking you, with your structure to help me get my POSITIVE message out to the world. Thank You Sincerely,
Walter Moryan

Claudette said...

Could it be possible that mainstream publishing is leading the charge to discredit anything not associated with them (like self-publishing) for obvious reasons? It keeps them king of the hill, so to speak. So far, it's working. Just saying ...

JustineHedman said...

Okay, so I'm trying to get an agent and have no "published credits." So should I purposely dismiss my author bio? Or should I substitute with my knowledge on the agent that I'm querying and hope they don't think I'm a stalker or will they just assume I've done my homework?

Justine

D.R. Howell said...

As always excellent post, I really needed to clarify the whole publishing credits business.

One question I have has to do with the work you are querying. Suppose you have self-published the book, or maybe the book has been adapted in another form of media before say comics, a short film etc. Would this raise a red light for the agent?

Do agents deny work that has been released already? Even if that release may not be on the scale or form the writer likes?

Eagerly waiting your reply.

Delvin Howell

Donna said...

I know this is an old blog, but the info is still relevant. One of the answers Nathan posted was that you could mention you are a member of a writer's group.

I asked my own writer's group leader about this, and she stated that unless it is a nationally recognized group, don't mention a local writer's group in your query.

So, if I am a member of a small, local writers group, and have taken a couple on-line writers courses, is that relevant for writer's credits in a query, or should they be left out?

Rhyanna said...

HI Nathan..then I guess i can leave out the website and fact that i have written several short stories and the prize was to be published on their website. I am proud of that fact.
ALso, since I have several completed manuscripts but only querying about one, should I mention that although unpublished with several completed manuscrips i'd like you to read this one and thanks for your time in reading both my email query, synopsis and manuscript...
curious Rhyanna
wants to know the appropriate steps

Sara ♥ said...

I'm currently in my second semester (post-grad) of a creative writing workshop class. My professor is an accomplished author and is this year's recipient of the Dos Passos Prize for Literature.

Is that something worth mentioning?

Anonymous said...

HI Nathan

I read and agreed with your comments regarding Epublishing and whether to mention it. I do have one previous experience I wonder if I should mention in queries. Its a short story I submitted a couple of years ago. My first ever submission was accepted and included in a print anthology by a fairly well known romance and erotica author. Would mentioning this help or hinder me in my queries, or is it so insignificant that it doesn't matter??

booky mcbook said...

Dear Nathan,
Are credits in film and television worth mentioning in a query letter, eg writer or producer of a network show? What about sales of movies to well known studios, if those movies have not gone on to be produced?
Thanks,
Jason

Anonymous said...

I just got a letter back from a publishing company that said they were interested in reviewing my material. I'm so excited but don't want to get my hopes up and this blog was so helpful and relieving...Because I don't have publishing credits...

Now my next step is to write a letter telling them this. I can't think of what to put other two sentences. "Thanks. And I have no credits." Will this look bad if I send them a letter with nothing else?

Thanks!!

Nuclear Haircut said...

Nathan

Thanks for the great post. I had a question about publishing credits related to the large population of eZines out there (i.e. sites like Short-Story.me or First Reflections) Both of the named examples compensate for writing, have editorial staff etc. Would you consider these credible publishing credits and of value to list in a query?

Linda Adams said...

Thank you for this one. I have credits all over the map, and none of them related to the book I'm submitting. I always had the feeling on my queries that they weren't helping me. I decided to leave them off my current query letter, but I've had critiquers fuss at me, telling me I need to include them anyway. This tells me what I need to do.

Austa said...

At the risk of sounding idiotic, I would like to ask what a MFA is.

Danni said...

Here is my question "What if I have a big publisher who has requested to see my manuscripts? Do I mention this in my query to the agent?" I sent in one of my stories and it was rejected but the Editorial Director liked my writing. She would like for me to send in additional manuscripts and told me to label them, "Requested Material." If I am going to query an agent about representation then..."How do I submit if I want representation for all of my books? Should I select the best one and pitch that particular story? Help!

Nathan Bransford said...

danni-

Please see this post.

fayeday said...

Nathan-

Hi, I'm fairly new to your blog but it's been really useful. I have a quick question, though.
I'm only 16, but I have a finished manuscript for a novel in verse and I'm seriously considering trying to get it published. I have some credentials- I've been published in local poetry anthologies- but I don't know if those will be enough. Also, should I mention my age in the letter to explain the dearth of credits, or would that be shooting myself in the foot? ("She's 16?? Pssh, she can't write." *chucks out query*)

Thanks so much!

Emma Ennis said...

Hi Nathan,

I'm looking for representation on my first novel - the first of a trilogy - although I have already had a short story collection published by a small press in 2011.

Besides this I've had numerous short stories published by other small presses, most of them 'for the love' and some paying ones that have since closed down. My question is this - do I mention these 'for the love' acceptances, and/or the paying acceptances with presses which no longer exist?

I've heard more than once that mentioning these can actually be more harmful than having no credits at all. What are your thoughts?

Nathan Bransford said...

Emma-

It's not really a make-or-break thing, but I would go ahead and include some of the ones you're proudest of.

Related Posts with Thumbnails