First things first, a little late-Spring cleaning since the blog has been looking a little disheveled and dust bunnies have begun accumulating in the archives: Since I can no longer really expect someone to read all 110 posts on this blog (and God help you if you have), I now have a list of the “essential” posts listed on the front page. If you are thinking of submitting a query, please please please at the very least read these posts first, which will not only increase your chances of getting a partial request by approximately 1,000%, they may also save your life. (Yes, really….. Ok, not really)
Secondarily, in order to round out the essential posts, I’d like to devote one post to perhaps the most-asked question of all time: what do you put in the “publishing credits” section of the query letter if you don’t have any publishing credits?
Are you ready?
Nothing. Just say it’s your first novel. Don’t apologize, don’t beseech my pardon for not having placed a short story before, don’t insist that you’re a serious writer even though you’re not published, don’t reflect on the vagaries of the publishing industry and your frustration at not being a member of the holy publishing “club” (if there is a club I’m not getting the invitations). Just say it’s your first novel — I’m much more interested in your story, trust me.
Now, if you ARE listing publishing credits, there are things to keep in mind as well. You should not claim to be a “published writer” if you self-published your previous book(s), or if you’ve only had short stories published in journals. If you were actually published through traditional means, please be very specific about the year and the publisher.
Publishing credits won’t guarantee a request for a partial, and a lack of publishing credits won’t guarantee that you’ll get rejected. Think of publishing credits like icing on a cake — cake still tastes good even without icing on top.
There we are. Spring cleaning over. Now with a little dash of potpourri this blog should be good as new.