I must start off by explaining that I am a Stephenie Meyers writing convert—she said go for it, and I did. So I have this ms, actually two now, and I have been scouring your blog and others to figure out what on earth I am supposed to do at this point.
One of my sources gave a sample query that I have used to get started, but at the bottom, it says I should list my sources, ie. degrees, writing accomplishments, books or articles published, etc. What does one put in this part of the query if she has nothing? It seems a little pathetic to say that “the girls in my book club really liked it.”
Can you make any recommendations as to what the extremely green writer would cite as a source? Or do I just not say anything?
There’s nothing to be embarrassed about if you have no writing credentials. Everyone starts out green.
At that point in the query, state that this is your debut novel and leave it at that. Let your manuscript speak for itself. If it’s well-written, you don’t need credentials. If it’s poorly written, it doesn’t matter how long your cred list is. It’s still going to bomb.
If you happen to have a hobby or some life experience that makes you an “expert” on some unusual aspect of the story you’ve written (example: if your story is a murder mystery set in the bull raising industry and you just happen to have raised bulls all your life), then you can include that. That way, if the agent/editor is unfamiliar with the setting (or whatever), they’ll have some confidence that your details are legit.
(But don’t worry about it if you DON’T have expertise in every area of your story. That’s what research is for.)
3 thoughts on “Credentials Are Not a Big Deal—Good Writing Is!”
That's good advice. I read short story submissions, so it's a little different, but I don't even look at the publishing credits until after I've read the story anyway, so it doesn't usually influence my decision. A good story is a good story.
I've often said, following the so-called "rules" isn't nearly as important than writing a gripping story. I'm sure we've all seen bunches of novels poorly written, yet are best sellers because the story line is so compelling.
This makes me feel better. I also have a verrrry short list of creds, and it's nice to know that I still have a chance.
Besides, it makes sense that everyone has to start somewhere, doesn't it?
Put it on Paper
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