I've mentioned Literary Rambles a few times, but if you aren't following that blog, you should be. At any rate, this week Casey opened up the blog for questions to the Writer's House agent, Steven Malk, who was kind enough to answer some of them. There are a lot of great questions and answers, and I'll let you go visit the site to read them all. However, right off the bat the first one was especially noteworthy. As a new author, I've never been sure of what to put in the credentials section. I put down my M.A. in English, which is good, but there was nothing else, really. I haven't submitted anything to any contests and all my writing awards are from high school. However, when someone asked Malk that question, he was sure to mention blog writing and other types of writing as important.
Well, obviously I write a blog. I guess I do it well (fishing for compliments here. How pathetic!). I also work in the training department, and a lot of what I do is writing. I have plenty of writing experience. It's just about being able to see it. The same is true for you.
Anyway, here's Malk's full response:
It states on the Submission page to include in your query letter your credentials. What if this is the first book I've ever written and have no "credentials?"
Rest assured that it’s absolutely fine if you’ve never been published before. I’ve worked with new writers throughout my career and it’s something I greatly enjoy. However, keep in mind that credentials don’t pertain solely to books that you’ve published. Perhaps you’ve published short stories, magazine articles, maintained a blog, or done other types of writing. Or you could be connected to the writing community in other ways, such as working at a bookstore, attending writers conferences, or just having a lifelong love of reading. Those all count as credentials in my book, and they’d certainly be worth noting in your query.