If I had a dollar for every author who reached out to me agonizing over the bio section of their query letter I would have enough money to personally buy Amazon dot com.
In particular, authors agonize over whether they have sufficient publishing credits and whether said publishing credits are properly framed. (Here’s how to list publishing credits, for what it’s worth).
But here’s the thing, folks: you probably don’t need publishing credits.Agents don’t tend to care all that much, particularly for fiction.
If you’re writing fiction, publishing credits can definitely help attract an agent if you’ve been published in major publications. But if you have the type of publishing credits that would impress an agent your inbox is already full of inquiries from agents wondering if you have representation.
And if you don’t have publishing credits, it doesn’t really matter that much if you have a novel that an agent will love. I didn’t have a publication credit to my name before I got a book deal for Jacob Wonderbar.
For nonfiction, your platform really matters and publishing credits may well be a part of that platform. But they don’t have to be publishing credits. If you have a good book idea and a wildly popular YouTube channel and you’ve never written an article in your life, publishers will not likely care.
Don’t get me wrong. Publishing credits can help. But you probably don’t need them. I’d focus much more of your energy on writing a great book.
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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Art: The Governors of the Guild of St Luke, Haarlem by Jan de Bray