Dear Miss Snark,
Thank you for all the advice you give your readers!
I've written quite a few erotic stories and novellas, under a pen name, that have sold on the internet.
I've heard that agents hate hearing about internet publishing (even when the author is paid?), so that's my first reservation in including my experience in a query letter.
My second is that I'd rather not reveal my penname, because I started out writing (in adulthood, at least) on a lark, for a contest. Then I just wrote a ton and fast because I needed the money, so I learned the craft as I went along. With my luck, a googling agent would stumble across my first rocky writings out there. An agent wouldn't pay to read my old work, right? Would they just request the current project if it suited them?
Is my only alternative to pretend that I'm a beginning writer with no experience? Or include my experience without revealing my penname? And if I do mention that I've been published on the internet, do I need to mention that I actually got paid for it, lol?
The previous stuff is not a 'platform' to build on, as I'm writing in a different genre now. Or should I just write about my current novel, and not worry about anything else?
Sorry (and thanks!) in advance for what is sure to be a stupid question worthy of snarkiness! (sorry, no nitwit award for you today, but you are eligible to compete next week)
Well, I think you've crafted a fine query letter here, albeit a tad wordy. There's nothing wrong with fessing up to paid writing gigs that involved heaving bosoms and breathless prose..many successful writers got their start in ...ahem...romance. Your romance is just a touch more ... visceral.
Don't lie and say you are a first time writer. First, it's not true, second, your tawdry past as a paid writer is actually a plus.
Include great pages from this new work, and people probably will want to read your old stuff which would be hilarious: agents paying to read your work.