Dear Miss Snark,
I have been working on a novel for several years and I think that I am finally ready to seek representation. All my publications to date--and they are few--are academic. Is it worth mentioning them? Would an agent care about an article on an obscure topic in an equally obscure journal?
I am also in the slightly odd position of being an extremely mediocre academic at a very prestigious university. My mediocrity might not be apparent to anyone outside my field (touch wood); would the name of the institution carry any weight? I realize that this is shameless. And I am ashamed of my shamelessness. But should I mention it? A google search would, of course, turn this information up. Would it seem strange if I HADN'T mentioned it? Am I obsessing over nothing?
Well, you're a writer, you have to obsess over something. Soon enough you'll be obsessing over form rejection letters.
First, about those academic journals. Frankly, I'd leave them off. Usually when I see a query letter that talks about academic or legal writing my first reaction is "uh oh" cause what works in academia and legal briefs is NOT generally what works in a novel. When you're writing for those audiences you spell everything out; you don't want your readers "filling in the blanks" with their imagination, far from it. The best examples of this kind of writing are the Perry Mason novels. Even when I was ten I recognized that ESG was not a master prose stylist. Didn't keep me from reading every last one of them but you get the point.
As for mentioning your post in the halls of academe: this is up to you. No it's not weird if you don't mention it.I have a client with a fistful of degrees from Harvard but the only thing publishers cared about was whether he could write (answer: you bet your effete eastern seaboard snob boots he can).
Mostly though quit worrying about this. Worry about world peace for awhile. Just send your novel out - good writing trumps all.