Publishing Credits...cause yanno, too much isn't quite enough

Dear Miss Snark,

A previous blog post (which is, as usual, completely fabulous) includes this snippet:

Tell me if any of your work has been previously published. Tell me who published it and what year. Leave this blank if you don't have it. It's not a deal breaker.

Um. Nitwit question. I've written some nonfiction articles that have appeared in specialty magazines. OK, I wrote a lot of those. (It pays better than art.) Do I mention that if it has absolutely no bearing on the 82,000-word piece of fiction that I'm currently querying?

In other words, does journalism or trade publishing confer any advantage whatsoever on one's chances in the vast and frightening world of serious literary fiction?

I continue to hang on your every word,
P.S. -- I would still like to make KY a tam out of paper. It's acid-free, lignin-free, and water- and light-resistant. Does that sweeten the offer? No? Then I shall just send sausages.

KY: send sausages soon, MS is having a hard time focusing after her George Clooney Birthday fest.

You can mention you've been published in non-fiction areas that have no bearing on the novel. You can say just exactly that in fact. I like knowing people have been publlished in some form or another. It gives me hope they've learned that 'no' isn't personal and "chop 500 words" isn't a directive for literary seppuku.

What gives me the yawns are when people write in that they've been published in the DMV Quarterly and think it should be treated as some sort of achievement. Nothing against the DMV Quarterly but c'mon.

Certainly don't list all your articles, and don't say "I'm the right person to write the novel cause I've been published in these fields"...all of which I've seen this week in the slusherooo.


robin said...

Ooh, I had to look up "seppuku" to make sure I wasn't missing out on the next Japanese number game craze. (Shudders.) I think I'll pass on this one.

Note to self: Context clues!

Bernita said...

I just said "My publishing credits are non-fiction."

Rei said...

"I'm the right person to write the novel cause I've been published in these fields"

Well, I should add that I'm eminently qualified to write my sci-fi novel, as I'm a simulated consciousness in a child's video game who has had direct interaction with the machine-melded collective consciousness that will descend from humanity. I suppose that I should start brushing up on my fireball-throwing skills in case I want to write a fantasy novel.

The whole "write what you know" thing only applies to some extent to begin with. What is important is if you can make your readers think that it *sounds* real.

Anonymous said...

How about academic journal publications? That's not compensated publication in the same way non-fiction magazine articles are, but it *does* incur rejection and substantial revision.

Termagant 2 said...

I'm the only person eminently qualified to write this novel because I'm the person who actually sat down & wrote it.

And no, Miss S, this is not a query 'cause I'm not stupid & you don't do romance.

Snausages for KY are on the way.

T2, whose verification word is something-nizwit, which I am not.

drwende said...

I've been just mentioning that I have academic publications in areas related to the issues in my novels, then providing specifics if asked.

Both my publications and my fiction focus on issues that aren't part of my main professional field, so I figure it can't hurt to have the stamp of academic experts that yes, this woman knows what she's talking about.