All Hail Miss Snark and her entorage of Geogre Clooneies!!! (Did you know I had to google to figure out who he was and what he acted in? Yes, yes I know I have already been dubbed Nitwit of the week.) (Miss Snark faints dead away at such a horrifying revelation)
I present to Killer Yapp, Chaser of Cats, Wearer of the Pink Tam, Answerer of the Slushpile, and The Snark's Personal Companion a doggy biscut that has aged nicely for three days under the couch, and annoint Him with water from the Holy Toilet Bowl. (Miss Snark is starting to think that a loan request is in the offing)
I have googled for a long time to find this website, looking for someone who will give solid advice to a writer who is starting to cast about for recognition for her humble works. I have recently completed a couple short stories, and am cracking my knuckles in preparation of writing cover letters. However, I have a couple of questions about listing a few credentials which I can foresee as either being semi-impressive or hilarious from an editor or agents standpoint.
I have recently graduated from college, and have previously not been recognized for my writing abilities anywhere outside of the Happy Land of Students, where everyone absolutely knows they are Among the Best at Everything. Knowing that in advance, so you can place your beverage down carefully, here are my questions:
1) Is publication in a small circulation Literary Magazine (very small, as in a few hundred circulation, distributed only on campus, completely non-profit) something to put in a cover letter? My Dad *COUGH* said it is, but after reading your blog I'm starting to have serious doubts. (Your father's judgment in this case is clouded by his love for you--not altogether a bad thing)
2) How about *COUGH COUGH* High School awards? To be specific, I won a scholastic gold key, and was a runner up for the govener's school of writing in PA. *Cringes in anticipation to answer for this one*. (cringe is right, this one is for Mom only)
3) And (possibly the clincher to the first question) is it okay to put down in a cover letter that you were published for said literary magazine if you were one of the editors on the staff? I was not the only person on the editing staff, and I never pushed my work to go in over others. But, some editors undeniably knew me. Maybe some other professional people who read your blog have a similar question? (yes, no)
(I apologize for the coughing, I only do it when I know I'm saying something that may be considered nitwittery) (so far, so good, here have a Fishermans Friend)
I suppose these kinds of recognition do fall under "It's better than your mom saying it's good" but do they still have weight in the Real World? This might be the point where the cute, naive college student prances out of graduation and gets hit hard with a reality stick in the form of one of Miss Snark's red stillettos. I probably need it though, so thank you beforehand.
Distilling this down to the basics what you're asking is "are college publications real credits" and the answer is maybe.
Here's how you can figure out if your college/small pub credit is something to mention. Google it. Google it exactly as you write it in your cover letter. If nothing comes up, don't include it. If the quality of what comes up is marginal, don't include it.
Putting your best foot forward sometimes means you don't tell anyone you used to wear (shudder) Birkenstocks.