Miss Snark,

Love the poodle. Love the blog.

Last year, I found out I was a finalist for a very prestigious fellowship. Making it so far in the process was a very big deal, and gave me much hope for the future. However, when it comes to this particular fellowship, finalists are not told at any time that they have made it to the final round of selection. Only their recommenders are told about their finalist status. So how did I find out? My recommenders leaked the information to me, although they weren't supposed to.

Is it okay for me to put this information in query letters for agents and/or literary magazines (I was a finalist for the 2006 xxxx Fellowship)? I am a literary writer, trying to up the prestige of my credential list so that I can eventually sell my book (not to mention, score a good teaching job). I have friends who've interned for some of those "prestigious" magazines, and they were instructed to pass on to editors ONLY submissions with very specific credentials (they were given a memo with names of conferences, grad programs, and fellowships--for example: the fellowship I was a finalist for, the Iowa Writer's Workshop, the Breadloaf Conference, etc.).

Will I be looked on as a nitwit who can't verify this finalist info (although I could call up my recommenders as backup--they've served on the fellowship's selection committee in the past)? Will I be viewed as a liar? Or will it help me out when I face the elitist snobs? And, a bigger question--how much do these credentials really matter, particularly for the literary crowd among us?

You can't use this, and you don't want to.
It's not verifiable and you'll look exactly like the kind of over reaching nitwit you fear.

Pub credits are things you've published, not fellowships or awards, unless it's the Bella Stander Humerous Writing Contest of course.

Focus on getting your work out there. Focus on writing well. Everything else is just noise.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the answer!

Anonymous said...

Really? You don't think that the big boy fellowships--Yaddo and MacDowell--are as good as a lit mag pub credit?

Anonymous said...

No, they're certainly as good... but you have to GET one first.