Dearest Miss Snark -
I have a question about mentioning non-publishing credentials in a query for a genre novel. If I'm committing the crime of nitwittery, I plead guilty and fling myself on the mercy of the court (making sure I don't accidentally land on KY on the way down).
My genre is mysteries. I worked as a (poorly paid, but professional) journalist covering crime and police for a few years. I'm now working on a doctorate in criminal justice with an emphasis on policing. In both capacities - journalist and academic - I've logged quite a few hours in police ridealongs, conversations with police, studying (and teaching) policing, etc.
When I send a query about my mystery novel to an agent, is any of that information germane?
Here I thought you were under arrest when I saw you in that patrol car. Must.Stop.Conclusion.Leaping.
You can certainly mention your real life experience but don't emphasize it. It's a bonus to the (we hope) good writing, but what it mostly does is provide an extra ounce of confidence that if you use an odd word, or fact, I won't think you're making a mistake.
The Ph.d thing has no resonance with me. I'd much rather know you've been in the Tombs than in the ivoried halls of academe.
But then...Miss Snark is an agent with a bail bondsman on retainer and a restraining order from the Harvard Club.
***points to the person who (without resorting to google) can identify the joke in the headline