Dear Miss Snark,
Help! I've got a murder mystery I've been writing, self-editing and polishing, and I want to try to get an agent. Unfortunately I don't have much relevant experience to offer: never committed or investigated a murder; never published anything; never won (or even entered) any writing contests. Basically the Bio section of the query process scares the crap out of me, so I hope my writing will stand on its own. But as I desperately scour my background for signs of relevant experience, I find myself wondering, "Would Miss Snark consider any/all of the following to be legitimate accomplishments worthy of a mention in a query?"
- I have a B.A. in English from a Top-25 university.
- I'm a part-time freelance proofreader and, among other projects, have been involved in preparing 8 books for self-publication.
And a part of my history that I doubt is relevant but I'll run by you anyway...
- I have had exposure to criminal law, as I went through a training program for paralegal certification. (Although to you I must admit that there were only about 15 hours of class time devoted to criminal law. Additionally the paralegal job I worked in pertained to family law, not criminal!)
You don't need any experience to write a novel. You can make it all up. You can imagine it. Your bio can be as simple as: Miss Snark is a New York literary agent with a low tolerance for nitwits and a high regard for herself.
Don't sweat the bio.
Write well. That's all.