Zilcho Pub Credits

Dear Miss Snark,

What on earth is one to do when sending out query letters, but have no publishing credits whatsoever to mention? This situation reminds me of looking for jobs after school: can't get one unless you have experience, but can't get experience if you can't get a job.

I've searched your blog under "credits" but found nothing that answered this point blank. If I missed multiple responses in the archives, I apologize. Hit me with the clue gun.

My love to the pooch.

KY says: "enough with the love talk, where's the sirloin"

MS says: you don't need pub credits. If you have them, great, but I've taken on people who've never been published ever before. And I've sold their stuff.

Write well.
That's it.


Scott said...

About credits:

I've been told, only list relevant credits. If you're shopping a kid's book, nobody cares that you have unrelated credits. Better to not list anything.

And I've been told: If you don't have relevant credits, but you do have other credits, list them to show you're not just some guy who decided to try writing, on a lark.

And you say: credits don't really matter anyway unless your John Grisham or George Clooney, and it's better to leave them off if you're a squirrel.

How does one traverse this fen of conflicting information?

Clue me in, even if it hurts. Especially if it hurts. I like that.

ORION said...

I had no publication credits. I listed the retreats and conferences I attended instead.
I got an agent and my book sold.
Miss Snark is ALWAYS right.

Kit Whitfield said...

People get too hung up on publishing credits. Lots of good novelists don't have any when they start out.

It's not like looking for a job. Experience helps when you're working, because it suggests you'll be competent, but with a book, it's only the finished performance that matters. Your competence or lack of it is right there on the page. If you do it right first time, then the fact that you haven't done it before matters not at all.

Everyone has to start somewhere. After all, if publishing credits were essential, no one new would ever get published. And they do, pretty often.

Anonymous said...

Since this has become a two million hit station... all post constitute on genuine pub credit!

"Book 'em, Dano!"

Haste yee back ;-)