A New Perspective on Publishing Credits

krgreen 005When I created this website, I had done a lot of reading around “publishing credits“, and felt the self-inflicted pressure to get myself published, including writing things that I didn’t really enjoy.

Aside from the short pieces I’ve attempted to send to online magazines and competitions, I’ve sent partials of two novels to competitions and a rushed opportunity. (Brief Backstory: In October, a publisher opened their doors to unsolicited manuscripts. I spent a month rushing to finish, edit and polish my half-finished story, and submitted it).

In terms of these submissions, I describe a lack of response, “no thank you” or “you didn’t make the short-list” as a rejection of sorts; but I’ve not actually *been rejected* by anyone. It hasn’t been as good as other pieces, but no bridges have been burned. No one has decided that my work is rubbish – just that of the 5,000 manuscripts, 24 of them were better than mine.

In the last month, I’ve hit a lull in my writing, Considering I’ve always found the winter months to be my most productive in terms of writing, it’s not really a surprise. However, I didn’t want to lose my momentum.

So I’ve been working on query letters.

Essentially, a query letter is generally set out with the following components:

-The Story and 2-3 Main Characters
-The Length and Genre of the Novel
-Why I’m Sending this to YOU
-Who I Am

In the “Who I Am” section, this time last year I’d have written:

My young adult fantasy novel, SHADOW SIGHT is a standalone book, complete at approximately 90,000 words. This is my first novel.

This is where the fears arose about publishing credits. But now, I have a little bit more to say. Here’s a snippet of my current draft’s “about me” for Shadow Sight, where the main character is a social worker:

My young adult fantasy novel, SHADOW SIGHT is a standalone book, complete at approximately 90,000 words. I work with social workers in my role as a [Job Title] for [Organisation], and am a member of the [Insert Society Here]. I also attend a monthly writing group, and attended the World Fantasy Convention 2013.

((You’ll notice it’s set in the future, because I’ve made the decision to begin sending out query letters in January 2014.))

Personally, I think that’s a big improvement. It sets the stage that I am willing to attend groups to improve, that I have a commitment to writing and may even suggest that I’m willing to pay a cost in order to grow as a writer. If my novel and writing speaks to the agent or publisher, it’ll show in the “my story and main characters section”. If it doesn’t, I’ll try another agent/publisher.

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3 responses to “A New Perspective on Publishing Credits

  1. Querying is fine, but I tend to associate them more with magazines rather than marketing your book. Try looking up book proposal outlines. I’m sure you know those can really be a good selling point for your book. Think of it as a press kit for a new company. There are several guides to book proposals and writing query letters. It takes a lot of researching to get into the right magazine. Knowing the editor’s taste in fiction is so crucial, just like analyzing what fiction contests to enter. There are many book contests for unpublished writers in The Writer’s Market for Novels and Short Stories. Keep writing too. Finish the story and put it away for awhile then get back to it. My dystopian thriller, something I worked on for five years, has now been sitting in the drawer since January. Are those your submission charts above? Smart Move!

    • Thanks for commenting. The agents I’m looking at purely request a query letter, so that’s what I’m going with for now, which should only be between 250-300 words.

  2. Pingback: Another Rejection Letter | Emilia Jordan·

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