Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Query Letter Credentials

One question that came up during the workshop I taught this past weekend concerned giving credentials in a query letter. If you have published books (big house, small press) that have sold well, you’ll want to list those, of course. But the question was really about giving credentials or showing experience in areas that relate to the plot.

The question was from Mark who writes horror. Since the book has an exorcism in it, he wondered if he should mention that he has witnessed an exorcism – or if that would turn off or scare an agent.

My answer was … mention it. First off, he’s going to be querying agents who rep horror, so they’ve probably seen or read it all. Second, not too many people have witnessed an exorcism, so it would be a plus in his credentials, in my opinion. Third, it would show that he can write about the real thing, not what he has seen in movies or on TV or read in other books.

Clearly, if there had not been an exorcism in his book, then he’d have no reason to mention that he has seen the real thing. But since there was and he has, then it lends him credibility. He doesn’t have to make a big deal about it or have it consume his whole paragraph about himself, but a sentence or even just a mention would be a good idea.

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