Dear Agent Manners:
I know that agents prefer a writer with along list of publications in their biography. So many of us don’t have that. What is the best way to present this? Some writers-help pieces say, “If you’ve nothing to list, skip this part.” Others say, acknowledge it straight away, “I’ve nothing to list here of significance but I have written this, this and this and am in the submission process.” And one site, whose advice I most certainly wil lnot be following said, “Make something up. Everybody does.” I prefer to think that is untrue.
What is it that an agent really wants to see in that bio line or seperate biography, if a writer doesn’t have a list of publications or awards? I know we all have to start somewhere. So how do I communicate that I’m a serious writer, as committed to selling the books as I am to writing them?
Thanks for any advice you can give.
Dear Limited Bio:
Credits are certainly nice. Every beginning agent would love to have a string of sales to shore up their resume. But, as you say, one has to start somewhere. I would certainly never recommend lying. Who wants to begin any relationship with falsehoods? (Rhetorical question.) My recommendation if you’ve nothing to list is to go right into the pitch that will hook your reader (AKA the agent) into the story and let the writing do the work for you. If you have any relevant life experience to personalize it, include that too. But remember that, in the end, you’re a writer and the writing is the thing. And, between you and me, if you’ve actually managed to finish a manuscript and submit, that already shows you’ve made a commitment.