We at Writer’s Relief believe there’s no substitute for patience when it comes to creative writing. But if you want to build your writing credentials quickly, here are some ways to improve your professional writing bio AND your writing skills.
Develop a good submission strategy. When you’re sending work out into the world, you’re creating opportunities for yourself. When you’re not sending out your writing, you’re not making opportunities for yourself. You’ve got to knock on doors if you want them to open. So develop a good submission strategy and you’ll see results. Writer’s Relief’s A La Carte service can get your work into the right hands within just a few short days. Check it out!
Join a well-known writing organization. Are you writing romance? Join Romance Writers of America. Are you into high-end literary works? Check out the Association of Writing Programs. You will probably need to spend some money to join these organizations, but the benefits are endless. First, you’ll get to put their well-known name on your cover or query letter. Second, you’ll get access to lots of great resources and you’ll score great networking opportunities. And third, you’ll show the agent or editor of your dreams that you’re committed to and serious about your writing—whether you’ve published anything or not! The credentials in your writing bio will be much improved—stronger and more impressive.
Join a little-known writing organization. Writers all over the country are conducting workshops, and they may be meeting in your area. By being able to write “I attend a weekly writing workshop meeting,” you show that you’re resourceful and diligent. Not only that, your writing technique will benefit greatly, and you may meet other like-minded writers and make friends! Many times these types of meetings are free. You can find them by looking into various social-networking sites online; just be sure to take all necessary precautions to stay safe.
Volunteer. If you love writing or reading, it’s important to pass that love on. By volunteering for the spring cleanup at your local library—or by devoting your time to other worthy endeavors—you demonstrate that you care deeply about literacy. It may be brutal, but it’s honest: Editors and agents like to see writers who truly have hearts of gold!
Take classes. Even if you don’t have many (or any) publishing credentials, taking a class at your local community college or online establishes your dedication to being a professional writer. It will help your technique and your reputation. Editors and agents like to see writers who are diligently committed to their craft. Being able to write, “I took a class at the University of XYZ” may strike a chord with agents and editors, who are familiar with many writing programs. If you can’t get to a school, check out online classes at http://www.ed2go.com/ or http://www.gothamwriters.com/.
Go to a writing conference. If your budget permits, attend a writing conference. Not only will you learn and network, you’ll also be able to write that you attended said conference in your bio. The idea is, a writing conference is like a party—everyone who’s anyone will be there. If an agent or editor recognizes the name of the conference (maybe he or she attended or perhaps just knew a colleague who did) that may tip the scales in your favor.
Which publishing credits are best? Read more: Publishing Credits: Best To Not So Best.
Please note: It goes without saying that you should only use these strategies if you can implement them with honesty and true dedication to your craft. Plus, doing these things won’t just build up your bio; it will build your abilities and reputation as a writer! But be aware that agents and editors can and will see through superficiality. Truth is better than lip service. Build your bio in a natural way.
Also, there’s no substitute for good old-fashioned publication credits at literary journals, independent presses, and large publishing houses (we help our clients build their bios regularly with reputable publishers). READ MORE: Building Your Bio.
But when you’re in a pinch, it’s our opinion that demonstrating an authentic commitment to craft and to the writing community can work in your favor.
These are just a few ways you can quickly improve, expand, or develop the biographical section of your cover or query letter. You may not have great publishing credits—maybe you’ve never published anything—but by proving that you care about your work and your craft, you demonstrate that you are reputable, dependable, and devoted. Good luck!
QUESTION: What are your ideas for “quick” bio credits?
Thank you for your excellent insights and a world of priceless information.
With these writing tips,I have have been able to acquire and achieve many steps closer to my goal. I look forward for your continous,and valuable
resource in creatice writing to improve my knowledge.
Wow, I think you covered everything I can think of. I would have said sign up for writing courses or join a local writing group, but you already got that one. And I wouldn’t have even thought of literaature-themed volunteer work! Thanks for all of these ideas. As someone with no publication credits, I definitely feel more confident about being able to spruce up my lame bio by trying some of these ideas!
These are excellent tips! Thanks, WR!
This advice is some of the best I’ve seen on your site, I’m a “new” writer with a manuscript that I KNOW is good (not like Pulitzer Prize winning or anything, but good enough to be published and read) and I’ve been struggling with rejections because I have absolutely no publishing credits to my name. But I do belong to some local writers groups, am currently pursuing an English degree at a well respected University and about to sign up for a conference next year. Who knew these things could go on a query letter! I’m sharing this article with my writer friends, thank you so very much for this fantastic advice.
I’m so glad that I stumbled onto this website! it’s so insightful and very helpful. I’m almost finished with my very first book and I’m faced with getting a literary agent or self publishing. The whole idea of doing a query is very daunting since I just love to write and have never been published before. I appreciate all of the information you have on your site, it’s a lifesaver.
Great, sound advice–especially on joining well-known writing organizations.
As always, your advice and insight is great. My knowledge of Writer’s Relief for the past several years, and I admired your truthfulness. As I already said it, my poems are unique and expressed based on the experience and observation. Most of my poems are written from heart felt feelings, and the readers would enjoy it.
I don’t have any hesitation, once published it will invite many readers. My only reminder is, I don’t want to waste time. Time is precious we all living only once, and that once we should use it properly. Since this collections of poems are written at the cost of time and deduction, I want to share it with the world.
Thanks so much for all the practical no non sense tips for non-published writers. “Newbies’, even if they have been writing all of their lives, have to start somewhere if they feel strongly that they want to share with the rest of the world, and your advice of using one’s involvement with literary projects including volunteering,is priceless and gives hope. These tips shall definitely play a great role in my query letters.