The Author Bio in Your Query

The final part of your query letter should always be your author bio. In addition to knowing about the book, agents want to know a little about who they will be working with if they do offer representation.

I’d love to know what credentials or other background you look for in a writer’s query. Are things such as professional affiliations, etc… a deciding factor, previously published vs unpublished, etc…

–From What I Look for in a Resume

I don’t search for anything in particular when it comes to the author bio. I do however find that certain credentials will push me toward a request when I’m on the fence about the blurb.

The first thing I look to is writing experience and how involved you are in the writing community. I want to know if you’ve been published before and where, writing organizations or affiliations you belong to, and anything else that gives you a personal connection to the book.

For example, if you’re a a veterinarian writing about a veterinarian that’s of interest to me.

The truth though, what matters most is the blurb. Credentials are great, but many authors launched extremely successful careers with nothing but a great book.

Worry less about the credentials. Don’t join organizations to add them to your bio. Join because they will make you a better writer and give you professional knowledge.

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6 comments

  1. Thank you, Jessica. It’s easy to over-rotate about one’s bio. But then, querying is full of opportunities to bite one’s nails and overthink. Nevertheless, we persist 🙂

  2. Relieved to hear it’s not that important. I get a bit jealous when I see people have degrees and whatnot So I wrote this:

    Formal credentials: zero. However, I read countless How To Write Books as a teen and in my twenties, which were unhelpfully repetitive and the rest went over my head ( except for On Writing by Stephen King ) and I thanked god for the internet in my 30’s. Ruthless feedback in facebook groups on countless first pages helped Kirate-Kid me into a style I could re-read without my brain hurting, until I engaged in a bit of cp/beta swapping, which has been a lovely way to learn. I world-built this book since your president was Bill Clinton. I have no credentials per se but I went to the University of ‘How The Hell Do I Do This?’ until I graduated with a stack of handwritten paper that resembled an almost illegible rough draft and took up valuable real estate on my kitchen bench. ( Where do I put my plate now?) I have a degree in ‘Why does my writing still suck??? Help!’, I attend the annual The World Needs Your Book Bootcamp every year in my dreams and I always win a trophy for my dedication before they bring out the fantastic looking three tier Vanilla Butter Cream Almond cake which I never get to eat, because I wake up. ( They don’t worry about calories at TWNYBB. Not that it matters when my eyes open before the forkload reaches my mouth ) I routinely dispense advice in query forums and have earned a five Soap Box badge denoting me as Expert in my own opinion.

      1. Well my cat said I should use it but I’m not sure I’ll trust her opinion because I was holding her breakfast at the time. There’s only one dad joke in my ms, so I think you’re right.

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