Thursday, April 5, 2018

E is for Essentials: Dear OAbby: Are Non-Fiction Credentials Relevant in a Fiction Query? #AtoZChallenge

Dear OAbby is a new feature on Operation Awesome where we answer your questions! It's an advice column by writers, for writers, chock-full of information about writing, querying, the publication process, etc. If you have a question you'd like answered, just send it to All questions may be edited for clarity and/or space, and will be posted anonymously, with no identifying information.

Dear OAbby,

I've written two nonfiction books (both traditionally published), with a third on the way. If I'm querying a novel now, how helpful is it to include in the bio paragraph that I'm a soon-to-be three-time published author in an unrelated field?

The Bio Blues

Dear Bio Blues,

Certainly, your non-fiction publishing background can be used to show a potential agent or editor that you've got writing chops. If you're including a bio paragraph, it's not a bad idea to include this information. If those books are (as you say) in an unrelated field, then it's not necessary to go into detail. Just say you've traditionally published three non-fiction books, and leave it at that. Of course, if your non-fiction books are related to your novel, then you can explain that in a little more detail (for example, if you're a professor of archaeology and your novel features an archaeologist).

Remember, though, the query needs to focus on the essentials. This means explaining what your book is about, and including basic information such as the title, the genre, the word count, and, if you're writing for children, the age group. To the extent including a bio distracts from this essential information about your novel, feel free to leave it out. An agent wants to know what your book is about, first and foremost.  

Focus on the essentials, and happy querying!

Thanks for sharing,
Dear OAbby

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OA to Z! We'll be correlating our usual posts with the challenge letters, plus, each weekend, you'll get a chance to get to know one of our bloggers better.

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