Thursday, February 19, 2009

Poetry Credits

Dear Rejecter,

If I'm querying an agent with a novel, and that agent doesn't represent poetry, but my only previous pub credits are poetry, is it appropriate to mention those credits at all? I'm thinking it could go one of three ways:

1. Say that I have previously published poetry, and it has appeared in journals X, Y, and Z
2. Say that my work has appeared in journals X, Y, and Z, but don't mention that said work is poetry
3. Don't mention the credits at all

What's the prudent course here? Is there another option that hasn't occurred to me?

So there's not one answer to your question, unfortunately. Some agents don't think much about poetry credits, but I'm not sure it would really be a negative unless it's not perfectly clear in your query that you're submitting a novel, not a poetry collection (because sometimes it isn't clear). So, I would go with 1 or 3. Either way it probably won't make a difference, but I'm leaning on 1. The importance is that there's a clear distinction between what you've had published and what you are submitting.


Daniel Harper said...

Do you mean "1 and 3" instead of "2 and 3"? It seems like you're suggesting that the original commenter be upfront about the fact that his/her previous publications are poetry, but "2" is the most disingenuous of the options.

Or maybe I'm misreading you.

The Rejecter said...

Typo, yes.