Posted by: nancyisanders | May 9, 2008

Resumes: Now You’re Ready

By the time you have acquired enough writing credits that it’s too bulky to include in your query or cover letter, you’re ready to prepare an actual resume.

Keep it pertinent to writing and make it look professional. Here are several tips:

Header:
Center your name in a large font at the top of the page.
Underneath in regular font (Times New Roman 12), list your address, phone number, e-mail, and website or blog if it pertains to writing.

Directly underneath this list any job titles or membership in critique groups or writing societies. Many editors will actually take the time to seriously look at your manuscript if they see that you’re an active member of a writing society such as the Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).

Skip a space or two and then build the body of your resume. (Again, use regular font.) There are various ways to do this. In fact, over the years, the look of my resume keeps changing. At first, when I didn’t have many published credits, I listed the names of the various magazines I’d been published in. Then, underneath each one, I listed the title of my article and the date it was published. I centered all this to help give a better visual appearance. And of course, when my first book was published, it took top billing on the page!

Now that I’ve had over 75 books published, my resume is kind of easy. I just have the header with my name, contact information, and positions I’ve held as Contributing Editor, etc. at the top. Plus I include membership in writing societies.

Underneath that, I just list the various publishers and the titles of books I’ve written for each one. In columns. That’s it. Nothing fancy. It gets the job done.

One more note—over the years I’ve also had some news that certain publishers might be interested in. For instance, one of my books was a bestseller for Scholastic. Another book has won several nice awards. Stuff like that. I include that information on a separate sheet I call Noteworthy News. I also include lists of magazines I’ve written for over the years on that page. If an editor wants to know more about my publishing background, I e-mail them this page along with my resume. But not usually.

The final thing about building a resume is just to use good old-fashioned common sense. If it makes sense to you to include something, put it in. If it makes the layout of the page look good, put it in. If in doubt, keep it out. Don’t stress over it, and don’t worry about it. Just create your resume as it seems best. Then send it in with your manuscript submission.


Responses

  1. Thanks, Nancy. Very helpful. One question, if you have writing credits in the adult world, should you include those or leave them out?

  2. Great question, Doraine! If you don’t have many published credits yet for children’s manuscripts, I would definitely downplay the writing credits in the adult world since many folks tend not to write well for both, and an editor might worry you can’t write for kids. Yet an editor will want to know you’ve been published, so you don’t want to leave them out, either. To downplay them, either just say in your query/cover letter that you’ve published XX amount of books or articles without mentioning that they’re for adults. If you have enough material to build a resume, place the titles for adults at the bottom of the page. In fact, you might want to prepare 2 resumes–one to submit with material for adults and one to submit with material for kids.

  3. This is great, practical advice, Nancy! With so many conflicting theories about resumes/cover letters out there, it’s a real help to have it “boiled down” to the basic, workable elements. Terrific job! Thanks. Marge

  4. Glad it helps, Marge! Yes, there are lots of theories, so I just wanted to share what has actually worked for me. -Nancy


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