"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Friday, December 13, 2013

Poll: Letters to the Editor

Okay readers, I need your help!

I'm hearing a lot of debate from writers about whether or not you can consider a "Letter to the Editor" a publishing credit?

If so, does it help or hurt your resume' if you include it when querying an agent, editor, or publisher?

Your thoughts?

10 comments:

D.G. Hudson said...

I'd be interested in the outcome. I've read where most agents don't consider a 'letter to the editor' as they would an article.

I've got a letter I wrote to a newspaper, and it contributed to a change in policy with our municipal govt. Are we considering newspapers or only mags?


Sylvia Ney said...

D.G. - I meant all publications - newspapers, magazines, online, etc. I would think you could include yours since it became a platform for change and possible future articles.

Terri Tiffany said...

I don't think I would include it. I would use regular articles.

Julie Luek said...

I am a freelance writer as well and wouldn't include letters to the editor in my writing clips-- unless perhaps the article you are querying is very opinion or defending your point of view oriented.Then maybe it might be relevant?

Kimberly said...

I don't know the answer to this, but for myself, I probably wouldn't include it. :)

Botanist said...

Hmmm...I'd say not, for two reasons.

Firstly, what is the purpose of including publishing credits? It is to convince the recipient that you have already played the game at a sufficiently high level to take notice of. If you are trying to publish a novel, for example, letters to the editor simply aren't comparable so IMHO not relevant and might even be harmful.

Secondly, your query letter needs to sell your writing ability. Letters get published more for the thoughts they express than writing merit, so you are actually selling the wrong attribute.

Of course, there are always exceptions. As others have suggested, if your letter had far-reaching impact and was intimately related to the subject of your story, then it might be worth including.

Sylvia Ney said...

From author D.B. Grady - Gosh this is a tough one. I think in context it's a pretty nice addition to a CV -- how often does one get into Time Magazine, or whatever? But in general I think it should just be left aside and brought up only in casual conversation with prospective agents or editors. That is to say, if a letter to the editor is the spotlight credit, it makes it seem like that's all that a writer has accomplished (even though it is a pretty sweet deal). In general, though, I think writers get hung up on credits and queries and don't spend enough time polishing their actual work. If you've written the Great Gatsby, nobody's going to care about your credits. https://www.facebook.com/sylvia.ney.7/posts/691823877518873?comment_id=7096158&offset=0&total_comments=1

Sylvia Ney said...

From author Jody Hedlund - "No, especially for fiction writers. I think it would come across as a desperate attempt to scrape the bottom of the barrel to include it. Publishers and agents mostly care about previous fiction-writing credits, primarily novels. And honestly, that doesn't matter much either (even though I've been widely published now, I've still gotten rejections on other works that publishers don't think they can sell). What matters is that you have a story they can sell now in the current market." https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJodyHedlund/posts/691826020851992?comment_id=7099289&offset=0&total_comments=1

Sylvia Ney said...

From Jean Jenkins - "No, not really. It counts (and matters) to you -- but publishers/editors don't care. It's commentary or a personal opinion piece." https://www.facebook.com/groups/174995555883415/permalink/589741651075468/

Misha Gericke said...

I think... no....