If you’ve ever been employed (or if you’re a student soon to be seeking employment), you’re already familiar with what a resume is. Whenever you write one, you want to tailor and tweak it as much as possible to suit the individual employer and profession you’re seeking (see last week’s “How to Write a Resume“). Thus, it should come as no surprise that when you’re even a semi-professional author, you want to have a resume that is suited to showing off your strong points to a potential agent, or even publisher. You may never use this document, but it’s a good thing to have around, as I learned while preparing for my own pitch session with an agent a couple years back.
The following sections are those I chose to include on my writer’s resume. Some may not apply to you, in which case, don’t include them. On the other hand, if there are categories you don’t see that you think should be there, by all means include them on yours! This is just a rough guideline, after all.
This section doesn’t actually need a label. It’s just where you place your name and contact info. I suggest listing your name in larger letters above the rest, but that’s up to you.
Here you want to give a brief (ideally one-sentence) description of what it is you write. There’s no need to be overly wordy: just list your genres, age ranges, and whether you do book-length writing, shorter work, or both.
This one pretty much speaks for itself. Make a list (bullet points aren’t a bad idea) of your previous publications with the newest at the top. Include title, year, and (if you’d like) mention whether it was print, online, or both. If your publication history is particularly extensive, you may only want to list the five most recent or relevant items to keep it down to one page.
Contests & Awards
Any contests you’ve entered and won a notable achievement in, you can list here. Literary awards are also fair game. Again, I would suggest using bullet points and putting the most recent at the top.
If you have any degrees remotely related to writing, list the school and degree here (ideally with a date attached–most recent at the top, if you have more than one). Additionally, you may want to list a few writing-related courses you took at the named institution, if any.
Feel free to label this section with a less clunky title. Basically, it’s another listing, this time of all the weblogs and social media accounts you have that are related to–or could potentially be used to promote–your writing. You might also want to provide a short description of what you use each platform for, and how it could be used in future.
Other Relevant Information
If you’ve got any room leftover at the bottom of the page, you might consider including this miscellaneous category to mention any other skills or knowledge that could possibly relate to your writing in any way. Foreign language or (especially in the case of nonfiction writers) previous experience/background in the subject you’re writing about would be good examples.
So, there you have it: a writer’s resume! Even if you don’t think you’ll ever use one, go ahead and give this a try. They’re pretty quick and easy to make, and at the very least, it may help you see where your writing career stands.
Also, as a reminder, this is the final week of my half-price e-book sale, so if you haven’t taken advantage of this yet, now is as good a time as any!