Do Nonfiction Credits Count in Fiction?

Q: Does it impress a fiction editor if an author has many nonfiction credits? Also, if an author has a very diverse mix of genres in their publishing history, do they take that into consideration? -Laura


A:
Previous publishing credits are worthwhile regardless of whether they’re in fiction or nonfiction. They show an acquiring editor that the writer has passed muster with at least one other editor and that the writer can take a project from beginning to end – that he’s seasoned that way.

It gives them confidence when they begin reading your manuscript that they can expect a certain level of quality. That’s important, because editors have so much to read that they’re looking for reasons to put a manuscript down and move on.

So at the first sign of trouble, they’ll do that with an unpublished writer. They’ll give more benefit of the doubt to previously published writers.

As for diversity, I don’t think it’s that important. They’re looking at the quality of the specific manuscript they’re holding, and diversity doesn’t have an impact on that.

Anne Bowling
Editor of 2001-2005 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Markets
Writer’s Digest Books