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Bio of a Query Letter... leave out?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:11 pm
by Crono91
So, two questions for my query letter. In the bio, I'm debating about leaving something out, and about putting something in.

First, here's the basic bio:

With a degree in Psychology, and a love for the crazier side of philosophy, I write my stories with subtle elements of human behavior that challenges the human spirit of my characters. I’ve won first place in a national writing competition.

First off, I've read your degree doesn't matter, like when one majors in English. I've also read not to talk about what "influenced" your book. That said, my book is a little on the darker side, and really dives into the multiple shades of human life and their motivations. It makes readers think with the main character. That's why I brought up psychology and philosophy, because I've studied it to know how to weave it into stories seamlessly (and not Matrix-in-yo-face, although I adore that series haha). So, should I just leave that part out? Does it fall into pointless?

And for the writing competition. I don't have many credits, and that's really my only credit. That said, it also wasn't a minor competition. I won 25k dollars from it, which helps show the magnitude. If I had other publications, I wouldn't care to add it, but since it's all I have... do you think it's not classy to add in there how much I won, to help sell myself a little more? Should I leave as is?

Thanks, guys!

Re: Bio of a Query Letter... leave out?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:29 pm
by Oldtimer
I'm too envious of the size of your competition prize, Crono91, to give you a properly reasoned reply. That must have been one heck of a good story. I will leave it to others to advise you. Oh, and congratulations on your win. It's nice to see you back on the boards. :)

Re: Bio of a Query Letter... leave out?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:48 pm
by Crono91
Oldtimer wrote:
> I'm too envious of the size of your competition prize, Crono91, to give you
> a properly reasoned reply. That must have been one heck of a good story. I
> will leave it to others to advise you. Oh, and congratulations on your win.
> It's nice to see you back on the boards. :)

Thanks :D School is finally finished -wipes brow- I just wish I came back before what happened to Paul. I miss his presence :/

Re: Bio of a Query Letter... leave out?

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:51 pm
by Crono91
I think I got my answer for the academic part after going back into Query Shark. I took it out.

But the part about the award amount still stands. I seriously can't find an answer to it anywhere haha. I don't mind leaving it out to be safe, but if it's more impressive to an agent than conceited, than naturally I wanna put it in!

Re: Bio of a Query Letter... leave out?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:21 pm
by DrG2
I would definitely state the win of the contest (with more details than you provided above).

Re: Bio of a Query Letter... leave out?

PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:38 pm
by wdarcy
I would also state the amount of the prize. There are so many meaningless contest "prizes" out there, and yours was definitely meaningful! By all means, put it in!

But yeah, I would leave out that academic part. I showed Janet Reid one of my query letters this summer at ThrillerFest, and she said to take out the part where I said I studied with Steve Berry and Steven James. She's not too impressed by that sort of thing.

Congrats on winning that contest!

--Warren

Re: Bio of a Query Letter... leave out?

PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:17 am
by RobTheThird
I don't know how global the saying is, but I'm thinking of one.

> You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.

You say that you won a national writing competition. In your query, name the competition. As you found from Query Shark, I don't think you want a bio in your query. Remember, you are, primarily, selling the story. Does a degree do that? I'd say being a winner in a reputable writing contest helps sell the story. Check around, Make sure the writing contest *is* reputable.

First and foremost, sell your story. You can add this to the end, but your big goal with a query is to get the agent/publisher to read your story. To (mis)quote Metallica, nothing else matters.