Here is an example from my own query letter, written for one of my old Asian chick lit novels when I was still unpublished. This was originally published on Suite101.
An Example From Real Life
Here is a bio paragraph from a real query letter from an author who was unpublished at the time.
The credential or bio section of a query letter is important because it lists why the writer is qualified to write the novel being proposed in the query. It also shows the agent or editor the writer’s experience in the publishing industry and in the writing craft.
The best way to learn is by example, so here is an example bio paragraphs from a real query letter from the author, who was unpublished at the time she sent this query. There are also comments about each section of the bio paragraph at the end of the example.
Here is an example from a query letter this author submitted when still unpublished. The novel was an Asian American chick lit novel.
This novel explores the fast pace and urban lifestyle of the Silicon Valley professional, as well as the northern California Asian culture I have been immersed in for the past fourteen years. I belong to several writers' groups and critique groups including American Christian Romance Writers and Christian Writers' Group. My short stories have won various Writing.com contests, and I am also an editor for RubyZine, a Christian ezine for teenaged girls. I have been published in Write To Inspire newsletter, WordPraize multicultural e-zine, and Universal Personality e-zine. I have a feature article that will appear in the fall edition of Nikkei Heritage journal, published by the National Japanese American Historical Society, and a short story appearing next year in Arabella Magazine.
Breakdown Explanations of the Credential Paragraph
“the northern California Asian culture I have been immersed in for the past fourteen years”: this is telling why the author’s living situation helps qualify her to write this novel.
“American Christian Romance Writers and Christian Writers' Group”: both online writing communities. ACFW costs $50 a year, CWG was free, so you can see that online writing communities can be inexpensive.
“Writing.com contests”: a free writing community. The author entered many stories in a variety of user-hosted contests, and won a couple.
“an editor for RubyZine, a Christian ezine for teenaged girls”: an online blog started by a friend of the author. She had a monthly column which gave her the title of “editor”.
“Write To Inspire newsletter” and “Universal Personality e-zine: for each ezine, the author persisted and submitted a large number of article topics and stories. The editors finally liked one and published it. Payment was very small, but the publishing credit was worth much more.
“WordPraize multicultural e-zine”: the author wrote for free.
“Nikkei Heritage journal, published by the National Japanese American Historical Society”: this credit shows the author’s writing in a field related to the novel. The author wrote for free for this one.
“Arabella Magazine”: this publication folded soon after the query letter was sent, but it didn’t matter because it was a legitimate writing credit.
Hopefully this example will help you brainstorm ideas for how you can attain writing credentials for your own query letter.
Look at online writing communities like free forum boards and free communities like Writing.com.
Explore ezines that don’t pay for articles, but which would give a legitimate writing credit.
Be persistent in submitting a variety of different article ideas or short stories to ezines, journals, and websites—one article idea or short story is sure to stick.
Look for local writing opportunities in local newsletters, church newsletters, and local journals. They often don’t pay, but the writing credit is valuable.