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I am submitting a children's book to a potential agent whose submission process asks me to send this:

a covering letter in the body of the email, and a synopsis of the proposed book with the first two or three chapters and a CV

Now. I haven't had a writing career. I've had an IT career ... surely they don't want to hear much about that? So what should I put in the CV, that won't be in the cover letter?

  • This is the most useful article I've found on creating a writer's C.V. Like the poster, I had a career in I.T. This helped me transform a mundane career history into something interesting and marketable by thinking outside the box: writersandartists.co.uk/writers/advice/64/… – GGx Jun 1 '17 at 7:12
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If they want the information in the synopsis, then put it there. I also see no problem mentioning it in the cover letter additionally, but you don't need it there when it is in the synopsis.

If you do not have a writing career (yet), then your age (or date of birth) and current profession should be sufficient. Tell them, why you are in expert for children's books. If you have worked with children in the past, mention that in the CV part. Mention if you have children yourself, if you are engaged with the local kindergarten, or whatever in your life has driven you to write children's books.

  • Thank you - very helpful! I had not even considered mentioning my own children, because when doing a CV for a job you should not (these days). But, of course, this isn't a CV for a job!! – noelicus Aug 23 '12 at 20:27
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I expect that in addition to knowing you're an expert on children, an agent would like to find out whether you can write a successful book. I'm also in a non-writing field, so I have to stretch a bit when writing a query letter. I want to convey that I already have some experience writing for my target audience, that I can easily plan and execute a writing project, that I can meet deadlines, that I've gotten good feedback from impartial readers on what I've done, maybe that I have an existing "platform" to publicize my work, and so forth. Basically, that I can do what I'm promising to do. I think all this is secondary to the book itself, but it can't hurt to build the agent's confidence in you as a writer.

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This question highlights the problems with this section of this site. Writing (unlike programming is a subjective discipline).

You are not applying for a 'job' you are advertising a 'product' to sell. Nobody is interested in your MBA or college degree. Agents and publishers are looking for YOUR story to sell.

"My name is Harriet and these are the stories I told to my 3-year-old whilst my husband was missing on deployment in Iraq."

Your CV need to contain a saleable story . . . nobody's going to buy your book because you went to Harvard.

  • Sorry, but not true. Literary agents are professionals and they like to deal with other professionals who know how to conduct themselves in a businesslike manner. They absolutely want to know these things, some to a greater degree than others. An absolutely some people are going to buy your book because you went to Harvard. – user16226 Jun 2 '17 at 15:28

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