Writer’s Corner: 6 Items Every Author Should Include on Their Resume

Writer’s Corner: 6 Items Every Author Should Include on Their Resume

Why bother with an author resume? Well, despite what you might have heard, or tried to convince yourself, the resume is still a mandatory document. This is true even for authors.
In my former career, I spent over twenty years helping clients excel in their workplace and achieve their professional dreams. While often acceleration occurred in their current organization, creating a resume (or CV) was mandatory. Not because they needed it necessarily to go to the next level (or job). Many of these professionals were executives at the C-level.
But what they did need was the exercise in reflection and the challenge of putting their history in terms of how they made a positive monetary impact for the organizations for which they worked. Please note: Too often a resume is a regurgitation of an experience and not an illustration of transferable contributions. But I’ll save that important success strategy for another blog.

So, what does this have to do with being an author?

You’ve written what’s sure to be a bestselling book, so that should be enough proof that you’ve got the goods to make it in the industry, right? I whole-heartedly agree. But with one caveat—if you’re a new author, writer, freelancer, ghostwriter, or are pitching a non-fiction proposal, newsflash: you need an author resume.

A great resume takes time to develop. 

There’s a lot that goes into crafting a killer resume, so the process shouldn’t be taken lightly. Still, it doesn’t need to be too complex. If you’re a fiction author, then odds are the recipient—an agent or publisher—will want a list of your wins. If you’re writing more nonfiction, then a glimpse of your expertise will be required.

To help you get rolling, here are a few items your author resume might include:

Basics. Name, address, contact information, email, website, social media links, and handles might seem obvious, but trust me, lots of well-intended folks forget. This makes it difficult for anyone to reach you or learn about your platform. If you leave them to hunt it all down, trust me, they won’t.

Education. Not every professional has a formal education and that’s fine, but if you did go to college, make sure you list it on your resume. Don’t forget to put the location of the school (city and state are all that are necessary). Not everyone may be familiar with your alma mater. If you’ve taken any continuing education classes, professional development courses, conferences, or anything that constitutes learning your craft, include it on your resume. 

Experience. I heard you say it—duh—but wait a minute, some experience should be left out. Unless your book or freelancing work focuses on the restaurant industry, your gig as a waiter in college probably should be left off. Just hit the highlights. And if any of your work is related to the project at hand, include it under experience.

Clips. Live links to sample works, your portfolio, or website with books and publications are the heart of your resume. It’s a game-changer if you have experience writing in the field or have been published before. This includes writing for free. I started my journalism career writing little articles for free publications you find in your local grocery store. After several of them, I went to full-time freelance (yes, for pay), then landed a gig as a contributing editor at a magazine. Though I write fiction now, the fact that I produced a diverse body of work under the pressure of a deadline helped convince a traditional publisher I meant business.

Extras. When I say “extras,” I’m referencing all the goodies that might sway the decision-maker in your favor. Related volunteer work, industry references, bylines, cover quotes, professional association memberships, awards, honors, contest rankings, copywriting and editing gigs, apprenticeships, review writing, and blogging are just a sampling of the extra goodies that will take a resume from mediocre to magnificent.

Final thoughts. You probably will have a career resume and an author resume and maybe even a freelance resume. They will probably look very different but with some common ingredients. While it takes time, just like a query letter, synopsis, or freelance pitch, if you want the work, you better get your act, and your resume, together!

I hope this article provided you with a few applicable ideas. I would be honored if you shared this on social media. And speaking of sharing, please share your own ideas and experiences below. Together, we can build an uplifting community that focuses on supporting each other’s success

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