Your Writer’s Credit List Or Resume – Your Basic Marketing Tool

by Anne Wayman

It doesn’t matter what kind of writing you want to get paid for, your writing resume or credit list is a must-have.

Magazines publish market listings asking for writing samples, clips and tear sheets because they want to assure themselves you can write. I know this because when I was editing magazines, that’s what I wanted to know. Like most editors, I figured that if you had been published in one or two or more places, the chances were you could also meet my expectations. In truth, I rarely read any of the clips sent – the fact they existed was enough for me. Your credit list, especially if it has a few links to online writing, will provide that reassurance.

When a potential client is looking at your response to their ad or has found your website, seeing your list of writing credits will help convince them they should contact you about their writing needs.

If you’re making a pitch to a client, having a writing resume or credit list backs up what you’re telling the potential client, making it easier for them to hire you to solve their problem.

A Writing Credit List Or Resume

Typical resumes of course list the jobs you’ve had, usually by date of hire. When someone wants to hire a freelance writer, knowing they may have held a job for a month or a year is useless. What they want to know is if they can count on you to solve their writing problems. That’s why I like the idea of a list of writing credits, although on my website I call I’ve titled it Writing Resume/Credits in hopes those who’ve never seen a credit list will at least know what to expect.

In many ways, my credit list looks like a resume. But instead of listing published items by date, I categorize them using such terms as Online Writing, Books Written, Articles Published, etc.


Under each category, I list the publication or publisher, the title of what I did and a very brief description. If there’s a web address to my writing, I also list that.

I maintain a word file that I can print and send if I’m using snail mail, or even attach to an email query. I prefer, however, to just use the link in an email query since spam is such a problem.

Writing Credits and the Web

Getting your writing credits up on your own website is an absolute must in my opinion. It’s easy and inexpensive to do, and you’ll find that, because your credits are on the web, it’s easy to query, or apply for a job. And, once and awhile a customer will find you there – a customer you wouldn’t have found any other way.

Read: You’re a Writer – You Need a Website or Better Yet, Your Own Blog to find out just how easy it is.

If you think you don’t have credits to list, check out No Writing Clips? No Problem!

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Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth West January 6, 2010 at 9:47 pm

I have a .pdf of a story I got published in my school literary magazine up. It’s only on that way because that particular issue isn’t linked to on the school website, darn it!

Right now, that’s it. :P I don’t know if the newsletter I edited for my skating club would count…it’s kind of old. But the issues are still up on their site, although in Word.
.-= Elizabeth West´s last blog ..Stuckityness =-.

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Anne January 7, 2010 at 9:43 am

Editing a newsletter isn’t a skill you forget, so it counts.

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Deb Ng January 5, 2010 at 1:27 pm

I’m a firm believer in the power of a writers resume. When I was first starting out I went from nibbles to big bites once I started including a resume with my cover letter. They can be an investment, but it’s one that’s worthwhile. (And it’s tax deductible.)
.-= Deb Ng´s last blog ..3 Things to Consider Before Outsourcing Your Freelance Writing Work =-.

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Rebecca January 5, 2010 at 1:12 pm

I have my “credits” on my portfolio page, but have not updated it yet. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll put it on my “to do” list.
.-= Rebecca´s last blog ..Blogger Beware When You Guest Blog =-.

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Anne January 6, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Mine isn’t up to date either, but mostly – not everything has to be on it. I actally shape mine for the kind of work I want. (Another post?)

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Lori January 5, 2010 at 9:46 am

It’s a great idea, Anne. I write resumes for a client almost every day, and I know the power of a well-formatted, well-phrased resume. I think the Writing Credits approach works so much better for freelancers. We can show at-a-glance our credentials. Yours, by the way, is impressive. :)
.-= Lori´s last blog ..Turn the Beat Around =-.

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