Saturday, November 9, 2013

Writer's Bios and Credit History

I keep seeing this topic pop up every now and then. It seems it always come to the front when a writer is asked for a bio and credit history from an agent or publisher. It is sometimes stipulated in the guidelines and it's a very popular, normal request. I've never had a problem getting an agent--I feel that I excel in that regard. Same with publishers--I use the same bio and credit list for both. You're actually selling yourself right along with the manuscript, whether it's sample pages, a partial or full. Some writers have no previous credits at all, and this is not uncommon for the newbie. You simply can't list what is not there. Therefore, that writer has to fall back on a short bio--just a piece that highlights their vocational interests, writing habits or works in progress. Of course, any degrees (or seminar, workshop attendance) in writing are a welcome addition to a credit list or bio, and I would encourage anyone to list such accomplishments if their overall presentation is small or lacking.

I've been praised, especially for my credit list or history of  past publications. It's not huge, it's not that exceptional. However, you'll notice many categories that fill it out and add another dimension to the profile. No one told me to add the extras, I just took it upon myself to include anything that was writer related. It's just well-rounded and average. Like I say, it's not Bradbury's listed publication history for sure, but it is well-organized and reaching out for all possible (writing experience) venues of interest. I'll include it here, and the bio for your perusal. I chose a format between detailed and very simple, so an editor or agent can read the list at glance and a half and be done with it. I hope it helps. It's never failed me, and I have a suspicion that it's landed me more than one contract, given that the manuscript was on the fringe of acceptance.


Chris Stevenson, originally born and raised on the beaches of southern California, moved to Sylvania, Alabama in 2009 and settled in with his twin sister. His occupations have included newspaper reporter, front-line mechanic and federal police officer. He has been writing off and on for 36 years, having officially published books beginning in 1988. Today he writes science fiction, fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult, adult thrillers and horror. He has a total of nine titles appearing on Amazon, the last of which is The War Gate, a paranormal romance suited for the young adult crowd. His latest YA near-future tale, The Girl They Sold to the Moon, took the grand prize in a publisher's novel writing contest and garnered six offers of publication. He intends to keep writing and coordinating with his agent, Sara Camilli.

Auto Repair Shams and Scams (Forward--Ralph Nader), 1990, Price Stern & Sloan, Los Angeles--226 pages, non-fiction, consumer warning and repair book.
Garage Sale Mania, 1988, Betterway Publications, Crozet, Virginia--190 pages, non-fiction—1988.
Word Wars, a SF novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—May, 2007.
Once Upon a Goddess, a Fantasy novel, to Rain Publishing, Canada—January, 2008
Planet Janitor—Custodian of the Stars, a SF novel sold to Engage Books, May 2009
Gate Walker, a Paranormal Fantasy, sold Lyrical Press—January, 2009.
The Wolfen Strain, a fantasy thriller sold to LBF (Lachesis) Books, February 2009
The War Gate, a Paranormal thriller, to Pen and Press, 10-12-2012
The Girl They Sold to the Moon, a YA dystopian sold to Intrigue Press, August 2013

Stellar by Starlight, to Amazing Stories, 1988.
The Lonely Astronaut, to Amazing Stories, 1988.
Temperamental Circuits, to Gordon Linzner of Space & Time, 1989.
Things that go Clump in the Night, to Richard Fawcett of Doppelganger, 1989.
Dance the Macabre and Dance it Well, to Erskine Carter of Ouroborous, 1989.
Future School, to Chris Bartholomew of Static Movement, January 2006.
The Incredible Mr. Dandy, to Not One of Us.
Planet Janitor The Moon is not Enough, to Enage Books, 2012
Planet Janitor Journey Interrupted, to Engage Books 2012
Other magazine appearances from 1988 to 1991 include, Alpha Adventures, Small Press Writers and Artists Organization and Sycophant.

The Summit, 15-minute horror play to Night Sounds, Embassy Cassette Inc, Santa Ana, California—1990
Night of the Moa, 13-minute horror play to Night Sounds, Embassy Cassette Inc, Santa Ana, California—1990.

Finalist in the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest, for Temperamental Circuits, 1987.
First place, grand prize winner for The Girl They Sold to the Moon, a YA distopian novel,  to a Publisher's Novel Writing Competition. Advance and publication offered—June 2012.

350 newspaper profiles, stories, and interviews to Sunset Publishing, Anaheim, California, appearing in The West Coast Jewish News, The Senior Citizens Reporter, and The Military Review. From 1988 to 1991. Seven automotive articles to Dollar Stretcher Magazine, from 12-2-2011 to 2-28-2012.

I have written and published over 1,700 non-fiction automotive, aircraft, marine, home and garden and science articles for Demand Media Studios, under the Beta-Automotive and E-How stations. Six automotive articles to—6-2012. Published  250 automotive and general articles to TextBroker. Content writing for a total of three years.

Served as content editor of Sunset Publication (see above) for three years. Responsible for all writing assignment content, filler and artwork.
President and founder of Heartland Writers Group, Huntington Beach, California, from 1987 to 1991.

Past agent--Richard Curtis Associates, from 1988 to 1991.
Past agent—TriadaUS (Dr. Uwe Stender), from 2005 to August 2009
Present agent—Sara Camilli

Fusion, a military espionage thriller.
Valley of the Mastodons, a non-fiction book involving the Ice Age megafauna discoveries in Hemet, California, during the Diamond Valley reservoir dig. Proposal, chapter outline, and 100 pages available upon request
Dispossessed Incorporated, an urban ghost fantasy.
The Omega Wars—SF, apocalyptic alien invasion (Sequel to PJ)
Screamcatcher, a YA fantasy

I usually place the bio and credit history right after the email query or synopsis, and include it in the body of the email. It makes no sense to attach it, since it's not very attainable or convenient. If I'm asked to attach a credit list, then it follows the rear end of the synopsis--same page, not an extra one. 


  1. Gotta disagree with you about one thing, Chris. That list of publications might not sound huge and impressive to you, but it sure does to me.

  2. Thanks, Jill. I'll forever find myself lacking until that offer comes from one of the big six or largest independents. That requires my agent to make the sale, and it's been a very long haul indeed.

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