View Full Version : Should I mention I have a degree in Creative Writing?

08-09-2011, 03:29 PM
Hello again, all.

I did a quick search and saw some lists of degrees and what people have learned from their degrees, but I didn't see the answer to my specific question.

I have an English degree with a Creative Writing Option. It was from a state school, and I didn't study with any well-known authors. While I had wonderful teachers, they were not very genre friendly. I write science fiction and fantasy. The degree was useful for getting me used to writing and getting something down on the page by a certain date, and my training in poetry influenced my prose.

When querying, should I bother mentioning that I have a degree in Creative Writing? How do agents view this? As a "oh no, not another one" or "this person is committed to a career in writing?"

Cheers for the advice.

08-09-2011, 04:12 PM
I'm not an expert; probably shouldn't even chime in, but I would guess you'll get different agents giving different answers. I think it serves as a useful credential to mention in passing. I think I'd include it but not make a big deal of out it.

Good luck!

Barbara R.
08-09-2011, 04:16 PM
It won't hurt but it won't help, either. This is one field in which credentials don't matter, just performance.

08-09-2011, 04:39 PM
Yes, definitely mention it. "They" say you should specify your degree if it relates to your work, (ie: it's a legal thriller and you're an attorney). If you're writing fiction, I'd say a creative writing degree is relevant.

I didn't hesitate to mention my English degree...can't tell you if it helped, but it sure didn't hurt.

08-09-2011, 04:59 PM
Laura, you're not going to get a good answer here because respondents will be pretty well split 50/50 on whether academic credentials matter. My opinion is that it might help a little if you can fit it in because it suggests a certain level of competence. Personally, sometimes I include this info and sometimes not.

You never know what will get a particular agent's attention. One agent might dismiss the degree as irrelevant, but it might (coupled with your awesome premise!) tip another one into a request. But nobody is going to think, "Well, forget her! She has a creative writing degree!"

08-09-2011, 05:02 PM
I guess I think it is a good thing. It shows the seriousness and long term aspect of your interest in writing. I have a BA in Creative Writing and Literature and I still draw on what I learned. I'm responding as a writer with an agent.

08-09-2011, 05:10 PM
Not long ago, I read an agent's annotation of a client's query that showcased the writer's credentials prominently, including listing some of the famous authors she had studied with. The agent said the famous writers intrigued her and that was one reason she requested.

Now, she reps lit fic, so that may be a different situation, but I personally would feel like a jerk name-dropping my teachers and readers, and I think most agents would think the same. But it worked for her, so you never know what interests a particular agent. Research helps. I included credentials if I had reason to believe a specific agent would care -- like the agency's site listed all the degrees of its writers, or if it the agent's own bio put his degree front and center.

I don't know if it mattered in the end...

08-09-2011, 06:09 PM
I agree with what others said, it wouldn't help, but it wouldn't hurt.

08-09-2011, 06:41 PM
Mention it.

The only time you wouldn't is if your publishing credentials are so good you no longer have room.

Lady MacBeth
08-09-2011, 07:13 PM
Mention it.

The only time you wouldn't is if your publishing credentials are so good you no longer have room.

I agree. It can't hurt to mention it. One day you'll have enough publishing credits that you won't have to.

08-10-2011, 05:07 AM
It also depends on where you got the degree, and which genre you're writing. Some programs have more academic weight than others. A lot of MFA writing programs are geared specifically for literary fiction, so those credentials translate well into shopping litfic. For genre fic, it can't hurt to mention credentials, if your commercial writing and academic writing can somehow link together.

08-10-2011, 01:54 PM
I would say mention it, you never know what is going to get someones attention, i have a literature degree, I also have a degree in Equine Science. I was applying for a writing masters and they were more interested in my science degree than my literature one because they thought it brought a different perspective.