Keeping Track of Your Writing Success

hope_000.gifTime Management Mastery for Writers
By C. Hope Clark

Don’t scoff. While you might not have hundreds or even dozens of bylines, one day you will. How do you intend to keep track of those publishing credits and recall them for interested parties? Right now you can remember your writing successes, maybe count them on two hands. But downstream, you will be published online, in print and maybe even in book form. That’s why you need a series of bios––each fitting a specific need.

The E-mail Bio – Some call it a signature block, but this little jewel is worth a mint. It needs to clearly state who you are and what you’re known for. Make sure a Web site address is included. Make it too long, and you give the impression of a novice or someone reaching to look impressive. Keep it simple––no more than four to five lines. But remember that many people read it, and it gets forwarded to the world––even in the jokes you send your sister.

The Short Bio – This bite-size resume fits in a query letter and consists of a simple paragraph. Include your Web site, your best credits and awards, and the information that’s most relevant to your career. It may start out as a three- or four-sentence paragraph and grow to a bit more, but keep this baby updated. It’ll come in handy when you’re interviewed, attend an online chat or submit a query to a magazine editor. Create several if you write in different genres or arenas. Have one about your parenting writing, your fiction, your poetry or your business articles. An editor only wants information about what pertains to her, so having a few of these is a bright idea. Also, your biggest publishing credits will change as time goes on, and you want to present your best side. Keep your short bios current; you will use them often.

The Resume – This one-page document tells a prospective reviewer, editor or employer your employment history, publishing credits, education, awards and references. It can be included in a press release package for a reviewer, an application for employment or in a packaged pitch to speak. Keep it updated with your brightest work accomplishments.

The Whole Ball of Wax – The difference between this history bio? and the three above is that this one maintains just about everything you’ve ever done. Mine is online, and I’ve had editors peruse it without my asking. It’s ever ready and constantly maintained. When I have a new credit, I pop it in there so I don’t forget. I will delete old, freebie pieces, especially those on Web sites that no longer exist, as my paid pieces increase, but this bio covers me head to toe, educating anyone interested. I earned a $750 gig once by an editor Googling my name and reading this resume. It must include your mailing address, e-mail address and phone number.

The Database – If you wish to know everything you’ve ever published, keep a simple chronological database or spreadsheet. A database will allow you to recall sorted information in case you wanted all business articles or pet articles or all paid articles in magazines.

A writing career grows faster than you think. While you may sometimes feel rejections are beating you down and acceptances are few and far between, the credits eventually accumulate if you stick with the business. Plan now for when you have too many bylines to count. Nice thought, eh?

C. Hope Clark is founder and editor of, annually recognized by Writer’s Digest in its poll of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers. She delivers four newsletters each week to thousands with her specialty being grants and income opportunities for writers of all sizes. She’s published over 200 articles on paper and online. Her magazine credits include Writer’s Digest, The Writer Magazine, ByLine Magazine, NextStep Teen, College Bound Teen, Landscape Management Magazine, TURF Magazine, and American Careers Magazine. Hope is a motivational soul known as “Freelance Hope” in many circles. Those reluctant to promote their writing cherish her trade paperback The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success. Find more hope for your writing career at &


1 Response to “Keeping Track of Your Writing Success”

  1. 1 John Matthew July 17, 2007 at 4:09 am


    That’s exactly what I am going to do. I didn’t realize the importance of having a CV until recently. Thanks for the tips, they are valuable.

    if you have time, drop in at my blog: where I have linked to this article.



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