Submitting to a Publisher: The Writer's CV

You will often be asked to submit a Writer’s CV as part of an application for an award, workshop or freelance job. A Writer’s CV details your most important writing and publishing achievements. It should clearly denote your literary successes, interests, passions and plans as well as your interests and plans for the future. Your CV should not list all of your achievements unless they are directly relevant to your writing.

It is essential that your Writer’s CV is clear and easy to understand. Therefore, it is best to break up the CV into clear sections, without going overboard with the design. Keep the layout simple and logical, with the most important information at the top.

A Writer’s CV should include:

  • Contact details: List your up-to-date contact details at the top of the document (name, address, telephone number and email address). Is your email address professional? It may seem like a hassle to change it now but it will be worth the effort. Also include your blog or website address if it is relevant to your writing.

  • Your Agent’s details: If you have an agent, include their name and the agency they work for.  

  • A writing bio: Provide a short (150-200 words) biography. Why do you write and what is your focus? What are you currently working on and what are your future plans?

  • Publications: Include the details of anything you’ve had published - articles, stories, poems, flash fiction and where they’ve been published. Also include details of any blogs or reviews you’ve done.

  • Awards and achievements: List any competitions you’ve won or writing residencies, festivals and writing events that you’ve been invited to or participated in.

  • Education and work experience: Include any information on relevant education e.g a degree in English, Journalism, Creative Writing. If you are applying to teach writing classes or evening classes it may be appropriate to include other qualifications such as a Teaching or Community Education qualifications. Remember also to include any workshops you may have attended e.g Scottish Book Trust's Radio Lab or Presentation Skills workshop. If you are a member of any professional societies, include this information too.

  • Reviews or testimonials: If you’ve had any great testimonials on work you’ve written or workshops you’ve run then you should include them in this section. If you’ve worked with a more experienced writer – such as through a mentoring scheme or while on a university course – you might want to ask them to write a short endorsement of your work. Quotes from established names help your work to stand out from the crowd.

Remember to carefully tailor your CV to the opportunity you are applying for. For example, if you’re applying to run a writer’s workshop, highlight any relevant experience you have in this area, such as regular group work or tutoring experience. Don’t forget to proofread too!