I am a new writer (in the sense that I am now working on my first serious attempt at a novel) and am currently a member of the U.S. Air Force. I have an AA in Chinese, but I am planning on getting a bachelor's before my enlistment is up. I would like to start trying to get published around that time as well. So this is my question. As an unpublished author, how important are credentials in trying to get your first work published? I will have (presumably) a BA in English or writing or some other area, but no real writing experience (that can be cited as credentials). Aside from a degree, I have military experience as well as a good general knowledge of Chinese language and culture, both of which are major factors in the book I am currently working on. How do these things factor in being taken seriously? Are credentials a major consideration for publishers/agents? All this is, of course, presuming that the work in question is well-written and otherwise likely to be published.