Friday, August 26, 2005

Instant Rejection

These are the very few things that make me stop reading:

1. The query isn't from the author. That includes query writing services, cover letters from your assistant, free-lance editor, etc. You have to write and send your own query letter.


2. Misused words. I don't mean typos. Mistakes happen. I mean misused: allay for ally; accept for except; cash for cache; bate/bait (as in baited breath, something that always makes me laugh); flout/flaunt; past/passed; reign/rein; sight/site/cite; slough/slew.


3. "fiction novel" used to describe a novel. I don't mean women's fiction novel, or science fiction novel, only "fiction novel." All novels are fiction.


4. The query is sent as an attachment. I don't open those.


5. The query letter includes a diatribe about the quality of books published today. I've reached the tipping point on tolerance for this after five years and it's now on the list of reasons I will stop reading your query and say no.

6. The novel isn't finished. Finishing a novel is just the first part of writing it. After you finish, you edit. Then you let it sit for a while. Then you edit again. If you think you're going to be done soon when you've only written 85% of the book, you're wrong. And you're also getting a rejection. Query ONLY when you can send the fully finished and carefully edited novel as soon as I request it.

I can and do overlook typos, getting my name wrong, getting my company's name wrong, leaving out your name and contact info. I don't much like that, and it raises the bar on whether I'm going to ask for more pages, but it does not make me stop reading.

12 comments:

Superfast said...

Now where's the "Instant acceptance" post?

Janet Reid said...

Instant acceptance: JD Salinger's memoir; Thomas Pynchon's memoir; and, inside scoop on the headline "Pope Elopes."

Wes said...

Pope elopes, that's funny. Made me giggle.

thalia_leigh said...

Alexander Pope eloped?

Who knew?

MitMoi said...

"pope-elopes" an endangered species of antelopes?

Mulled Vine said...

Having a wonder around your sight and like what I sea. :)

Makes me wish I had a novel that was more than 50000 words to offer you, not just a mere 35000.

Bookfool said...

I can see you'd reject Mulled Vine's manuscript, anyway, because he or she is having a "wonder" rather than a "wander".

"Pope elopes." Snicker.

Bookfool said...

I can see you'd reject Mulled Vine's manuscript, anyway, because he or she is having a "wonder" rather than a "wander".

"Pope elopes." Snicker.

Linda Rader said...

Common sense but good to know.

Chutzpah said...

Thank you. I wish all of you agents had blogs.

Vintage Wine said...

Bookfool, put that editor's hat back on quickly: Mulled Vine with a big grin that began with his/her amusingly written name, not only deliberately slipped with 'wonder' but also with 'see'. Creative non-writing.

thalia_leigh, loved your take on Alexander P!

Happy New Year to all

Don White said...

That was very well done, as in written well and not twenty-five minutes too long in the oven. I enjoy humor. Sadly, too few of us delve into humor. I will be sending you a few pages and a synopsis of a new novel shortly.
Kindest regards,
Don White, the writer and not the entertainer.