Sunday, October 07, 2007

Top 8 Things telling me I don't have to take your query seriously

1. Start your query letter with a description of what the cover will look like.

2.Put (c) year on the title page. Even better is (c) five years ago.

3. Put "do not duplicate under penalty of criminal prosecution" on the title page

4. Tell me your book is a cross between The Electric Church and Sex and the City.

5. Tell me you've queried 10 other agents; include some of their "favorable comments"

6. Tell me your novel is being seriously considered by two major New York publishing companies (and fail to include any further information)

7. Tell me you are famous author's relative (12/9/07 update--that book just sold to the new Borders-only imprint, so clearly, opinions vary!)

8. Tell me you've wanted to be a writer your whole life but you've just now retired and have time.


If you do not understand any of these 8 points, ask in the comment section and I'll yammer on at LENGTH on the topic.

12 comments:

DeadlyAccurate said...

4. Tell me your book is a cross between The Electric Church and Sex and the City.

"After Carrie offs a System Pig, the head of the System gives her a choice: Assassinate the founder of the Electric Church or never discover which skanky ho Mr. Big has run off with. Of course, the job would be a lot easier if Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha weren't also hunting her down for stealing their prize Manolo Blahnik collection. Hey, gorgeous shoes don't come cheap."

Sean Ferrell said...

My next book is a cross between Lost Dog and Electric Church. I just can't decide whether to call it Lost Church, or Electric Dog.

Sean Ferrell's agent said...

Your next book is a cross between NUMB and NUTS: The Story of Southwest Airlines.

We're calling it NumbNuts and packaging it with boots, a belt and a utility knife.

Mags said...

Dear Ms. Reid:

I have a completed 90,000 word crime fiction manuscript I would like to submit to you for your consideration.

You will love it. My mother says it's the best book she's ever read.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Sincerely,

Mags

Maya Reynolds said...

Dear Ms. Reid:

I am seeking representation for my 230,000-word memoir.

Like Sidney Poitier, I've overcome poverty; like James Frey, I've overcome bad publicity; and like Alan Greenspan, I've overcome modesty. Fans of these memoirs will find my oeuvre fascinating.

iUniverse and PublishAmerica both advise that my manuscript is too large for their presses. However, I am determined to be true to my artistic vision and not cut one word.

I KNOW you will appreciate what I'm trying to accomplish.

Please contact soonest.

McKoala said...

Dear Mrs Read

As a descendant of Billy Shakespeare (as he's known in the family), I've always known it was my destiny to be a writer but it's only now I'm retired that I have the time.

My wife, Maureen, says that my 250,000-word first novel (c 1989) is the best she has ever read. She says it's like a cross between The Electric Church and Sex and the City and she doesn't know how I know about such things. Well, like I said, it's in my blood!

I enclose cover art showing my heros, Donkey and Goat, in their space ship. As you can see, the sky in this world is purple and the sun is black, although that didn't show up too well in Photo Shop. The power of world building is in the detail as I'm sure you know, and, trust me, it matters that Goat is wearing a colander on his head, but you won't know why until the very last page!

I have already submitted my novel to ten other agents and have received some very pleasing reactions: 'utterly unbelievable' and 'insanely unbelievable' being just two of them. Sadly, two agents have passed on to a higher plane since receiving my submission, but perhaps Donkey and Goat could visit them in one of my sequels (this is the first of a series of 21). At the moment my novel is being seriously considered by two major New York publishing companies, one of which is the renowned Publish America!

I am sure that you are as professional as I am and so I don't need to remind you not to duplicate my manuscript, under penalty of criminal prosecution.

I'm sure we're going to be such great friends!

love

N. T. Job

Scott said...

Dear Mr. Agent Reed:

I have just completed my epic science fiction-urban fantasy-horror-cozy mystery epic novel. The manuscript is two inches thick!

You asked for a sample of my writing. The first word is "elephant". The last word is "end". (Any more than that will give away the whole plot).

If you don't recognize the unique qualities in my manuscript, can you recommend an agent who will?

Scott

DeadlyAccurate said...

All of these wonderful query letters are making one major mistake: it's fiction novel.

Fiction novel.


If you don't let her know it's fiction, how is she supposed to know?

Chumplet said...

I'm having disturbing flashbacks right now.

I think I mentioned in my first query letter that my mom... no, it was my dad -- loved my book. Why, oh why did the agent not jump at the chance to 'publish' it?

Lynn Price said...

Ah, Janet, you've been reading my mail again.

Madge Sinclair said...

Dear Janet Reid, or Dear Agent for short,

After firing my last agent, Barbara Bauer, I've decided to query you. I hope your fees aren't too hefty like Miss Bauer, PhD's.

I just now finished my 200,000 word novel that's a little bit of Science Fiction, a little bit of Romance, a little bit of Mystery (the bloody kind) and just a small twist of non-fiction to flavor it just right. The novel is called 1001 things to do with Nitwits' heads. I was inspired to write this future mult-million copy seller when Miss Snark set her hair on fire.

So please charge me no more than 1000 dollars or else I'll set my hair on fire. Thank you.

Sincerely Yours,

Madge Sinclair
A sassy, gassy, hip, old Broad from Kansas City cuts loose on the internet.

Lily said...

If you're reading this, I've finally followed in the footsteps of my secret father, John Kennedy Toole, and killed myself. My mother, in our family tradition, has mailed you the manuscript and sealed the envelope with her tears. Undoubtedly she included these poign.. poin.. touching words because I left them for her on top of my tinfoil hat collection where she'd be sure to find them. In fact, if the woman has a shred of decency, she's sitting in front of you at this moment and giving you the hairy eyeball.

You don't even need to read the manuscript, actually. To save you the trouble, before I died, I contacted Miss Cleo and she predicted instant success provided I made the sacrifice of giving her my credit card and pin numbers, as well as notice as to when I'd be assc...ascse...moving up into the great beyond.

Hugs!