Ah, the CSI ballistics team is out in full force tonight examining the various ways you've managed to shoot yourself in the foot when querying me:
1. Include a table of contents for a novel
rather than say the actual first page (or 3-5 pages as I've repeatedly begged you for on every single place I post my submission assistance plan). The TOC for a novel is as useless as an agent without a telephone. What were you thinking?
2. Tell me that your book was nominated for an award
when "nominated" means you filled out a form and sent in a copy of your book.
This is ludicrous, particularly when I looked up the book and it was published by iUniverse. (you're not published by iUniverse; you're printed. Yes, there's a difference and I know what it is.)
3. Tell me that your book is like a particular well known author "only better."
You can't tell me this and have me take you seriously. Don't praise your own work in a query letter. I know you think it's the cat's pjs; every author thinks their own work is too. Ego is a requirement for an author but the really smart ones know how to SHOW rather than TELL how lovely those pjs are.
4. Send your query letter, or anything else as an attachment.
I used to reply saying "no attachments." Now I just say no. I can live with the chance I'll miss something fabulous. Chances are though, you will miss connecting with any agent cause most of us do not take unsolicited attachments.
5. Describe your (female) protagonist as "menopausal."
This word is never used as an accolade. It's certainly not the ONLY word one would expect for a protagonist. And, it grosses me out.
6. The old standby "fiction novel."
This is INSTANT rejection and I don't care what else is on the page. If you don't know why this is just wrong (ie not a mistake, not a typo) you need to quit querying and enroll in Grammar 101.
7. Fail to tell me what the book is about,
and then compound the problem by not pasting even a single page of the manuscript in the email. Once I might have replied saying "hey, send a page so I know what the thing is about." Now I won't.
8. Describe what people look like in the query letter. Description is not plot. Blonde hair does not indicate anything about character. Neither does green. I've been both and I'm still the same person I am today with my rainbow colored mohawk, as is my Herpet American assistant. See below: