Monday, December 07, 2009

"You did EVERYTHING wrong" what

I was working my way through the incoming email queries this morning and found one that was sent by someone who clearly had NO idea how queries worked. Every single thing, other than Dear Ms. Reid and his name (at least I assume he spelled it correctly), was wrong .

Rather than send a form rejection, I replied thus:

Dear Mr. (Name),

I keep a blog that gives out what I hope is helpful information about how to query.
Here's a post link to How To Send a Query
There are many other posts on the subject of query letters as well.

What you sent to me today can't be evaluated but rather than a form rejection,
I'm emailing you to say take a mulligan; do it over.

Very best wishes,

Only after I hit send (and drank another shot of coffee to clear my brain!) did I realize what I'd opened myself up to. I've sent these kind of emails previously, and lived to regret it.

So, this evening, I was nicely surprised, and very heartened to receive this:

I'm a terrible golfer, so I'm quite familiar with the mulligan concept. I have several per nine holes.

Thank you for the guidance. I'm as blind to the process as one could get, so it is much appreciated.


So, when you get an email that says "not that, but this" you now have a template for what to say in return.

Even if your name isn't Fore.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Query Status update

I've replied to all the queries I've received by email and by post.

If you queried me you have gotten either:
1. the dreaded form rejection (sorry, I'm clearly out of my mind)

1.5 the not-quite-so-dreaded, but still clearly wrong, personalized "not for me"

2. the less-dreaded "I need more time" email

3. the even less dreaded, but more terrifying, request for a full

If you did NOT get any of those, go here to
Query Letter Diagnostics.

Resend if you get all the way to #10 and don't see what went wrong.

Yea, what Kristin said

As usual, she's smart and succinct.
Here's the latest on the Harlequin Filthy Lucre Love Fest.

Have I mentioned how much I love The Rejectionist lately?

Well, here's another example of why I do:

As an assistant to a literary agent, my job is to act as a human spam filter, picking out the rare promising tidbit to pass on to my boss and deflecting the rest with a polite but firm form rejection.

(full article here)

Another entry on "instant rejection"

There are now six ways to be instantly rejected.

The new, sixth, one is this:

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.

10 Things Crime Writers Can Learn From Paris Hilton

That's the title to a blog post by author Brad Parks, and it's both serious (sort of) and hilarious.

Here's part of what he says:

She has even been, yes, a bestselling author. Her 2004 memoir “Confessions of an Heiress” debuted at No. 7 on the New York Times Bestseller List. And I suspect there are more than a few of us reading (and writing) this blog who would gladly trade their knucklebones for that.

So what can we learn from Paris Hilton? As Dave White would say, “Prepare for awesomeness.” Because I have done rigorous research – and I think we can all agree that ten minutes reading the free pages of her memoir posted on Google Books qualifies as “rigorous” – and come up with…


My reason for writing this is not just to link to the post or introduce you to the blog and suggest you subscribe although both are good things to do.

My reason is this: I'd never heard of Brad Parks before 10:30am today and now I both know who he is, and have bought his book. If you're a writer, you ll want to pay attention to how that happened because you really want total strangers to find you, think you're a good writer, and buy your book.

Here's how it worked:

First, he is pals with at least one of the writers who is a regular contributor to the blog Do Some Damage.
Second, Brad Parks bribed enticed finagled arranged to do a guest blog post about the same time his book is due to be published.

But I'd never heard of the blog, and I didn't read it regularly. The crucial middleman here is
Step three: Sophie Littlefield.

I do know Sophie, but more importantly I follow her on Twitter. This morning, as I drank coffee and checked twitter to see what fresh conspiracies were being hatched by the fabulosity of clients, I saw this tweet:
swlittlefield: "Oh, that Brad Parks is so funny - had no idea he was so tight with Paris"

And I clicked on the link.

Sophie may know Brad, or she may know Dave White. Knowing Sophie as I do, she probably knows both and they think she's the cat's pjs just like I do. Sophie is one of those people that can make things happen for people. How do you know who those people are? You don't. You just meet as many people as you can and hope that one of them is a Sophie Littlefield.

But to return to the clickage trail: I clicked on the link and I read the post. And I thought Brad Parks IS funny. But I also think he makes a good point.
So I clicked the link to see about his book.
And it had some good reviews.
So I bought it.

And then I bought another book so I could get free shipping (a book I saw mentioned on Erin McKean's blog A Dress A Day)

Book promotion isn't just guest blogging, or getting good reviews, or making friends with other authors. It's all of those things coming together. Doing just one wouldn't have gotten my one-click purchase. Brad Parks had to do ALL of them, and even then had to be one degree of separation from me, via Sophie Littlefield.

This is why you go to conferences, why you tweet, why you blog.
This is why you do it twenty minutes a day, every day.
There is no direct correlation between how much you do and how successful you'll be. There's a huge dollop of serendipity at work here.

But it worked today for Brad Parks. And it can work for you.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Dan Krokos for the discerning ear!

Dan Krokos' short story The Easy Way Out is up on Lit103-- the radio show hosted by Alan Vogel.

Click the download button to hear it now.